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Case 6:14-cr-00482-MC Document 300 Filed 01/22/19 Page 1 of 11

BILLY J. WILLIAMS, OSB No. 901366
United States Attorney
District of Oregon
JEFFREY S. SWEET, OSB No. 994183
RAVI SINHA, LASB No. 30823
Assistant United States Attorneys
jeff.sweet@usdoj.gov
ravi.sinha@usdoj.gov
405 East 8th Avenue, Suite 2400
Eugene, Oregon 97401
Telephone: (541) 465-6771
Facsimile: (541) 465-6917

LAUREN E. BRITSCH, NYSB No. 5292008
Trial Attorney
Child Exploitation & Obscenity Section
Criminal Division, U.S. Dep’t of Justice
lauren.britsch@usdoj.gov
The Bond Building
1400 New York Ave NW, 6th Floor
Washington, DC 20530
Phone: (202) 514-2220
Fax: (202) 514-1793

Attorneys for the United States of America

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

DISTRICT OF OREGON

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 6:14-CR-00482-MC

v. UNITED STATES’ SENTENCING
MEMORANDUM
DANIEL STEPHEN JOHNSON,

Defendant.
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Minor #3 moved into Daniel Johnson’s orphanage when he was about seven years old.

Within a month of his arrival, Mr. Johnson began molesting him. Over the course of the next

few years, Mr. Johnson sexually abusedMinor #3 countless times. He tried to force Minor #3 to

perform oral sex on him by pushingMinor #3's head down, pulledMinor #3's hair, and anally raped

Minor #3 —the pain of whichMinor #3 recounted at trial. For the abuse, Mr. Johnson sometimes gave

Minor #3 cookies or small sums of money. More importantly, submitting to Mr. Johnson’s

molestations—two or three times a week for years—both ensured thatMinor #3could remain at Mr.

Johnson’s orphanage, where there was adequate food and access

to schooling, and allowed him to avoid reprisal from Mr. Johnson,

who had beaten Minor #3with a belt.
Redacted Photo

Minor #3, like his older brother Minor #2, had left his family and

moved across Cambodia to the orphanage to get an education and

escape intractable poverty. They had done so on Mr. Johnson’s promise of a better life at the

orphanage. What they found on their arrival, however, was something far different: Minor #3 and

Minor #2 , who was thirteen years old, quickly became two of Mr. Johnson’s favorite victims and,

over the course of the next few years, Mr. Johnson raped and molested them at will.

Minor #3 and Minor #2 were not alone. As became clear at trial, Mr. Johnson’s creation of a

Cambodian orphanage positioned him to rape some of the world’s most vulnerable children.

Children who he could abuse with impunity because they depended on him for their survival,

for their food and shelter. And because their only hope for an education and a decent life was

to stay in Mr. Johnson’s good graces—by remaining silent while he preyed upon them.

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So, for years, prey Mr. Johnson did. Though the full breadth of his crimes is unknown, it

is clear that his appetite for children is insatiable: Ten boys testified at trial about Mr. Johnson’s

often-successful efforts to rape or abuse them. Their stories hewed to a similar path, including

their reasons for being at the orphanage, the control that Mr. Johnson exerted over them, and, in

many instances, the details of Mr. Johnson’s repeated and systematic sexual abuse of them and

their friends.

The full details of these children’s abuse need not be recounted here—the hopelessness

of their predicament and the magnitude of their suffering is, to anyone present for their

testimony, unforgettable. Nor does one need to travel far down the long list of Mr. Johnson’s

offenses before realizing that no term of incarceration can fully account for what he did to those

boys. The facts of this case are plain: Mr. Johnson is, in the fullest sense of the word, a

predator. He is wholly unmoved by the pain of his child-victims and there is no reason to

believe that Mr. Johnson would—or even could—stop himself from sexually abusing children if

released. As such, justice cannot be done, the public cannot be protected, and Mr. Johnson’s

predatory behavior toward vulnerable, young children cannot be controlled by any sentence

that releases him back into society.

Accordingly, the United States echoes U.S. Probation’s recommendation and asks this

Court to sentence Mr. Johnson to life.

I. Mr. Johnson Systematically Sexually Abused Multiple Boys

At trial, the Court witnessed the victims painfully recount Mr. Johnson’s abuse. Many

were understated, most were ashamed, some found it hard to talk about. All were credible.

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Mr. Johnson molested Minor #1 at three different

locations. After the abuse, he sometimes apologized, citing

scripture’s message of forgiveness. And, while the Court observed
Redacted Photo
Minor #1 and others as young men, Minor #1 was just in 8th grade when

Mr. Johnson began raping him.

