Wyoming man pleads guilty to sexually assaulting 2 Michigan teens 10 years ago

A Wyoming man pleaded guilty recently to sexually assaulting two victims a decade ago in Michigan.

Michael Vincenzo Johnson, 30, is accused of raping an 18-year-old Western Michigan University freshman in a dorm in January 2013 while she "was physically helpless and in a state of extreme intoxication." He was 20 at the time and an upperclassman at the school.

Authorities say he forced himself on a 16-year-old high school girl at a home in Augusta, Mich. the following month.

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In 2017, the WMU Police Department referred the case to the Kalamazoo Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) project, which re-opened the first case in June 2020. 

Kalamazoo SAKI discovered the second victim, who had reported her sexual assault to the Augusta Police Department in 2013. Both the victim and Johnson were interviewed by police. The victim’s sexual assault kit was tested in 2013 and the victim underwent a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) exam. However, no police report was generated. 

While investigating, it was learned that Johnson had moved to Wyoming in 2016 to be a newspaper sportswriter. According to authorities, he began pursuing sexual relationships with female high school students and athletes almost immediately. 

Johnson was arrested for accosting minors for immoral purposes, manufacturing child pornography, and providing marijuana to minors. He took a plea deal and served time in prison. Once paroled, Johnson was arrested on the SAKI charges and extradited to Kalamazoo in May 2022.

He will be sentenced March 20.

According to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's Office, both victims watched Johnson plead guilty via Zoom, and voiced their gratitude for the opportunity to work with the SAKI team and have their cases re-investigated and prosecuted. They are happy to have justice and say they finally feel believed. 

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"You helped me in the process of re-opening a wound and allowing it to heal the right way," one of the victims told investigators. The other victim called the guilty plea "validation and justice." She added, "I gave up completely on anything being done. I truly appreciate the work and effort you all have put in for me."  

Nessel applauded the victims' courage.

"It took a lot of courage for the survivors of these assaults to come forward and help the Kalamazoo SAKI team identify this offender," Nessel said. "He had already moved to another state to continue his pattern of assaulting young women and girls. I’m grateful for the hard work of the Kalamazoo SAKI investigators and participating law enforcement agencies in Michigan and Wyoming for their help in taking a sexual predator off the streets."