Flood Warning expires at 9:30 AM on 4/24, issued at 9:30 AM Brunswick, GA | Jekyll Island, GA | Saint Simons Island, GA | Sea Island, GA

Not guilty verdict in case of police officer accused of sexual assault

Roderick Johnson served as a police officer for 20 years.  The jury found him not guilty of sexual assault in 2012 yesterday.   09-25-13
Roderick Johnson served as a police officer for 20 years. The jury found him not guilty of sexual assault in 2012 yesterday.
Set Text Size SmallSet Text Size MediumSet Text Size LargeSet Text Size X-Large
Updated: 9/26/2013 8:10 am
ORLANDO, Fla. -- A jury delivered a not guilty verdict in the sexual assault case of a former Orlando police officer late Wednesday afternoon.

Roderick Johnson, who served 20 years as an Orlando officer, was accused of demanding sex from a woman during an arrest in October 2012.

Johnson got a pat on the back from his attorney as he wept inside an Orange County courtroom.
On Wednesday jurors heard Johnson's recorded statement to police the night the woman said he assaulted her.

Johnson said repeatedly that he did not assault the woman, and did not have sex with her.

He also changed parts of his story during the interview, and prosecutors said that's critical.

Orlando sex crimes Detective Rick Salcedo took the stand late Wednesday morning.

Salcedo, a 20-year veteran of the Orlando Police Department, interviewed Johnson the night of the alleged assault.

"He was wearing police uniform, has OPD badge, gun, Taser, Mace," said Salcedo in court.

In the recording, Johnson insists to Salcedo that it never happened.

"Alright, so no sex whatsoever?" Salcedo said in the interview.

"No sex whatsoever," Johnson replied.

The accuser claims Johnson arrested her, then stopped at an empty OPD substation on the way to jail and demanded sex. She said she feared what would happen if she said no.

In his interview Johnson at first denied taking the woman there.

"Never," Johnson said.

"She was able to describe that entire office," said Salcedo.

But later in the 29-minute interview, Johnson changed his story and conceded he did bring the woman into the substation, but only so she could use the bathroom.

"I did not have sex with her," said Johnson.

"Can you, can you figure out any reason why this young lady would make allegations?" Salcedo asked Johnson in the interview.

"Absolutely not," Johnson replied.

In closing arguments, the defense said the victim's story couldn't be trusted, but the state argued there was no doubt at all.

"He didn't just have sex with her, he sexually battered her. How do we know? Because every piece of evidence supports that he battered her," said the prosecutor.

Jurors left the courtroom to begin deliberating the case around 5:30 p.m. they returned the verdict shortly after 6:30 p.m.

"We the jury find the defendant not guilty. So say we all," read the clerk.

Defense attorney Robert Nesmith said it was a shame Johnson now has a tarnished reputation and no job.

"He put his life on the line for the citizens of Orlando, Fla. And when the allegations came out, they dropped him like a hot potato," Nesmith said.

Nesmith said the city owes Johnson an "abundant apology for what they did."

Video: WFTV Orlando
Inergize Digital This site is hosted and managed by Inergize Digital.