Timothy “T.J.” Johnson was not happy late last spring, after the mother of a 14-year-old Naperville girl inadvertently sent him a series of text messages intended for one of the girl’s friends.
The 35-year-old Johnson decided the girl needed “a taste of her own medicine,” according to Naperville police reports. And so he posted a lurid, phony advertisement on Craigslist along with the girl’s cellphone number, which resulted in her receiving more than a dozen messages from men seeking sexual favors.
Johnson pleaded guilty Wednesday in DuPage County Circuit Court in Wheaton to a misdemeanor charge of electronic harassment using an obscene message, stemming from the incident last June, court records indicated. Associate Judge Thomas A. Else accepted the plea and placed Johnson on a year of probation, with the caveat he have no further contact with the girl.
Police records showed Johnson listing home addresses in Schaumburg and Huntley. They also revealed Johnson is the son of a retired officer with the west suburban Northlake Police Department.
Naperville police began investigating Johnson on June 15, after being contacted by the girl’s mother. The woman and her two daughters live in the Buttonwood neighborhood in the central part of the city.
The woman, in a written statement, told police she had taken a photograph the morning of June 5 of the 14-year-old and her best friend, on their last day of school. The woman said she sent copies of the photo via text a short time later to her daughter and some of the girl’s friends, “along with some other messages, congratulating her on a good school year,” the statement read.
After her daughter failed to respond to the messages, “I looked at my phone, to see if the texts went through,” the woman said. The woman told police she thought one of the recipients was a friend of her daughter, but then learned the friend had changed his number without telling the girl.
Realizing she had sent the photo and messages to a stranger’s cell phone, the woman said she sent a follow-up text to that number, in which she apologized for her error, according to her statement.
Her daughter, too, tried to apologize that afternoon via text to the recipient of the wayward messages, the statement indicated. That person, a man, later “left a mean voicemail that really scared her, calling her names and swearing, and telling her to stop sending him texts of girls’ photos ...”
The man called several more times, prompting the woman to call her phone service provider and block his number.
Within two hours, the girl found her cellphone “flooded with text messages, some of which contained pornographic photographs,” the woman told police. The girl received 15 messages in all, most from men hoping to arrange sexual encounters with her, the woman said.
Police began contacting the men who had sent messages to the girl. They determined someone had posted the girl’s number in the “Chicago Casual Encounters” section of Craigslist, describing her as being a 19-year-old woman seeking sex.
The investigation eventually led to Johnson, who Oct. 23 placed a phone call to the police detective overseeing the case. Johnson began that conversation by telling the detective “he was not going to lie to me,” according to police records.
Johnson “related he did remember getting the phone calls on his phone,” records showed. He said he had “received numerous calls from little girls, (and) he wanted it to stop.”
The detective wrote that Johnson admitted composing and posting the bogus Craigslist ad “to give her a taste of her own medicine. (Johnson) related, in hindsight, he should not have done that to a 14-year-old girl.”
Johnson, at the time of his arrest, was on probation for misdemeanor possession of marijuana in Elmhurst, court records revealed. He also had been convicted in 1998 and 2009 of possessing small amounts of marijuana, according to records.