Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Staff reports
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

City official faces criminal sexual contact charges


Nathan Johnson

Former legislative candidate and city planner/community development director for the city of Pine City, Nathan Lawrence Johnson, 38, was arrested on two felony counts of criminal sexual contact and two misdemeanors.

Johnson was arrested by investigators of the Pine County Sheriff's Office on Friday and appeared in court on Monday. Since many people in the Pine County Attorney's Office know Johnson, and that office has the contract to handle the city's prosecution of cases, Johnson is being prosecuted by the Isanti County Attorney's Office.

The official charges against Johnson include two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree and two counts of furnishing tobacco/tobacco related/electronic delivery device to a person under 18 years of age (misdemeanors).

The investigation started in July 2015 when a Pine County investigator interviewed a 16-year-old male. He reported that he met Johnson through a mutual friend, and a short while after meeting, Johnson sent him a message on Facebook.

In April 2015, when the male victim was 15, he recalled Johnson asking him to clean his house at a rate of $20 per hour, charging documents say. The boy received a pack of cigarettes and a tin of tobacco chew after cleaning the house. A few days later, Johnson reportedly asked the teen to clean his home again. Johnson asked the boy if he wanted a back massage and reportedly touched the boy inappropriately.

When the boy turned 16, Johnson met up with him again, also making physical contact, with Johnson allegedly saying he could not "touch him as much as he wanted," but that he had "to stop when you say stop."

Investigators received and reviewed records from Facebook from February 2016. The records showed that Johnson first messaged the boy in July 2014, and the last message was in June 2015. On the first day of messaging, Johnson asked the boy when he would be 16, and followed that question with "that's the legal age," the charging document said.

Two messages asked, in exchange for purchasing tobacco, that the boy send a photo of himself shirtless.

Johnson has been placed on paid administrative leave by the city of Pine City.

On Monday, Judge James T. Reuter set bail at $2,500 with conditions. The Isanti County prosecutor asked for a bail of $10,000 with conditions. The conditions for Johnson's release include that he remain law abiding, be on conditional release supervision, have no contact with the victim, stay one block away from victim's residence and not leave the state without permission. He received unconditional bail set at $10,000.


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