gavel and justice scales

A Statesville man was sentenced to at least three years in prison for violating the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth D. Bell sentenced Gregory Michael Johnson, 37, to 38 months in federal prison. The sentencing came in U.S. Western District Court in Statesville on Thursday, U.S. Attorney for the Western District Andrew Murray announced.

Bell also ordered Johnson to serve 10 years under court supervision after he is released from prison and to register as a sex offender.

Court documents and statements made in court on Aug. 2, 2016, indicate Johnson was convicted in Iredell County of sexual battery and, as part of his sentence, he was required to register as a sex offender for 30 years. In 2017, prior to his release from prison, Johnson was informed of his registration obligations under SORNA, and signed forms acknowledging that he understood his sex offender registration requirements in the state of North Carolina.

On March 7, 2017, Johnson moved to Tennessee, where again he signed the relevant forms acknowledging he understood the state’s sex offender registration requirements.

Court records show that on at least three different occasions, Johnson violated SORNA by failing to register as a sex offender and traveling in interstate commerce. Specifically, Johnson failed to update his sex offender registration each time his residential address changed, and failed to register his place of employment. Court records show Johnson failed to register or update his sex offender registration between April 27 to July 27, 2017; Jan. 28 to June 2, 2018; and Sept. 17 to Sept. 30, 2018.

At Johnson’s sentencing hearing, the government argued for and secured an enhanced sentence noting, among other things, Johnson’s repeated failure to comply with SORNA, and the need to promote respect for the law. The government also noted that Johnson refused to register properly in either North Carolina or Tennessee, despite living in both states at various times.

On Dec. 2, 2019, Johnson pleaded guilty to three counts of failure to register and update registration as required by SORNA, and traveling in interstate commerce. He has been in federal custody since July 8, 2019.

The Sex Offender Registration Act, or SORNA, was enacted in 2006, and aimed to strengthen the existing sex offender registration and notification programs, by providing a comprehensive set of minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification in the United States, and by requiring registered sex offenders to register and keep their registration current in each jurisdiction in which they reside, work or go to school.

Murray commended the U.S. Marshals Service for their investigation of this case.

Assistant United States Attorney Alfredo De La Rosa prosecuted the case.

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