Woman's kidnapping allegation disputed

Aug. 26, 2012 at 8:59 AM
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WASHINGTON PARK, Ill., Aug. 26 (UPI) -- An Illinois man and his mother were in custody Sunday after a 19-year-old woman told police she had been kidnapped by the man three years ago.

Steven Johnson, 24, and his 54-year-old mother, Owida Johnson were formally charged Saturday night after their arrests Thursday in Washington Park, Ill., the Belleville News Democrat reported.

St. Clair County prosecutors didn't include any kidnapping charges, but did include promotion of prostitution and aggravated criminal sexual abuse in the case against the man, along with weapons and drug counts.

The mother was charged with two counts of child endangerment.

The unidentified woman told police she had gotten together with Steven Johnson voluntarily when she was 15, but was then held against her will. During that time, she had a baby boy, who is now in the custody of state family services, the report said.

Eric Johnson, the suspect's brother, told the newspaper the woman was free to come and go as she pleased, had her own cellphone and access to the Internet.

"If she wanted to leave she could have," he said. "She was there by herself with the 2-year-old boy."

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