SOUTHINGTON - A local man accused of groping a woman in a Southington Walmart will undergo sex offender treatment in his quest to avoid prosecution.
During a hearing Wednesday in Bristol Superior Court, Kenneth Johnson, 55, was placed in Accelerated Rehabilitation, a two-year program for first-time offenders.
“A conviction would identify to the world this accused as an offender,” Judge Richard Dyer said, before making his decision on the program.
The judge called the allegations against Johnson “bothersome” and “offensive.” Conceding that the case only involved misdemeanor charges, Dyer granted his AR application. He ordered Johnson to avoid any new arrests and to undergo sex offender treatment.
Johnson must also avoid contact with the victim, stay out of the Walmart where the offense was reported and make a $50 donation to a fund set up for crime victims. If he abides by all the conditions, the charges - fourth-degree sexual assault and second-degree breach of peace - will be dropped on April 13, 2019.
“The case will be prosecuted if there are any violations,” Dyer said.
Johnson was arrested Nov. 25 after officers responded to Walmart, 235 Queen St., on the report that one customer inappropriately touched another.
The complainant told police she was shopping in the store when she felt someone - who was later identified as Johnson - bump into her, according to police.
Believing it was accidental, the woman initially ignored what happened and continued shopping. Shortly thereafter, the woman told police, Johnson allegedly “grabbed her buttocks and squeezed them.”