[CONTENT WARNING: This article contains references to child sexual abuse that readers may find disturbing.]
AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — An Akron man who briefly worked in IT for Summa Health and is facing federal child pornography allegations admitted he’s sought out and shared the sexually explicit material for years, some of it involving toddler-age children and depicting bestiality.
Federal investigators allege Rudolf A. Johnson, 44, of Akron, downloaded or shared more than 86,000 suspicious files through a peer-to-peer file-sharing service between April 7, 2022, and Feb. 21, 2023, according to an affidavit filed in Ohio’s Northern District federal court.
More than 12,000 of those files were deemed “severe” and depicted prepubescent children being raped.
Investigators in February subpoenaed internet traffic records linked to Johnson’s Akron apartment. Also that month, an officer with the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force successfully downloaded more than 400 files containing child sexual abuse material while directly connected to Johnson’s computer, including about 180 videos, some of which depicted bestiality.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in March physically surveilled Johnson and confirmed his residence at the Akron apartment. They also learned that he worked as an IT professional for Summa Health of Akron.
Authorities executed a search warrant at Johnson’s home on April 6, where he told investigators he’s lived alone for 10 years while working as an IT customer support person for the health system.
Summa Health spokesperson Mike Bernstein issued a statement to FOX 8 News on Friday:
We were made aware of the investigation involving Mr. Johnson approximately two weeks after his employment began in late March of this year. Given the serious nature of the allegations, he was immediately suspended and has not returned to work since. At no time did Mr. Johnson work remotely for us or have access to company equipment outside of the office. Because of his brief employment with us, we have no additional information.Mike Bernstein, Summa Health system director, corporate communications
Johnson admitted to investigators that he actively seeks out child pornography — despite admitting he knows it “is wrong” — but he denied committing any “hands-on offenses,” reads the affidavit.
When asked by investigators how often he shares pornographic images and videos of children younger than 12, he replied: “Unfortunately, they are getting distributed from my computer at this moment.”
Investigators found more pornographic material on the desktop computer at Johnson’s home. But Johnson said many of the other computers found in the home belong to clients with whom he contracts as an IT professional.
Investigators met with one of those business clients on Wednesday, April 12, and found computers connected to the business’ internet address had downloaded more than 60,000 illegal files since May, including some 400 files on the day of the interview. The business owner told investigators she had for years contracted with Johnson to manage and maintain her business’ network. Johnson would often log in remotely or take computers home to repair them, she said.
Johnson is charged by complaint with receiving and distributing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, which carries a maximum 15-year sentence for the first three offenses, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
He was remanded to the custody of U.S. Marshals, pending a detention hearing set for 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 20, in Akron’s federal court.