SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - UPDATE: A status hearing was held Monday for former Savannah High School assistant principal, Marvin Johnson.
Johnson is accused of sexually assaulting at least one student. A year-and-a-half after his arrest, this is still an extremely sensitive topic for parents.
We spoke with at least a dozen people around the Savannah High area on Monday who would not go on camera until a verdict is reached, but they tell us they’re still in shock.
After a 20-year tenure, Johnson’s contract with Savannah High School was not renewed. This comes after a 10th Grade student claimed Johnson was supposed to give him a ride home from school, but instead, took the student to his house.
The 16-year-old reported Johnson turned off the lights, took off his pants, and told the student to undress. The student says the incident happened in January of 2017 but did not report it to officials in May. Johnson then turned himself into Savannah Police. After being released on bond, the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System says the immediately reassigned Johnson to a job away from students. With only three weeks left in the school year at the time, he finished his contract in the alternate position.
We reached out to the school system Monday. A spokesperson told us Johnson has not been employed within the district since. We also reached out to Savannah Police who say new details in the investigation cannot be released until a final verdict is reached.
Finally, we spoke to Johnson’s brother on the phone who says the family is also standing by for a judge’s decision.
The arraignment for Johnson is scheduled for Nov. 19. He is charged with sexual assault by persons with supervisory or disciplinary authority. The judge has ordered Johnson to stay away from victims and their families in the meantime, implying there could be more than one instance with a student.
As soon as the judge makes a decision, we’ll be sure to let you know.
Savannah High School’s assistant principal that was arrested and charged for reportedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old student has now bonded out of jail.
The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department's Special Victims Unit arrested Assistant Principal Marvin Johnson, 43, after he was accused of sexually assaulting a Savannah High student off-campus at the end of January 2017. The incident was reported May 1.
According to the police report, a male 16-year-old 10th-grade student at Savannah High School claims Johnson sexually molested him. The report says the alleged victim told his mother, father and stepfather, who then all showed up at the school on the morning of May 1.
The victim reported that the incident happened on the night of January 31. He said he had to stay late after school for detention, and after detention, he met with another teacher to finish a test. He then helped another teacher to clean and move some items at the school and went to the basketball game where Johnson was supposed to take him home. However, Johnson took him to a convenience store and then back to his house instead. At that time, the victim said they went inside, Johnson turned off the lights, took off his pants and told the student to take off his clothes. The student says they had intercourse and he told Johnson to stop and get off. Afterward, Johnson took the student home.
Johnson turned himself into police and the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System on Monday. He is charged with sexual assault by persons with supervisory or disciplinary authority.
Johnson made his first appearance in court on Tuesday, and his bond was granted at $5,000. He has been ordered not to have any contact with alleged victims or the family members of alleged victims, and he has also been banned from the Savannah High School property.
Last week, we first reported that Johnson was reassigned to a different position not dealing with students while the allegations were investigated. School board officials say that is standard protocol for something as serious as this.
"Prior to an arrest warrant being served in this case, Mr. Johnson had been reassigned within the District to a non-school based position. This action was taken immediately after SCCPSS officials were made aware of the allegations and subsequent investigation," said an SCCPSS official.
Many parents say they can't believe it.
"They know this is not this man. They know because this is not his character. I will put my life on that. This is not Mr. J's character," said Mozell Kelly, parent. "If there is anything I can help him with, I will get my people together, and we will get together because we know Mr. J didn't do this."
"People who are placed in position; our administrators, our teachers, they have the professional duty to engage in students like that for those very reasons," said Johnnie Spaulding, reacting to the story on WTOC's Facebook. "I just want to say to the victim and any other victims that we stand in solidarity with you. We want these people out of our schools."
The SCCPSS released the following statement on Tuesday morning:
According to Johnson's Georgia teaching certificate, he's been an educator since 1997. That's when he started his career as a music teacher.
According to district officials, he became the band director at Savannah High on August 12th, 1997.
In 2016, he received his tier II educational leadership certificate which qualifies him to be an assistant principal and in February of 2016, he was promoted to assistant principal.
His Georgia teaching certificate also appears to be in good standing. It does not indicate there have been any disciplinary actions taken by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission during his teaching tenure.
This incident remains under investigation by Savannah-Chatham Metro's SVU.
Anyone with any additional information is asked to contact detectives on the SCMPD tip line by dialing 912.525.3124.
Information may also be forwarded to CrimeStoppers at 912.234.2020. Tipsters remain anonymous and may qualify for a cash reward.