Johnson charged with assaulting 8-year-old girl

8/9/2006 - NBA

OCALA, Fla. -- Former NBA All-Star Eddie Johnson was denied
bail Wednesday, a day after being arrested and charged with
sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl.

Though Johnson told Marion County Judge John Futch that he
wanted to represent himself, a public defender was assigned to his

Johnson, 51, was charged Tuesday with sexual battery on a child
under the age of 12 and residential burglary for entering the
apartment where the girl was staying while her mother was out, said
Sgt. Russ Kern of the Ocala police department.

He has also been charged with sexual battery and burglary in the
rape of a 25-year-old woman Aug. 6 at an Ocala motel room, police
said Wednesday.

Johnson, a guard from Auburn who played in the NBA from
1977-1987 with the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and
Seattle SuperSonics, was being held at the Marion County jail. He is not to
be confused with the Eddie Johnson who is now a television analyst
with his former team, the Phoenix Suns.

Johnson was being held at the Marion County jail.

The girl and her three brothers were staying in the apartment
while their mother registered them at school, according to a police
report. Johnson walked into the apartment uninvited and told the
girl's 6-year-old brother to lock the door, police said.

The girl told detectives Johnson ordered her into a bedroom,
where he sexually assaulted her, according to the police report. He
then told her "not to tell anyone about what just happened," and
tried to kiss her in the kitchen before leaving the apartment, the
report stated.

She told her mother about the alleged assault when the woman
returned to the apartment, police said. The girl's mother told
detectives she knew Johnson from the neighborhood, but he had never
had permission to be in her home.

Johnson was arrested in a field near the apartment building. He
told detectives he had been in the apartment with the children, who
were jumping on the bed.

He also told detectives he kissed the girl on the head, which he
does all the neighborhood children "as a friendly gesture,"
according to the police report.

On Wednesday, Johnson denied entering the girl's home to the
Ocala Star-Banner. He told the newspaper that the girl's mother is
a friend to whom he gives money.

"I love them kids like my own. I'm no pervert. I'm a loving
father," Johnson said. "I don't go over there unless her mother
is there and then I'll go to get something to eat."

Since 1989, online Marion County court records show Johnson has
had numerous convictions: burglary, battery, robbery, marijuana
possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest,
along with a charge last month of battery on a law enforcement
officer and resisting or obstructing an officer without violence,
the newspaper reported Wednesday.

He represented the Hawks in the 1980 and 1981 NBA All-Star games
and scored 10,163 career points.