Ex-eagle Wins Acquittal On Sexual Assault Charge

Posted: March 01, 1991

Former Eagles linebacker Alonzo Johnson was acquitted yesterday in Camden County of charges that he sexually assaulted a woman during a date in 1989.

A visibly relieved Johnson wept and embraced his attorneys after the jury foreman read the not guilty verdicts. Johnson had been charged on two counts: aggravated sexual assault and making terroristic threats, both stemming from a May 1989 incident.

Neither side disputed that Johnson, 27, of the 1200 block of Berwyck Court, Sicklerville, and the woman, 28, had sex on the night of May 21, 1989, in his black BMW. But Assistant County Prosecutor Beth Sylvester said it was a classic case of date rape, while defense attorneys Scott Goldberg and Craig R. Mitnick said the woman was seeking revenge because Johnson had offended her.

The couple met that night in the Albion Cafe in Winslow Township. The woman left the cafe with Johnson and his 2-year-old daughter, according to testimony. After making two other stops, Johnson took his daughter home and spent the remainder of the evening with the woman.

The woman testified that she and Johnson drove to a secluded area behind the Terrestria Swim Club in Gloucester Township, where Johnson forced himself upon her.

Johnson testified that he had sex with the woman twice that night. Both times were in his car, parked in different locations, and both incidents were consensual, he told the jury.

After the second incident, Johnson said, he refused to drive the woman back to her car. That is when she became irate and screamed, he said, and threatened to tell police she had been raped. Neighbors who heard the screams called police, and when they arrived, the woman reported that she had been raped.

It took the jury slightly more than an hour to reach a unanimous verdict.

Johnson's career with the Eagles began in 1986 and was halted shortly after that when he left to enter a drug-rehabilitation program. He was officially released from the team in September 1988 and has been working since then in a warehouse in Atco.

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