GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Former Page High School teacher and assistant basketball coach Mark Johnson resigned amid multiple child sex crime charges, but this is not the first time he’s faced allegations of this kind. The previous report occurred after an earlier stint working for Guilford County Schools.
Mark Johnson Jr., 34, was charged with two counts each of first-degree statutory rape and indecent liberties with children, according to Guilford County’s inmate database. Johnson was arrested and booked on Friday. He received a $1 million bond.
These latest allegations came to light while Johnson was working as a teacher and assistant women’s basketball coach, according to court records. The school district says Johnson was hired on Aug. 16, 2022. He resigned from his position at Page High School on Feb. 22, 2023.
“One thing that [the victim] told the Greensboro police officers was that Mr. Johnson told her this wasn’t his first time, that he had been accused of being involved with a student before in High Point,” Assistant District Attorney Kelly Thompson said in court on Monday.
Less than five years prior to these charges, from March 2017 to April 2018, Johnson worked as a substitute teacher for Guilford County Schools, the district confirmed. As a substitute, he worked at Andrews High School, Eastern Guilford High School, Smith High School, Mendenhall Middle School and Sternberger Elementary School.
Detectives located a 2019 report in which, Thompson says, “there were allegations of some sexually inappropriate conduct with Mr. Johnson. However, Mr. Johnson resigned from the school system and the allegations went nowhere and then was hired back into the Guilford County school system.”
While the 2019 allegations did not lead to charges, Thompson says detectives are going back to investigate that report.
Guilford County Schools said in a statement Tuesday that the district requires any suspicion of sexual misconduct to be reported to law enforcement and that Guilford County Schools conducts criminal background and reference checks for all newly hired employees but Johnson had no sexual misconduct charges or convictions from before Feb. 24.
The school district’s Feb. 28 statement is included in full below.
“Guilford County Schools conducts criminal background and reference checks for all newly hired employees. Additionally, the district requires that any suspicion of sexual misconduct is reported to law enforcement.
“Following a background check, Mark Johnson, Jr. had no charge or conviction related to sexual misconduct prior to February 24, 2023.”
This was Guilford County Schools’ second statement on the case. The first, included in full below, was released on Feb. 25:
“Student safety is very important to us, and this kind of behavior will simply not be tolerated at Page High School or in Guilford County Schools. GCS and Page High School have cooperated fully with law enforcement on the investigation throughout this process. We will continue to provide support to the Page campus.”
The charges against Johnson stem from text messages parents discovered on their daughter’s phone.
A mother said, unbeknownst to her and her husband at the time, Johnson had sent a text to their daughter asking for her to meet him outside their home at 1:13 a.m., according to court records. The parents were home at the time and confirmed that their daughter left the house under the pretense that she was getting basketball gear out of her car.
“When the mother saw this text message, of course she was disturbed and made school authorities aware of that he had been in her home as well as she screenshotted the text conversation,” Thompson said.
Shortly after the texts were discovered, Greensboro Police Department detectives launched an investigation, and Johnson was put on leave from Page High School.
On Johnson’s phone, officers say they found inappropriate photos and videos that had been sent by another student and recently deleted. According to Thompson, the second student told investigators “that she had been engaged in some activity, sexual activity, with Mr. Johnson.”
“She was not only able to describe the location, but she was also able to describe the inside of his vehicle in explicit detail,” Thompson said.
Thompson added that Johnson allegedly sent text messages to students “telling them to delete everything that they had about their conversations.”
In court, a judge ruled that, pending the results of this case, Johnson is forbidden from contacting any of the alleged witnesses or people at Page High School, and he cannot be alone with any children under the age of 18.