Mr. Johnson molested Minor #2 within a week of Minor #2's

arrival at the orphanage. Mr. Johnson had recruited Minor #2 from a rural Cambodian province on

the promise of a better life. But Minor #2 soon learned that Mr. Johnson’s help came at a terrible

price. Minor #2 was forced to serve as a sexual plaything for Mr. Johnson, who abused him at will

from Minor #2's arrival to shortly before Mr. Johnson’s arrest. Minor #2's efforts to stop Mr. Johnson’s

abuse were futile. As he put it, “How could I win?” Compounding Minor #2's suffering was the

knowledge that Mr. Johnson was also raping Minor #2's younger brother,Minor #3

In that regard, Minor #7 faced similar torment. After rebuffing Mr. Johnson’s

attempts to molest him three separate times, Minor #7 left the orphanage. He did so even

with the gut-wrenching knowledge that it meant that his younger

brother Minor #8 would be left behind to fend of Mr. Johnson’s abuse

alone.
Redacted Photo

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Minor #7 was right to be worried. As Minor #8

recounted, Mr. Johnson tried to put his hand down Minor #8's pants to

grab his penis. Remarkably, Minor #8 managed to escape the assault by

pulling Mr. Johnson’s hand out of his pants, but, as he later told the Redacted Photo

jury, Mr. Johnson did not like this rebuff.

For many victims, such as Minor #6 , Mr. Johnson’s rapes

were almost too painful to speak of. But Minor #6's demeanor and short

answers at trial spoke volumes. Asked about whether he ejaculated

when Mr. Johnson performed oral sex on him, he responded,
Redacted Photo
“Came.” Asked about Mr. Johnson anally raping him he answered,

“Penetrated.” About the frequency of the abuse, “Many.” Asked

why he did not disclose? “Ashamed.”

Minor #5 also found Mr. Johnson’s rapes difficult to

talk about. In gripping trial testimony, however, Minor #5 explained

Redacted Photo how he desperately tried—but failed—to stop Mr. Johnson from

anally raping him and that, after each rape, Mr. Johnson ordered

Minor #5 not to tell anyone. Mr. Johnson documented Minor #5's

abuse by taking a “selfie” of him raping Minor #5 and then showing Minor #5 the image, which

Minor #5 still recalls today.

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Minor #4 was also a victim of Mr. Johnson’s repeated rapes. Minor #4 , who loved Mr.

Johnson like a father, testified about the rapes and recalled his futile efforts

to twist away from Mr. Johnson during painful anal sex. Minor #4 also

Redacted Photo recounted Mr. Johnson’s attempts to entice and silence him, and how Minor #4

tried unsuccessfully to stop Mr. Johnson’s abuse by telling Pastor Sopheak.

Mr. Johnson sexually abused Minor #3 shortly after his arrival at the

orphanage. Words fail to capture the impact of Minor #3's heartbreaking trial

testimony on the horrors of Mr. Johnson’s abuse—including the account of Mr. Johnson’s

attempt to anally rape tiny Minor #3. But even the transcript—which contains Minor #3's testimony

about being scared to contact police because he thought he would get in trouble—lays bare both

the extent of Mr. Johnson’s brainwashing and his victims’ powerlessness.

And those are just the victims who testified at trial. There are also, in all likelihood,

many others, including those who disclosed abuse to the government but either recanted or did

not come to the U.S. for trial, and also those who were never interviewed. The boy who came

out of Mr. Johnson’s room on the morning of his arrest, apparently having spent the night there,

but who was never identified or interviewed. Children at other centers in Cambodia, Vietnam,

and Thailand where Mr. Johnson traveled.

Given Mr. Johnson’s systematic and repeated sexual abuse of the victims the United

States learned about, interviewed, and managed to bring over from Cambodia for trial, it is

tragically likely that more victims are out there. Still, the abuse of the testifying victims alone—

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when considered alongside Mr. Johnson’s other actions and the 18 U.S.C. § 3553 factors—more

than justify a life sentence.

II. The Sentencing Guidelines Recommend Life Imprisonment

As much as permitted by the Constitution, the United States Sentencing Guidelines

calculations accurately reflect the egregiousness of Mr. Johnson’s crimes, easily reaching the

highest offense level and recommending a life sentence. Their recommendation reflects, among

other things, the number and ages of Mr. Johnson’s victims, the nature of his abuse, and the fact

that Mr. Johnson abused these extraordinarily vulnerable children for years without remorse or

concern for their well-being.

The United States agrees with Probation’s guidelines calculations with two exceptions.

First, Probation increased the offense level for Count 8 by an additional 2 levels under USSG

§3A1.1(b)(1) based on the offense involving a large number of vulnerable victims. See PSR ¶ 95.

Because Count 8 is specific to victims under the age of 12—in this case Minor #3—and the other

victims are accounted for in the calculations for Counts 1 through 7, the United States believes

that the adjustment under USSG §3A1.1(b)(1) should not apply to Count 8, resulting in an

adjusted offense level of 48 (as opposed to 50) for that count.

