Foster Father Arrested On Rape Charges - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Foster Father Arrested On Rape Charges

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by Chris Cannon

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. - Allegations of rape against a Hendersonville foster father has stopped foster care placements by one of the biggest providers of that service in Tennessee.

Hendersonville police got a call from the birth mother of one of the two teenaged girls staying with 46-year-old Jemel Johnson and his wife alleging the sexual abuse.

A detective from the Hendersonville Police Department went to Johnson's home on Friday.

"He interviewed the children. After he interviewed the children, he collected some evidence from the home and then interviewed Mr. Johnson, who I think admitted to the crimes," according to Sgt. Jim Vaughn.

The children where placed in the home by Omni Visions. The private provider has 900 foster children in 550 Tennessee homes. The company has worked with the Department of Children Services since 1991. Because of this incident, a freeze has been put on future placements by Omni Visions.

"We've searched our souls here to see how we could have stopped it," said Omni Visions president Jim Henry.

Henry said the company followed all its own guidelines and state guidelines in regards to the Johnson placement.

"There are millions of things that happen before you put a child in a home. This is a terrible incident. We are flabbergasted that it happened," Henry said.

According to Henry, Omni Visions puts prospective families through three to four months of training, checks all their references, does national and state background checks and makes three to four home visits before they are approved. Johnson passed all those requirements.

"It's almost impossible to know every problem," said foster care advocate Dorsell Martinez from the Tennessee Foster and Adoptive Care Association.

Martinez does not feel the freeze DCS has put on Omni Visions will have a catastrophic impact on future foster placements in Tennessee.

"It does stand to reason there will be some impact, but I don't think enough to where the department can't move forward without making sure the children they have to take into custody will be safe," Martinez explained.

The two foster children who were staying with Johnson have been moved to another foster home.

Johnson now faces three counts of rape. A judge set his bond at $500,000 and he is in the Sumner County Jail. Johnson's first court date in January 5.

Email: ccannon@newschannel5.com

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