Dickinson man faces federal charges for child sex crimes

Fast-food manager's arrest uncovers explicit images of abuse, leading to federal charges with potential prison sentence of over 30 years.

Scott H Johnson
Scott Howard Johnson, 39.
Contributed / SWMCC

DICKINSON — Dickinson resident Scott Howard Johnson, 39, has been arrested and is facing both state and federal charges related to child sex crimes. The charges came to light during an investigation into a theft at the Dairy Queen where Johnson worked as a manager.

The Dickinson Police Department’s investigation into the report of a purse theft at the Dairy Queen on March 17 led them to identify Johnson as the primary suspect. He was initially charged with theft of lost or mislaid property and tampering with a witness. During the investigation, Detective Samantha Okke of the Dickinson Police Department discovered explicit images of a minor victim on Johnson's iPhone.

Within a Photo Vault app on Johnson's phone, Okke reported she found more than 100 photos and 26 videos showing Johnson engaged in various sexual acts with the minor victim, including intercourse. The metadata associated with the images revealed that many were taken at or near Johnson's family residence in Dickinson. Another folder labeled "SpyCam" contained nine videos featuring the victim, while a separate folder contained 42 photos of prepubescent girls engaged in sexual acts.

According to police, Johnson confessed to creating illicit imagery of the victim, stating this had taken place from around the time she was 12 or 13 years old until she turned 18 and admitting most of these images were produced at his residence, with some produced in a hotel room in Montana.

The investigator stated that Johnson used a cellphone and a concealed camera within a Bluetooth speaker to capture additional explicit imagery.


The victim, speaking with Okke, said that Johnson had been sexually and physically abusive toward her since she was approximately 8 years old, continuing until she turned 18.

Johnson has been charged with two federal crimes: possession of materials depicting the sexual exploitation of minors and production of the same. The latter charge carries a potential sentence of more than 30 years in prison. In addition, Johnson faces charges in Stark County for gross sexual imposition and continuous sexual abuse of a minor — both of these charges are class AA felonies.

Johnson is currently being held in custody at the Southwest Multi-County Correctional Center in Dickinson, on a hold by the U.S. Marshals Service.

The Southwest Multi-County Correctional Center in Dickinson is pictured.
Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press

Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge. His reporting focuses on Stark County government and surrounding rural communities.
What To Read Next
Get Local