I checked the California registry, and it doesn't explain much of what he did, but nothing shows it involved a child. Apparently the country doesn't believe in redemption anymore. Which is very sad. Wait until you get thrown in jail or prison, and get treated in a similar fashion. Then just remember how you treated everyone else. What goes around, comes around. Remember that!
By Mark Hedlund
VACAVILLE - His rap sheet of sex crimes is terrifying to his new neighbors and he knows it. Joseph Johnson, Jr., says all he wants is to prove to Vacaville is that he's a changed man from his crimes of 30 years ago.
"I believe in leaving my past behind me, and I've done some bad things in my past," Johnson told News10 in an exclusive interview. "All I ask the people is to show me a little mercy, show me a little grace and just give me an opportunity to show myself, who I am."
Johnson, 61, spoke out one day after Vacaville police stunned the neighborhood on and around Chelan Drive, informing them of the man who moved in after his release from the state's Sexually Violent Predator Program. Officers passed out fliers at homes Wednesday, as allowed by law, to let people know Johnson is a sex offender convicted of multiple rapes and other felonies.
He served 17 years in prison, then another 10 years in state mental institutions before his release March 27. Based on doctor recommendations, the courts released him from the program. While his offenses were in the Bay Area, Johnson isn't on parole and chose to move in with his sister in Vacaville.
"I believe in God. That's what's been sustaining me all the time I've been locked up," he told News10. "The thing is, what do you do when no one's looking? I'm a man of integrity, my word is, it's who I am. So I give you my word you don't have anything to worry about."
This is the second time in five years Vacaville residents have reacted in fear and anger when a sexually violent predator was placed into a neighborhood. In May, 2004, Patrick Ghilotti moved in with his wife, despite city and law enforcement arguing in court he wasn't wanted.
In Johnson's case, state officials didn't even give local officials notification. Police only found out after he registered as a sex offender in the city, and they acknowledged he can legally live wherever he wants.
"I wouldn't want him next door, I'd move. I would move. They need to get him out of here," said Norma Mansfield after she drove by to see which house is now Johnson's home. Her reaction was typical for many in and around the neighborhood.
"I can understand that. All I ask them is to relax, don't get up in arms about it. Just give me a chance to show, to prove myself and as time goes on, you'll see that I'm a productive citizen and I'm gonna do what's right," said Johnson. "It's all about giving, it's not about taking. And I was in the mode of taking. I was a criminal at the time, and I was young."
He also claimed support from his family, some of whom he's just getting to know after 27 years in custody. Johnson said he has 10 grandchildren, boys and girls.
"I have granddaughters. They know about my situation but they see me as changed," he said.
"I'm just now meeting my uncle when he got released and stuff, so I really don't even know this man and I'm here taking up for him because I know he's a changed man," said Tiffannie Dimery, Johnson's 25-year-old niece. "I don't think nobody should feel scared or feel threatened something is going to happen."
"Yeah, people make mistakes but we have young children that live right next door and there's other kids in the area," said Robert Molina who lives next door. "We all have to live here. Let's just hope he follows though with what he needs to do."
Both Robert and Jimella Molina said they feel uneasy. Their son was so frightened Wednesday night he couldn't sleep in his own bed, they said. Hearing that Johnson is willing to speak out about his situation, Jimella Molina said, "It shows that he's trying to make amends, let people know that he's safe, that he's not gonna re-offend. But I'm still nervous."
"If anyone wants to come over to talk to me, I've open for it. I have no problems. I'm not going to allow anyone's anger to cause me to get angry because I don't feel that they have that much power over me. I'm beyond that now," said Johnson. He frequently referred to Biblical scriptures and his belief in God when explaining his transformation.
"I don't even have those desires, it's not even in me," he said when asked about the sex crimes. "When I look back at myself, who I was, I condemn that person. And I just ask the public to give me a chance, to see me for this change that's been upon me."