The child sex assault case against billionaire Curt Johnson is scheduled to begin Monday, but prosecutors are asking the judge for a delay.
In a motion filed April 16, the Racine County District Attorney's office stated it will ask Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz for a delay at 1:30 p.m. Monday because the therapist to whom they thought Johnson made his alleged confession may not be the person who heard the statement.
Jury selection is supposed to start at 8:30 a.m. Monday. Johnson faces one felony count of repeated sexual assault of a same child for allegedly touching and kissing a young girl inappropriately over a number of years. The victim reported that Johnson also asked her to have sex with him but she refused.
According to the motion, Dr. Douglas Withrow was believed to be a person to whom Johnson supposedly admitted to touching the girl when Johnson was visitng the Psychologoical Counseling Services in Arizona in February 2011. He is listed as the mandatory reporter in case documents, but at a hearing April 12 in Maricopa County Circuit Court, attorneys for the clinic stated Withrow was not the person and it would not be appropriate for him to travel to Wisconsin to testify.
The hearing was part of the standard procedure for bringing witnesses from another state to Wisconsin to participate in a trial.
In addition to denying that Withrow is the therapist to whom Johnson made his alleged confession, the clinic did not offer the name of the appropriate person and attorneys objected to releasing Johnson's record for confidentiality reasons.
More, the Maricopa County judge presiding over the hearing has ordered Johnson's records compiled to give to the court of an in camera review.
Assistant District Attorney Robert Repischak stated in his motion that through the in camera review he hopes to get details about who may have heard Johnson's statement and what that statement entails. Until a therapist is under subpeona and the records are in his possession, Repischak thinks a delay is appropriate.
The defense, of course, objects to the prosecution's motion. Attorneys Richard Hart and Mark Richards say in their motion that the DA's office had "ample time to identify witnesses and get their cooperation."
They also question why the state doesn't explain why the Arizona court hearing was scheduled at such a late date.
"The state's motion provides no compelling reason to adjourn the firm trial date that has been in place for months, and that Johnson has relied upon," the defense motion concludes.
Johnson was charged March 23, 2011 with . The state last month filed motions to add three felony counts of incest by a stepparent, but because prosecutors didn't file the amended charges by Jan. 23, Gasiorkiewicz ruled against the state.
The charges came after Johnson allegedly admitted to his therapist in Arizona that he inappropriately touched a young girl. That counselor reported the information to the Racine County Human Services who then contacted the Racine County Sheriff's office.
According to the criminal complaint, the girl told police Johnson touched her, kissed her and asked her to have sex with him numerous times over several years. Now a teenager, the girl said the abuse may have started when she was in sixth or seventh grade.
Johnson is one of the billionaire heirs to the SC Johnson fortune. He was head of Mount Pleasant-based Diversey, Inc. until February 2011 when he stepped down for personal reasons.