Monday, May 19, 2014

Woman Attends San Antonio High School under Pretense of Being Only Fifteen

Credit: KLTV (Gregg County Jail and Facebook)
It may sound like a reboot of the 1980s TV show 21 Jump Street, but in addition to Johnny Depp being nowhere around, Charity Anne Johnson was committing a crime instead of going undercover to solve one.

Ms. Johnson, who is thirty-one years old, has been attending New Life Christian School in San Antonio for the past eight months under the false pretense that she was only fifteen. She was enrolled in the school after befriending Tamica Lincoln and telling her that she was an abused and abandoned teen. Lincoln took her into her home and cared for Johnson as if she was her own child. When Lincoln learned that she had been scammed by Johnson, she contacted the school and the police.

Charity Johnson, who attended the school under the name Charity Stevens, is now facing charges of failure to identify and giving false information and is currently in jail and unable to make bail.

This is a sad story that appears to have several victims. Most obvious among them is Tamica Lincoln, who only wanted to offer care to someone who she thought was only a child. But I also wonder what circumstances led Charity Johnson to choose a path of deception. While her actions are in no way justified, I hope that this arrest will allow her to get whatever help she needs so that she no longer is compelled to assume the identity of a teenager. And let us not forget the staff and student body at New Life Christian School. I imagine it was a little disconcerting for the kids to learn a person who they thought was a peer was instead much older and not who she claimed to be.

Tamica Johnson should be applauded for her desire to open her home when she saw a need. Unfortunately, there are many instances in Texas when children who truly are too young to care for themselves have parents who cannot or will not assume the responsibility. In such cases, new guardianship must be determined by the court for the protection of the children.

If you need assistance navigating the legal steps for securing a safe home for children you know, please contact the family law attorneys at Bertolino LLP. We can explain your rights and work with you to determine the best course of action.

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