Chris Hayes and Kevin S. Held
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A man charged with exposing himself in the breakfast line at a Sunset Hills La Quinta Inn was recently sentenced for a similar sex crime.
Kirkwood residents said they were surprised he wasn’t locked up due to his long list of offenses.
Kenny Lamont Johnson, 35, is well known to the stores at Big Bend and Kirkwood Road.
Court records show Johnson was banned from the entire Kirkwood Commons Shopping Center after a 2022 sex case.
“Everybody knows him,” a woman, who did not want to be identified, told us. She says she’s repeatedly called the police about Johnson exposing himself.
“That’s what he does. That’s what he’s been doing and no one … it’s like he’s doing the same stuff that he’s been doing, and he’s out again.”
Court records say Johnson fondled three women in the Kirkwood T.J. Maxx in January 2022, then reportedly lunged at a store manager, knocked her down, and threatened to cut her neck.
Johnson was sentenced to two years in jail after pleading guilty to sex abuse and assault. He got credit for 499 days he’d already served, which is why he was out to reportedly commit another sex act this past Saturday.
“It’s surprising that he was out, and surprising no one’s helped him because he has mental issues,” the woman told us.
Johnson is now charged with exposing himself inside the breakfast area of the La Quinta Inn & Suites, which is just over the Kirkwood city limits in Sunset Hills.
The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Johnson with first-degree sexual misconduct and says it “will seek the maximum penalty,” but warned “the maximum sentence by statute for this new case is one year because the video evidence does not show contact with the victim.”
The woman who knows him said, “I think he’s going to keep doing it.”
A 2020 incident at the Kirkwood Dunkin’ Donuts, currently under renovation, led to an attempt to get Johnson mental health treatment. A court record in August 2021 reads “Stay away from Dunkin’ Donuts” and “Re-engage with BJC Behavioral Health for therapy.”
Johnson’s encounter inside the nearby T.J. Maxx would happen just five months later.
Shoppers like Alex Cook cannot imagine the challenge for businesses.
“Over and over again,” he said. “I mean, you’re trying to run your business and having someone come in there making trouble like that, it would obviously get really annoying.”
People who know Johnson hope there’s a better solution this time around.
“Get him some help,” she said. “He needs to be put away somewhere.”