Man pleads guilty to sexual assault charges in 2 cases from Kalamazoo County in 2013

Kalamazoo County sexual assault survivors see justice a decade later

FILE - A generic still image of a gavel. A Wyoming man has pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges in two Kalamazoo County cases dating back to 2013.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – A 30-year-old Wyoming man pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two teenagers in two separate incidents that occurred a decade ago.

Michael Vincenzo Johnson, of Casper, Wyoming, was on probation when he was arrested and extradited to Michigan to face charges in two sexual assault cases dating back to 2013.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct for the assaults of two Kalamazoo County teens while he was a student at Western Michigan University.

Sexual assault on WMU campus

Prosecutors said Johnson sexually assaulted an 18-year-old freshman in a university dorm room on Jan. 19, 2013.

The 18-year-old was “physically helpless and in a state of extreme intoxication,” according to prosecutors. Johnson was a 20-year-old student at the time.

16-year-old reports sexual assault to police

Johnson sexually assaulted a 16-year-old high school girl in a home in Augusta, Michigan, in February 2013.

The girl reported the assault to the Augusta Police Department and underwent a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) exam. Johnson and the girl were both interviewed by police.

Prosecutors said no police report was ever generated.

Case reopened in 2020

The Western Michigan University Police Department referred the case to the Kalamazoo Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) project in 2017. SAKI was established in 2017. The program helps investigate and prosecute cold case sexual assaults.

SAKI reopened the Western Michigan University sexual assault case in June 2020. Investigators became aware of the 2013 report from the 16-year-old girl while investigating the WMU case.

Johnson arrested in 2016 in Wyoming

Johnson moved to Wyoming in January 2016 to become a sportswriter for a newspaper.

After arriving in Wyoming, he began pursuing sexual relationships with high school girls. He was arrested in April 2016 on charges of accosting minors, manufacturing child pornography and providing marijuana to minors.

He pleaded down to lesser charges and was sentenced in January 2017 to three and a half years in prison for possession of marijuana and sexual exploitation of children.

He was arrested on the Michigan charges after he was paroled in Wyoming.

Johnson pleads guilty in Michigan

In May 2022, Johnson was extradited to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to face charges in the two sexual assault cases.

Johnson pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He will be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. on March 20, 2023.

“He had already moved to another state to continue his pattern of assaulting young women and girls. I’m grateful for the hard work of the Kalamazoo SAKI investigators and participating law enforcement agencies in Michigan and Wyoming for their help in taking a sexual predator off the streets,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Survivor says guilty plea is ‘validation and justice’

Both survivors have shared with prosecutors how the sexual assaults and lack of prosecution were detrimental to them.

Prosecutors said the survivors have indicated seeing justice in their cases has had a positive impact. Both survivors watched Johnson plead guilty via Zoom.

“You helped me in the process of re-opening a wound and allowing it to heal the right way,” a survivor told investigators.

The other survivor called the guilty plea “validation and justice.” She said, “I gave up completely on anything being done. I truly appreciate the work and effort you all have put in for me.”

More information about the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative is available online, click here.

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.