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SC Johnson family member charged with sex assault of child

By John Rondy

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Samuel Curtis Johnson III, a billionaire member of the family that runs the SC Johnson & Son household products company, has been charged with repeated sexual assault of a child, officials said on Friday.

The child is now 15, and the alleged assault went on for "several years," according to Racine County District Attorney Michael Nieskes.

In the criminal complaint, the victim identified her abuser as her stepfather, Nieskes said.

Johnson, 55, of Racine, Wisc., has been released on a $500,000 bond. A hearing was to be held in Racine on Friday to determine whether certain redacted portions of the criminal complaint will be made public, Nieskes said.

The charge involves 10 to 15 separate incidents. If convicted, Johnson could serve up to 40 years in prison.

"Obviously, this is a personal matter for Curt, but allegations of this type are always deeply disturbing," said Harlan Loeb, spokesman for the Johnson family. "The family is distraught and hopes for the best for everyone involved."

Kelly Samrau, a spokeswoman for SC Johnson, the privately held Racine, Wisc.-based maker of household products such as Raid bug sprays and Windex cleaner, said the case has no bearing on SC Johnson.

Johnson had been chairman of Diversey, Inc., a Wisconsin cleaning product company also controlled by the Johnson family, but took a leave of absence February 21, according to a statement from Diversey.

(Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Reporting by John Rondy; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)

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