Molestation trial nears for former church staffer

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A former Sunday school teacher is scheduled for trial next month on charges he used the online networking site MySpace to entice three teenage boys into sex acts, but those claims won't be the full scope of his troubles.

A Gwinnett grand jury indicted Antoine Johnson, 29, this week on counts that he had a cache of child porn films and photographs on a personal computer, in addition to counts that he molested two boys in 2008, and attempted to molest another the following year.

Assistant District Attorney Nigel Lush said 11 counts of sexual exploitation of children were added to Johnson's indictment this week based on those findings. Johnson was originally indicted in 2010.

"The plan is to try him on the new indictment the week of June 18," Lush said in an email.

The alleged assaults occurred near Bethlehem, where Johnson had lived before moving to Lawrenceville. He formerly acted as a teen leader and, on Sundays, a religious education teacher for sixth-grade boys at a Baptist Church in Dacula, police said.

On several occasions, Johnson allegedly drove two boys to an under-construction subdivision near Harbins Road and molested them in a vacant leasing office.

According to earlier testimony, Johnson posed on MySpace as a 16-year-old girl named "Kristen" -- using a photo he stole from a real account in Texas -- and promised the boys extravagant sexual favors, laptop computers and skateboards in exchange for sex with him.

Johnson had arranged sex with another boy, the eldest at age 15, but those plans fell through, a detective testified. He was outed when a 12-year-old boy's mother found their lurid interactions on her son's MySpace page and alerted authorities.

Police arrested Johnson in a stakeout near a subdivision on Indian Shoals Road, where he was supposed to meet a friend of the 15-year-old boy for sex. A detective posed as a young boy in the shadows, as Johnson reportedly arrived in a Chevy Avalanche and officers moved in.

Johnson was freed on $39,700 bond about two weeks after his arrest. Lush said he has remained in the area. Court records show Johnson's new address is in Decatur.

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