Second, in calculating the multiple count adjustment, the Probation Officer did not

group any counts, resulting in 3 units being added to the highest adjusted offense level. Section

3D1.2 governs when closely related counts are grouped, including the following two

circumstances:

(a) When counts involve the same victim and the same act or transaction.
...

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(c) When one of the counts embodies conduct that is treated as a specific offense
characteristic in, or other adjustment to, the guideline applicable to another of
the counts.

USSG §3D1.2(a), (c). The guidelines are not clear cut on this issue. There is an argument that

Counts 3 and 8 should be grouped because they involve the same victim—Minor #3—and his under

12 status is treated as a specific offense characteristic in the guideline applied to Count 3, 1 but

there is also an argument that, because there were multiple incidents of Mr. Johnson sexually

abusingMinor #3, treating these counts separately would not be double counting. However, the

application notes state that “[a]mbiguities should be resolved in accordance with the purpose of

this section . . . i.e. to identify and group ‘counts involving substantially the same harm.’” USSG

§3D1.2, note 2.

Under the unique circumstances of this case—and without forgoing reconsideration of

the issue in future sentencings—the United States errs on the side of caution and therefore takes

the position that Counts 3 and 8 should group, which reduces the number of units from three to

two, and results in a combined adjusted offense level of 55. The United States takes these

conservative positions on the guidelines in light of the fact that Mr. Johnson’s total offense level

remains well above a 43 regardless and thus the recommended term remains life imprisonment.

1This appears to be the nature of Mr. Johnson’s objections to Paragraphs 55, 57, 85, and 92 of the
PSR.

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III. Mr. Johnson’s Unrelenting Sexual Abuse of Multiple Boys and His Future Risk to
Children Merit a Life Sentence

Operating under the guise of a benevolent missionary, Mr. Johnson sought out some of

the world’s most vulnerable children and created an orphanage where, after luring them away

from their families, he could brainwash, abuse, and rape them at will. As a result, these earnest,

desperate children were forced to choose between being molested or returning to a level of

abject poverty unimaginable in the United States. Complicating their decision was the sincere

gratitude they felt for Mr. Johnson, who positioned himself as their sole source of food, shelter,

and access to education.

That Mr. Johnson found himself in such a position was no accident. His years-long

and—based on his recent attempt to curry favor with inmates by fabricating an FBI report

branding someone as a government informant and thereby endangering his life—ongoing

pattern of predatory and deceitful behavior is unrelenting and devoid of any sense that Mr.

Johnson has had a second’s remorse for the profound and unspeakable suffering he has caused.

See Exh. 1, Report of Incident.

This complete lack of empathy, when combined with Mr. Johnson’s history of serial

child sexual abuse and his refusal to accept responsibility for his actions, leave little doubt that

he is, at heart, an unrepentant predator, who poses an almost unimaginable danger to children.

This danger is exacerbated by the fact that Mr. Johnson is also a savvy and skilled con artist,

who displays no sense of shame and blames others rather than accept responsibility for his

crimes. Because he cannot acknowledge his own responsibility—or empathize with his victims’

suffering—he will not be rehabilitated and he has shown no desire to change. Indeed, Mr.

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Johnson is only here because, after being arrested and charged in Oregon for sexually abusing

his cousins, he strategically travelled to an impoverished country and placed himself in a

position where he had unfettered access to vulnerable children, who he could control,

intimidate, and abuse. Neither shame, nor guilt, nor morality moved Mr. Johnson to stop

raping children before. And it will not now: Only Mr. Johnson’s continued incarceration will

stop him. Mr. Johnson either cannot or will not stop himself.

For that reason, Mr. Johnson should never be allowed to set foot outside of prison. As

his history makes clear, Mr. Johnson’s next step as a free man will likely be the first step toward

his next victim.

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CONCLUSION

Accordingly, the United States asks the Court to impose a life sentence. In doing so, the

United States specifically requests a guidelines sentence, resulting in a statutory maximum

sentence of 30 years imprisonment as to each of Counts 1 through 7 to run consecutive (for a

total 210 years) to each other and a statutory maximum sentence of life as to Count 8 to run

concurrent to the 210 years. Given the number of victims and difficulty in ascertaining losses in

this case, the United States requests that the Court set a date for determining restitution that is

approximately 90 days from this sentencing hearing. See 18 U.S.C. § 3664(d)(5).

Dated this 17th day of January 2019.

Respectfully submitted,

BILLY J. WILLIAMS
United States Attorney

s/ Jeffrey S. Sweet
JEFFREY S. SWEET
Assistant United States Attorney

s/ Ravi Sinha
RAVI SINHA
Assistant United States Attorney

s/ Lauren E. Britsch
LAUREN E. BRITSCH
Trial Attorney
Child Exploitation & Obscenity Section
Criminal Division, U.S. Dep’t of Justice

UNITED STATES’ SENTENCING MEMORANDUM Page 11