comScore

Samuel Curtis Johnson III, Wisconsin billionaire, charged with sexually assaulting a child

Family company SC Johnson has family trouble.

Family company SC Johnson has family trouble.

Samuel Curtis Johnson III, the billionaire executive whose family has owned the SC Johnson Company since the 19th century, is being charged in Wisconsin's Racine County with repeatedly sexually molesting his stepdaughter over several years.

The girl, now 15, says Johnson touched her inappropriately on 15 or 20 occasions, starting when she was in the sixth grade.

[jump]

When the girl told her mother, she confronted Johnson, who admitted to the inappropriate contact and apologized.

SC Johnson, which bills itself as "a family company" and plays up the family theme aggressively on its website, makes such products as Pledge, Draino, Raid, and Ziploc.

But the emphasis on the Johnson family legacy only goes so far--since the charges against Johnson came to light, SC Johnson has made clear that while he worked for the company in the 1980s and 1990s, he has nothing to do with it now. In recent years Johnson has served as chairman of Diversey Inc., a cleaning product company spun off by SC Johnson, but he took a leave of absence last month.

Johnson is currently free on $500,000 bail. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to 40 years in prison.