Milwaukee school leader faces 14 child sex assault charges
Steve Chamraz, Jaclyn Brandt, and James Kust
Steve Chamraz reports.Photo: Video by tmj4.com
MILWAUKEE - Respected educator and community leader Ronnie Johnson was charged Tuesday with 14 counts relating to improper sexual contact with minors, court documents show.
Charges include four counts of sexual assault of a child under 13, four counts of exposing genitals, and two counts of second-degree sexual assault.
Prosecutors allege Johnson found three victims while principal of Milwaukee's Young Leaders Academy, a charter school operated out of the North Avenue YMCA.
The YMCA responded to questions Tuesday night with a statement:
"The safety and security of children in our care always has been and always will be our first concern. We are shocked and appalled to learn of the serious allegations," the statement read. "We understand that formal charges have been filed against this individual by the authorities and intend to cooperate fully with the police investigation."
Brown Deer Police would not speak on camera, but indicated the department's investigation was only beginning. It could stretch back more than a decade and involve at least 30 potential victims.
Court records show investigators recovered a mountain of potential evidence from Johnson's home, including sex toys, pornography and correspondence with former students.
One letter dated August, 2010 read, in part:
"You molested me, Ronn. It may not have been in a violent way, but you did."
Johnson managed a number of charter schools, but was fired Monday after his arrest on Friday.
The 46-year-old was the Midwest vice president for a charter school company, expanding into the Milwaukee area next month. Universal Companies released a statement Monday.
"After learning of these most serious allegations and the recent arrest of Mr. Johnson late Friday night, we at Universal Companies and the Universal Academy for the College Bound in the city of Milwaukee are extremely disheartened," Rahim Islam, the president and CEO of the company, said.
Johnson remains in jail on bond.