DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A Rockwood man who committed a crime that Justice William Anderson described as “horribly heinous” was sentenced Tuesday to 16 years in prison.
John “Cheeto” Johnson, 43, was sentenced to 22 years in Maine State Prison with all but 16 suspended by Anderson in Piscataquis County Superior Court. Johnson pleaded no contest on March 20, and was subsequently found guilty of gross sexual assault and aggravated assault against a 59-year-old victim.
The female victim was watching a Boston Bruins playoff hockey game in Greenville on the evening of April 25, 2012, when Johnson asked her for a ride home, according to court records.
When the two arrived at a garage where Johnson was staying in a trailer, he assaulted her. He grabbed her by the hair and throat and dragged her from the car, according to the victim. Johnson then punched her and tore off most of her clothes before she was able to escape.
The victim, who isn’t being identified by the Bangor Daily News, read a prepared statement in court.
“You caused a lot of trauma and anxiety in my life,” she said to Johnson.
The victim said she was trying to forgive Johnson, but that she would never forget what happened.
She described herself as a shy person, but felt she had to speak during the sentencing, the victim said.
“Sexual assaults and violence against women and children can no longer be hidden from the public,” she said. “I’m determined to warn others about you and your kind.”
As she was being pummeled by Johnson in the trailer that night, he said “I’ll bury you like the others” to her. She said she received a burst of adrenaline when she realized she may not see her children and grandchildren again.
“This little prick has no right to take my life,” the victim recalled thinking.
Johnson apologized to the victim, but said he had no recollection about what happened that night.
Justice Anderson said he didn’t believe him.
“I think it’s a convenient cop out [saying you don't remember what happened],” Anderson told Johnson. “I don’t see a lot of shame here [either].”
Anderson imposed the sentence recommended by Piscataquis County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy, who called Johnson a “dangerous man.”
“The safety of the community has to come first,” Almy said outside of court. “Hopefully we won’t have another victim of John Johnson.”
Johnson is also to have no contact with the victim, is not to return to the town of Greenville and must pay $844.43 in restitution — $444.43 to the victim’s compensation fund for the victim’s medical expenses and $400 to the victim for a pair of new glasses Johnson broke during the attack.
The victim said she hoped Johnson can be rehabilitated.
“Do some good for someone, including yourself,” she said. “The best thing you can do for me and yourself is spend your time wisely in prison.”
To reach a sexual assault advocate, call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Line at 800-871-7741, TTY 888-458-5599. This free and confidential 24-hour service is accessible from anywhere in Maine. Calls are automatically routed to the closest sexual violence service provider.