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Keith Johnson

EFFINGHAM — A Dieterich man pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of predatory criminal sexual assault to a person under the age of 13, a Class X felony.

Keith E. Johnson, 61, took a negotiated plea agreement tendered by Effingham County State’s Attorney Bryan Kibler. Kibler said that in addition to pleading guilty to the predatory criminal sexual assault count, a second count of the same offense would be dismissed.

Johnson’s attorney, Walter Ding, had also requested a cap of 30 years be applied to Johnson’s possible prison sentence, which the state agreed. The Class X felony originally carries with it a six- to 60-year sentence.

Kibler said the family of the victim in the case agreed to the terms of the plea to keep the victim from having to testify in a trial. He said that between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1, 2018, Johnson made sexual contact with a female victim who was under the age of 14 at the time.

Kibler said Johnson touched the victim’s genitals with his finger and on a second occasion, touched the victim’s breast. Kibler said Effingham County authorities were informed of the incidents after the victim reported them to authorities in Crawford County.

The victim told Crawford County authorities that a relative in Effingham County, being Johnson, had touched her inappropriately. She told deputies the incidents occurred at Johnson’s residence in Dieterich.

Johnson remains in custody at the Effingham County Jail and will be sentenced Dec. 10 at 1 p.m.

Kaitlin Cordes can be reached at kaitlin.cordes@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7151 ext. 132.

Reporter

Kaitlin Cordes covers Effingham County, police and courts and sports features for the Effingham Daily News. She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University. Cordes is a native of Effingham.

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