A prominent divorce attorney based in Springfield is facing sex charges related to the alleged sexual assault of one of his clients.
|Lynn and Darryl Johnson
Darryl Brent Johnson, 51, who operates the law firm Johnson and Johnson with his wife, Lynn, was charged with deviate sexual assault last week in Greene County.
According to the probable cause statement, the client, H.M.L., told investigators that when she met with Johnson at his office on April 15, 2010, Johnson asked if he could touch her breast. She says she said "no" and as she was turning a doorknob to leave the office, Johnson allegedly put his hand down her blouse and groped her.
The woman also alleges that on August 24, 2010, she and Johnson attended a deposition with attorney Shannon Grisham and that during the deposition Johnson slipped her a bright green note with M.I.L.F written on it. That acronym is widely know as Mother I'd Like To F**k. H.M.L says Johnson quickly took the note back and they proceeded with the deposition.
After the deposition, Johnson and the woman went back to Johnson's office and were in the conference room reviewing paperwork when Johnson allegedly came up from behind her and pushed her with the front of his body into the table. When the woman pushed back Johnson gestured to his erect penis against her and said "look at what you've done."
The woman said she was shocked and as she attempted to leave Johnson opened the waistband of her slacks and put his hand in her underwear and touched her inappropriately, according to court records. She told authorities Johnson had been drinking and offered her a drink, which she refused, when the alleged incident in August of 2010 took place.
According to Springfield police spokesman Matt Brown the SPD received a call about the alleged incident on Sept. 21, 2010. Several meetings with the victim were set up and canceled, according to Brown and the case made its way to prosecutors in June of 2011.
On October 4, 2011, Greene County prosecutor Dan Patterson filed a motion asking that the Attorney General appoint special prosecutor in the case because of his professional relationship and friendship with Johnson. Assistant Missouri Attorney General Joe Schlotzhauer filed the charges in Greene County Associate circuit court on June 21st.
Patterson served with Johnson in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the Missouri National Guard, according to the Springfield News Leader. Johnson also contributed to Patterson’s campaign when he ran for prosecutor and hosted a meet-the-candidate event.
Court documents in the case were sealed at first because Johnson was unaware of the criminal investigation involving him. Yesterday, (06-26-12) the documents were unsealed by the court.
Johnson’s attorney, Stacie Bilyeu, says the alleged victim made allegations against her client after he informed her that her account was in jeopardy of being handed to a collection agency if it remained unpaid.
Several judges in Greene County have recused themselves from the case including Mark Fitzsimmons, Mark Powell, Jason Brown, and Mike Cordonnier. The attorney general will probably assign a special judge to handle the case, though that decision has not been made yet.