Youth coach charged in sex assaults

August 7, 2008 3:11:33 PM PDT
A man trusted to work with children is now formally charged with sexually assaulting some of them. 42-year old Marvin Johnson of Vineland spent time working at a Cumberland County Boys and Girls Club. But if he's convicted of the allegations against him - the former boxing coach will do hard time in jail.

Johnson fled to Florida where he was found and arrested by U.S. Marshals and returned to New Jersey. Today he appeared in court in Bridgeton where bail was set at $250,000 for the most serious offense.

Johnson is charged with aggravated sexual assault, sexual contact, kidnapping, and endangering the welfare of a child.

He was a boxing coach at the Boys and Girls Club of Vineland. Authorities say the victims, one adult woman and three female juveniles, met Johnson at the club although none of the alleged incidents occurred there.

"He used his position of trust with these children as a supervisor to continue contacts with them outside of the Boys and Girls Club and in the course of that has engaged in sexual activity," said Cumberland Co. prosecutor Ronald Casella. Officials say one girl was victimized for three years, starting at the age of 12. Johnson fled to Florida after learning that he was under investigation and officials say he even tried to pay off one of his alleged victims.

"We're very upset about it because we had no clue any of this was going on." Chris Volker is the Boys and Girls Club director. He sent letters to parents letting them know about the case. He says a background check was done on Johnson.

"There was nothing that came up on his background that would be any kind of indication that he was doing anything wrong or that he had any kind of criminal history," Volker said. Prosecutors say this is an active investigation, and the are asking any other possible victims to come forward. They can call the Cumberland County Prosecutor's office at 856-453-0486 and ask for the Special Victims Unit.

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