SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — A Santa Clara man who fled to the Dominican Republic in 2019 while on trial for child molestation has been sentenced to life in prison.
Apollo Johnsen, 57, had been sentenced in absentia for repeatedly sexually assaulting a young girl after he used a three-month continuance for a medical procedure to flee and go into hiding, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said.
He was reported to authorities by a woman in the Dominican Republic who looked him up on Google and U.S. Marshals returned him to the
United States earlier this year.
“Starting in 2005, Johnsen began sexually abusing a 6-year-old girl,” the District Attorney’s Office said. “His assaults culminated when he
raped her when she was 16 in her East Bay home.”
According to the office, the victim did not disclose the abuse until May 2016, when she was hospitalized for a panic attack.
Johnson was arrested a month later at his home in Santa Clara, but released on $1 million bail in November 2016. In June of 2019 he was granted a three-month continuance for a medical procedure, but he instead planned his escape.
He was not present when he was convicted on Sept. 26, 2019 of 16 counts of child molestation and the District Attorney’s Office announced that Johnsen remained a fugitive. That announcement was discovered by the woman in the Dominican Republic, who notified authorities, leading to his arrest in Boca Chica.
On Monday, Superior Court Judge Linda Clark sentenced him to the maximum of 240 years-to-life plus 44 years and eight months.
“There is no safe haven for people who harm children in our community,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “From a suspicious mother in
the Caribbean to law enforcement to our prosecutor, we worked together to bring this fugitive to justice.”