The Acting United States Attorney for the District of Vermont Jonathan Ophardt announced that Curtis Johnston, 38, pleaded not guilty today to a charge alleging that Johnston traveled in interstate commerce without updating his registration under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”). U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle ordered Johnston detained pending further proceedings.
A federal grand jury in Burlington returned an indictment charging Johnston with violating SORNA. According to the indictment and court records, Johnston was convicted in Tennessee of aggravated statutory rape in 2012. Johnston was accordingly required to register as a sex offender with officials of any state where he resided or to which he relocated. Under federal law, when a sex offender moves from one state to another, he has three days to update his registration. Johnston allegedly relocated to Vermont in or about October 2020, but had not updated his registration to reflect his new residence as of July 2021.
Acting United States Attorney Ophardt emphasizes that the charge against Johnston is merely an accusation, and that Johnston is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.
Johnston faces up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. His actual sentence, however, would be determined with reference to federal sentencing guidelines.
The U.S. Marshals Service investigated this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Spencer Willig represents the United States. The defendant is represented by John-Claude Charbonneau.