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Former Ladysmith teacher sentenced to 20 years in prison for producing, possessing child porn

35-year-old McKenzie Johnson of Ladysmith was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison and 20 years of probation on Thursday.
34-year-old McKenzie Johnson is charged with production of child pornography.
35-year-old McKenzie Johnson of Ladysmith was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison and 20 years of probation on Thursday.(Rusk County Jail)
Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 11:08 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WEAU) - A former teacher with the Ladysmith School District is sentenced for producing child pornography and possessing child pornography.

35-year-old McKenzie Johnson of Ladysmith was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison and 20 years of probation on Thursday in the Western District of Wisconsin U.S. Federal Court. Johnson pleaded guilty to the charges on Jan. 13, 2022.

In a release from the federal court, Judge William Conley said that Johnson led a “dual life” with friends and family who didn’t know that he was “preying on young girls.” According to the release, Conley said that Johnson was “bright, but manipulative” and willing to engage in what he described as “horrendous” behavior with young girls. Conley also expressed concern that Johnson left his job at a hospital to become a teacher for students the same age that he was attracted to, likening Johnson teaching children to an alcoholic going to a bar.

The release said a search of Johnson’s home in Ladysmith found “numerous” videos and images he recorded from livestreams of the 13-year-old girl engaging in sexual conduct. Another sexually-explicit video of an 11-year-old girl recorded in a livestream with Johnson was found during the search.

According to the criminal complaint, Johnson is accused of producing the child pornography on January 13, 2021, when he was still a teacher at Ladysmith High School. In March of 2021, the mother of a 13-year-old girl in Fontana, Calif. told law enforcement she found explicit messages between her daughter and a man, who was later identified as Johnson. According to court documents, Johnson used the false name of Sam Schumaker in emails and video chats with the girl. Johnson recorded the video chats with the girl, telling investigators that there would be “lots” of recordings from Zoom calls. A heavily-redacted screen capture from one of the videos was used to help identify the child. One of the girl’s parents confirmed her identity based on the image, which was taken from Johnson’s iPad.

Johnson resigned from his position at Ladysmith High School on August 24, 2021, the same day he was taken into custody for suspected possession of child pornography and sexual exploitation of a child. He was charged on Sep. 1, 2021.

The charges against Johnson were the result of an investigation conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, Ladysmith Police Department, Rusk County Sheriff’s Office, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the Ladysmith School District, and the Fontana (California) Police Department.

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