Johnthony Walker indicted on eight counts of statutory rape

Johnthony Walker

The man convicted in the deadly Woodmore school bus crash has been indicted by a Davidson County, Tennessee, grand jury on charges of statutory rape.

Johnthony Walker, 26, is facing eight counts of aggravated statutory rape and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor after the grand jury returned the indictments Monday, according to WSMV-TV Channel 4 in Nashville.

photo Johnthony Walker

Walker was arrested in June 2018 after telling police he had sex with a 14-year-old girl on five occasions over a couple of months while staying with her family in Nashville. The girl's parents called police after learning about the situation, an affidavit says. Walker told police the relationship was consensual.

In March 2018, a Hamilton County jury convicted Walker of six counts of criminally negligent homicide and other charges in connection with the Nov. 21, 2016, crash that killed six Woodmore Elementary School students and injured dozens more on Talley Road in Brainerd.

In April 2018, Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole sentenced him to four years in prison, largely because Walker didn't have a criminal history and didn't qualify for more severe punishment under state law.

While appealing the conviction, Walker was out on bond and staying in Nashville. He told authorities his relationship with the teen, who lived in the home, began in April or May of 2018, though he couldn't recall specific dates or times for any but one of their sexual incidents. During a hearing in August, Nashville Metro Police Officer David Slessinger told a grand jury that Walker appeared distraught while being interviewed in June, with Walker at one point saying, "Looking back, I found it repulsive that this has happened."

Walker wrote a one-page apology to the victim, the sex crimes officer said. He also turned over his cellphone, which contained text messages between Walker and the minor, and at least one picture.

Aggravated statutory rape is a Class D felony with a maximum punishment up to 12 years in prison. The charge is used when a victim is at least 13 years old but under 18 and when the alleged offender is at least 10 years older than the victim.

Woodmore Elementary school bus crash