Man had sexual contact with teen, police say

GLOVERSVILLE – A 61-year-old summer-league softball coach will be sentenced to six years of supervised probation after having sexual contact with a 15-year-old former player, authorities said.

John P. Johnson, of 18 James St., turned himself in to police Friday. Johnson then pleaded guilty in Johnstown before Fulton County Court Judge Richard Giardino, who was acting as Gloversville City Court judge, to endangering the welfare of a child and sexual misconduct, both misdemeanors.

Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira said under a plea agreement, Johnson will receive the maximum sentence of six years of supervised probation. He will receive an order of protection to stay away from the victim and will be required to register as a sex offender, she said. The plea waives his right to appeal.

“This is in the best interest of justice and serves the victim best,” Sira told Giardino in court.

Giardino told Johnson in the event Johnson’s child plans to attend an event the victim also may attend, Johnson will not be allowed to be at the event.

Johnson’s attorney, Leila Reynolds, declined to comment on behalf of her client after the court proceeding this morning.

He is scheduled to be sentenced in City Court on July 17 at 9 a.m.

Police said Johnson was arrested on charges stemming from an incident that took place Oct. 3 when Gloversville High School officials and coaches said Johnson picked up an underage girl and took her to his residence.

Police said Johnson refused to answer the door when officers arrived. Later in the night, police said, the teen was seen exiting the back door of Johnson’s residence.

The girl was located by officers and turned over to her parents, police said.

Police said Johnson engaged in a sexual relationship with the girl, beginning when she was 15 and he was 60.

Johnson also provided her with alcohol from June through October, police said.

Capt. John Sira said the two became involved with each other through a summer softball league where Johnson was the coach of the girl’s team.

Sira said Johnson was not affiliated in an official capacity with the Gloversville school district and said the department is unaware of incidents involving other players.

He declined to specify whether the relationship was forced or consensual. However, Sira said, no child under the age of consent can legally provide consent.

“It really doesn’t matter,” Sira said. “Based on the age of the victim, it makes no difference between it being forced because there is no means of consent. No consent means no consent. Whether it is forced or the second party is willing, it is very cut and dry.”

Giardino took the case Friday because no other City Court judge was available after City Court Judge Traci DiMezza recused herself from the matter because of a conflict of interest.

Johnson previously was involved in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit over the death of Darryl Thompson at the Tryon Detention Facility when Johnson was employed as an aide there.

Thompson, 15, died the morning of Nov. 18, 2006, after being restrained by Tryon youth division aides Johnson and Robert Murphy. Johnson was terminated in April 2011 because he was out of work for more than a year because of personal injury and illness.

No one was charged in the boy’s death. However, Thompson’s mother accepted $3.5 million from the state to resolve her federal lawsuit in 2011.

Levi Pascher can be reached by email at