Man admits guilt as child molester

A former Augusta church choir director and teacher's aide admitted Wednesday what he has denied for years - that he is a child molester.

For taking responsibility for what he did, Superior Court Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet sentenced Carlton Johnson, 46, to eight years in prison followed by seven years on probation.

Mr. Johnson was back in court because the Georgia Court of Appeals reversed his conviction in January. The court ruled that Mr. Johnson was unfairly convicted in early 2003 because Judge Overstreet forced his defense attorney to try the case after the attorney told the judge he wasn't prepared.

Mr. Johnson's eight-year sentence was shorter than the 10-year prison term he received in January 2003 for child molestation. At that sentencing, Mr. Johnson said he believed he had been a help to the victim's family.

On Wednesday, he apologized to the victim and his parents.

In March 2002, Mr. Johnson was a choir director at Good Shepherd Baptist Church, which the 14-year-old victim attended with his family. After his sister complained to their parents that Mr. Johnson propositioned her, the boy told his parents that Mr. Johnson had committed a sex act on him.

In March 1994, Mr. Johnson was working as a teacher's aide when a parent told sheriff's investigators that Mr. Johnson had fondled a 6-year-old boy, according to reports in The Augusta Chronicle. Mr. Johnson was tried and acquitted of sexual battery in that case.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.