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Michigan man pleads guilty to criminal sexual conduct charges

A 20-year-old Michigan man has pleaded guilty to third degree felony criminal sexual conduct after he allegedly drove to Rosemount and had sex with an underage girl he met online this past summer. 

Zachary Gene Johnson was sentenced to 180 days in jail for the crime. He has been credited with 118 served. After the completion of his time served, Johnson will be required to register as predatory offender.

According to a complaint filed  in the Dakota County Attorney's Office, Johnson and the girl, then 14, met online in February 2012. They had been communicating by text message and social media ever since. Johnson came to Minnesota with friends Aug. 16 to meet the girl.

Johnson told police he knew the girl was 14 when he met her and that she had recently turned 15.

According to the complaint, Johnson had "sexual contact" with the girl on three occasions, including one in which they had intercourse at a home in Rosemount.

Rosemount Police officer Beth Richtsmeier said the mother of the victim contacted police after she found explicit texts on her daughter's phone. Police were able to catch Johnson while he was still in Minnesota by following him on social media.

Richtsmeier said the Rosemount Police Department takes social media crime seriously.

Richtsmeier said teens are vulnerable to such crimes because they tend to have false sense of security about the internet. Many crimes go unreported because the teens don't want to get in trouble.

Richtsmeier encouraged parents to talk about internet safety with their children. 

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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