Crime

Richard Johnson, ex-Highlands Ranch teacher and coach: Thirty child sex assault counts

Sad to say, shocking child-sex assault allegations against teachers or coaches aren't as rare as we'd like.

The latest arrestee to fit both of these descriptions is Richard Johnson, who faces charges that raise eyebrows thanks to sheer volume. The now ex-teacher is looking at thirty of them.

According to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Johnson, known to former colleagues as Rick, is a former eighth grade teacher at Rocky Heights Middle School, as well as a onetime basketball coach at Rock Canyon High School; both facilities are in Highlands Ranch. Here's a look at Johnson with the RCHS team.

Johnson's employment by the Douglas County School District ended in March of this year for what the district describes as personal reasons unrelated to the investigation. Nonetheless, an inquiry into potentially criminal behavior got underway in June.

After months of investigation, detectives filed a case with the 18th Judicial District DA's office suggesting thirty charges against Johnson, including multiple counts of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, sexual exploitation of a child and enticement of a child.

At this point, the DCSO references only one victim -- a former student. But reps stress that the investigation is continuing. As such, no additional details are being released right now.

In the meantime, administrators at Rock Canyon High School shared what happened to parents in the following release:
Student safety is our highest priority at Douglas County School District. We take the allegations made against former teacher and coach Rick Johnson extremely seriously and are cooperating fully with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

Mr. Johnson separated from the Douglas County School District last spring for personal reasons unrelated to these allegations.

While the facts of this case are not yet available and we are unable to discuss personnel issues -- I want to assure our students, parents and community that we are committed to doing everything possible to safeguard our students.

If anyone has information about the case, including students or staff, we encourage them to contact law enforcement.

Johnson turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday and is currently free on a $50,000 bond. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to phone Detective Dea Aragon at 303-814-7131.

Look below to see Johnson's full-size, two-image mug shot, followed by a Fox31 report.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Rhonda Eisenberg, Greeley teacher, busted after student allegedly fathered her child."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts