Billionaire heir to the SC Johnson family fortune charged with sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl

Daily Mail | March 25, 2011
By Simon Neville

  • Samuel Curtis Johnson allegedly exposed himself to the girl and fondledher
  • Father of three faces up to 40 years in prison
  • Family have been left 'distraught'
  • A billionaire heir to the fortune of SC Johnson, which brands itself as the 'Family Company,' has been charged with sexual assault of a teenage girl.

    Father-of-three Samuel Curtis Johnson faces up to 40 years in prison if found guilty.

    The married 55-year-old is alleged to have had inappropriate sexual contact up to 20 times with the 15-year-old girl.

    The bombshell charges have left the family 'distraught'.

    The girl told investigators that Johnson exposed himself, fondled her under her clothes and kissed her breasts and private parts, with the last alleged incident taking place in November 2010.

    He also asked her for sex she said, admitting that she couldn't remember how long ago the abuse began.

    According to the complaint, she described Johnson as having a ‘sex addiction’ and ‘touching problem’.

    In Racine County Circuit Court on Thursday, Johnson, who is ranked 595 in the Forbes Billionaire List with a personal fortune of $2.2billion, was formally charged and given a $500,000 cash bond.

    He must have no contact with the victim or with any girls unless in the presence of another adult. He was also ordered to surrender his passport, and cannot leave the state.

    Prosecutors said the girl told her mother about the abuse, and she confronted Johnson.
    He allegedly admitted to fondling the girl’s breasts and repeatedly apologised for his behaviour.

    Johnson’s family spokesman Harlan Loeb said: ‘Obviously this is a personal matter.
    ‘Allegations of this nature are always deeply disturbing. The family is distraught and very much hopes for the best for everyone involved.’

    SC Johnson is the fifth-generation business behind household products from Mr Muscle to Glade.

    Johnson’s brother, Fisk Johnson, is the chairman and chief executive of the company, based in Racine, Wisconsin, which last year made $8.75billion.

    Spokesman Kelly Semrau said Johnson had worked for the company as a general manager and in other roles in the 1980s and early 1990s but had no formal relationship with the company in almost 15 years.

    S Curtis Johnson, 55, is the former chairman of Diversey Inc, a cleaning-products company that was spun off from SC Johnson in the late 1990s.

    In a letter to the company when he first joined as chairman, Johnson wrote: 'Diversey may be a new company, but like all Johnson family companies, it is built on a rich legacy of family values.'

    He resigned from Diversey’s board in February and was taking a leave of absence for personal reasons, the company said at the time.

    Bosses refused to elaborate on the reasons for Johnson's departure or the potential length of the leave.

    According to the company’s accounts, he earned $8.2million in 2010 through his salary and stock options, while the company had revenues of around $3.2billion.

    In an email to SC Johnson staff on Thursday, CEO Fisk Johnson said: ‘The nature of allegations of this type is always appalling. And our family is distraught. This is an ongoing investigation. I fully respect the process and can only hope for the best for everyone involved.

    ‘Unfortunately, no family is immune from crises.

    ‘I love my brother and the news of these claims has been very devastating. I would very much appreciate your understanding as I do what I can to support Curt and his family.’

    Diversey spokesman John Matthews said Johnson had retired as of the end of March and that his leave of absence immediately removed him from any role with the company.

    He was replaced by his sister.

    Johnson is one of four children of Gene Johnson and the late Sam Johnson. Fisk Johnson heads SC Johnson and Helen Johnson-Leipold is the CEO of Johnson Outdoors and the chairman of Johnson Financial Group.

    The company began when Samuel Curtis Johnson Sr purchased the parquet flooring business of Racine Hardware Company in 1886 and renamed it Johnson's Prepared Paste Wax Company.

    For such a major dynasty the family, whose corporation was built on the notion of 'social responsibility,' have managed to maintain something of a low-profile down the years, avoiding the many scandals that have dogged other family corporations such as Johnson & Johnson.

    But that is not the say the family has not enjoyed its wealth. In 1937 Herbert Fisk Johnson Jr, S Curtis Johnson's grandfather, commissioned leading architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design Wingspread, the family residence in the style of a 'prairie home' just outside Racine.
    The house, finished in 1939, features four large wings and was built on plot of 30 acres featuring  several streams and ponds.

    Lloyd Wright also designed the company's striking headquarters, famed for its impressive Research Tower that has rounded corners.