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Accused rapist returned to victim's home in clown makeup, DA Sini says

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini, speaks during

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini, speaks during a news conference outside his office in Hauppauge in December, 2020 Credit: James Carbone

A Wyandanch man in clown makeup broke into the home of a victim he had raped two days earlier and damaged a video surveillance system, prosecutors said Wednesday while charging the defendant with first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sexual act, and strangulation.

Joseph T. Johnson, 33, had also broken into several cars before raping the victim on Sept. 19, prosecutors said. He was arraigned on a 13-count indictment in front of Acting Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Chris Ann Kelley in Riverhead, who set bail at $500,000 cash, $1 million bond or $5 million partially secured bond.

"This is a dangerous individual and a convicted sex offender who is now off our streets," Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said.

According to prosecutors, Johnson allegedly broke into several cars parked near the Wyandanch train station between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Sept. 19 by breaking the vehicles’ windows.

Johnson later broke into a Wyandanch home, where he raped and strangled a victim inside, according to court documents. He also stole cash from the home, prosecutors said.

The victim installed several surveillance cameras around her home after the attack. On Sept. 21, prosecutors said, the victim was alerted that the cameras had been turned off. The cameras had been damaged or turned away from the home, while the wires to the recording unit inside the home had been cut.

Video surveillance captured before the cameras were damaged showed Johnson — wearing clown face paint — at the residence, according to prosecutors. Johnson was identified from the surveillance video by a Suffolk police detective and arrested in connection with the burglary.

DNA testing and other evidence revealed that Johnson was the perpetrator in the Sept. 19 rape and burglary, prosecutors said.

Johnson is represented by the Legal Aid Society, which did not return a request for comment. Johnson is scheduled to return to court on March 9.

If convicted, Johnson faces up to 25 years in prison for crimes on Sept. 19 and 15 years in prison for crimes on Sept. 21. He could spend 40 years in prison if sentenced consecutively.

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