Former teacher seeking fresh start after charges rejected

Former teacher seeking fresh start after charges rejected
Raymond Johnson, McNeese Graduation

It's been nearly a year since a young teacher at Lagrange High School was arrested under suspicion of inappropriately touching a student.

Charges have since been rejected, but 32-year-old Raymond Johnson says he's still suffering the consequences.

Johnson loved his job teaching at Lagrange High School. But then he was arrested after allegations of indecent behavior with a juvenile, which he says are not true. Johnson's life changed dramatically.

"Last year when these things were going, on my name was ran over and over on the news stations," said Johnson. "Every time the news came on, my mugshot was on the news.  When the article came out that Monday it went viral."

He says he was advised to resign from his job and was evicted from his apartment.

"I haven't had a job since then. I've had great difficulty getting a job," he said.

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Now, he finds the Calcasieu District Attorney's office has rejected the charges against him. A letter written in February says the case is closed.

"All I want from this is to be able to get another job, move on with my life, it doesn't have to be in Lake Charles, but I would be glad for it to be anywhere," he said.

Johnson got a teaching job in Baton Rouge but says he lost it because of past publicity.

"I was told to go home due to the article that someone anonymously sent them from Lake Charles," said Johnson.

He wants a job in education - though he says he's no longer interested in classroom teaching.

"I don't want to teach students ever again," Johnson said. "After this, I don't want to."

With news of his arrest living on in cyberspace, he expects to face future challenges but says his faith carries him.

"The only way that you can make it for 12 months with no job, pulling all of your money out of retirement, begging people for money is to have strong faith," Johnson said. "Had it not been for people like my pastor, my mom, my godparents, my family, the church and the Bible, there's no way I could have made it this far."

Johnson hopes to get his arrest erased from his official record.

Officials at the DA's office say, and Johnson acknowledges, if more evidence is discovered he could still be charged in the future.

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