ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.MAY 7 2011 — Those who know Hilliard Middle-Senior High School teacher Joshua Johnson said they can’t believe he has a mug shot.
Johnson, 29, is among 17 men who St. Johns County investigators said went to a home seeking to sexually exploit children after being lured to the home by investigators in an online chat room sting.
Johnson has bonded out of jail, and a man who answered the door at his home Thursday said he had no comment on the arrest.
A parent named Tammy said Johnson coached and taught her son at the school.
“My son was shocked because not only was he his teacher, he was his mentor,” she said. “You can see the hurt in his eyes.”
One former student said Johnson was once her volleyball coach.
“He was real touchy-feely. He would like to touch your shoulders, always hug and stuff,” she said.
What has a lot of people shocked is that investigators said Johnson was trying to solicit a 14-year-old boy. Investigators said most of the men they arrested were trying to solicit young girls ages 8-15.
Several of Johnson’s neighbors said his arrest just doesn’t make sense.
“Normal guy, good neighbor,” Charlie Scott said in describing Johnson.
“I cannot believe that my children have been playing outside and he lives right there,” neighbor Cindy Eggers said.
Johnson has been suspended with pay pending the next Nassau County School Board meeting, when he could be suspended without pay, school officials said. Johnson, who’s been with the district since 2003, has not returned to the school since his arrest.