Shopkeepers in the Tenderloin reportedly shielded a Japanese tourist and her 4-year-old daughter from a crazed child predator Wednesday afternoon.
After leaving their hotel about 3 p.m., authorities said, the woman and child were taunted by the man for five blocks until they sought refuge at the Star Market at Geary and Leavenworth streets. The owner of the corner store and his 17-year-old son risked their own safety to help the family, police said Thursday. The merchants reportedly brought the mother and child into a back room and confronted the man.
The suspect, who was later identified as 40-year-old Paul Donovan Johnson, is a violent parolee and convicted child sex offender, according to court records.
“He looked like a sleazebag,” said Eyad Aburahma, the shopkeeper’s teenage son.
The incident unfolded when Johnson approached the tourist and her daughter after they left their Taylor Street hotel, police said. He began yelling angrily, and even followed the frightened pair when they tried to run away.
The visitors finally ended up in Star Market, where owner Marwan Aburahma was behind the counter. Johnson followed them into the store.
“She came in pretending to buy something, but then sought help,” Eyad Aburahma said.
Marwan Aburahma reportedly asked Johnson what he wanted and got a rude response. After calling police, Eyad Aburahma said, he demanded that Johnson leave. Though defiant, Johnson realized cops were on the way and left the store.
But while outside, the shopkeepers were exposed to an unseemly sight.
“He unzipped his pants, started shaking it in front of us and he said, ‘Oh, you can have the girl,’” the teenager said. “He was referring to the little girl.”
But what Johnson allegedly uttered next was most disturbing.
“He said, ‘She’s the one who’s seducing me by squatting in her inappropriate clothes,” Eyad Aburahma said.
The teenager noted that the girl was wearing a “long dress down to her ankles.”
Johnson reportedly walked away right before police arrived, but Eyad Aburahma followed him.
“I followed him because I wasn’t going to let him just get away with that,” he said.
Eyad Aburahma flagged down responding officers, who detained Johnson. He was booked after an investigation by inspectors Bill Toomey and John Keane.
The District Attorney’s Office has charged Johnson with one misdemeanor count of indecent exposure, Assistant District Attorney Alex Bastian said. He is scheduled to be arraigned today, Bastian said.
Despite his criminal past, Johnson faces no more than six months in County Jail. In Colorado, he was previously convicted of lewd acts with a child under 15. He is currently on parole for threatening an officer while resisting arrest in San Francisco.
In California, Johnson can only be charged with a felony if he has a prior misdemeanor for that same charge, in this case indecent exposure.