Contact: Charity R. Clark, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171
Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced that Cory Johnson, 34, of South Burlington, Vermont, was arraigned earlier this week on one count of Aggravated Sexual Assault. The charges brought against Mr. Johnson are the result of multiple criminal investigations conducted by the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (VT-ICAC), including personnel from the Attorney General’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations, and the University of Vermont Police Services.
This matter stems from an undercover operation within the online Kik social networking platform where Mr. Johnson was identified by law enforcement to be operating within a chat-group associated with child sexual exploitation, which led to the issuance of data, residential, and device search warrants. Based upon this initial investigation, Mr. Johnson was first prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont for possession of child pornography recovered from his devices.
Pursuant to protocols, and based upon subsequent analysis, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children alerted local investigators that one of the videos recovered had GPS data that returned to South Burlington, Vermont. After receiving this information, local investigators determined that the video constituted evidence of an alleged sexual assault upon a child alleged to have been committed by Mr. Johnson.
Mr. Johnson pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on August 24, 2020, in the Vermont Superior Court, Chittenden Criminal Division. The Court, Judge A. Gregory Rainville presiding, ordered conditions of release which include restrictions on his access to minors and the internet. Because Mr. Johnson is currently in federal custody, the Attorney General’s Office has reserved the right to make an application for either bail or a hold without bail order should Mr. Johnson’s custody status change.
VT-ICAC investigates cases of child sexual exploitation occurring over the internet, including the production and online sharing of child sexual abuse materials. VT-ICAC also provides forensic examination services, technical assistance, law enforcement training, and public education and outreach. The Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Vermont State Police, and other federal, state, county, and municipal law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies are affiliated with VT-ICAC.
The Attorney General emphasizes that individuals charged with a crime are legally presumed innocent until their guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.