SOUTHINGTON - A local man has been convicted of groping a woman in a Southington Walmart.
Kenneth Johnson, 56, accepted a plea bargain on Monday, in Bristol Superior Court, pleading guilty under the Alford doctrine to one count of second-degree breach of peace. An Alford plea means he disputes the allegations, but acknowledges he could potentially be convicted after a trial.
One count of fourth-degree sexual assault was not pursued.
Johnson on Monday was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended, and two years of conditional discharge - meaning he will not serve any prison time unless he violates any of the conditions during the two-year discharge period.
Johnson has been ordered to avoid any further arrests and stay out of all Walmart stores. A violation would expose him to as many as six months behind bars.
Johnson was arrested Nov. 25, 2016, after officers responded to Walmart, at 235 Queen St., on the report that one customer inappropriately touched another.
The complainant told police she was shopping in the store when she felt someone - who was later identified as Johnson - bump into her, according to police. Believing it was accidental, the woman initially ignored what happened and continued shopping. Shortly thereafter, the woman told police, Johnson allegedly “grabbed her buttocks and squeezed them.”
According to court officials, the victim felt that the plea deal was “too lenient,” saying what happened has affected her life. She said she is still afraid when she needs to leave the house and go shopping.
Johnson had been granted a first-time offender program in April, which could have allowed him to avoid a criminal conviction. He violated the terms of the program when he left the state without permission and admitted to consuming alcohol, said Alfonzo Sirica, Johnson’s attorney.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.