Update on Esias Johnson

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As the end of the semester nears, the concerns of Marymount Manhattan students are not only surrounding finals or holiday travels. A common cause of worry regards Esias Johnson, the “person of interest” who began harassing the College the first week of October.

The concerning situation had come to a halt at the end of October when Johnson was arrested near campus in the Upper East Side. Students and professors alike took a collective sigh of relief, finally feeling as though campus life could go back to normal. 

The normalcy did not last long, however, when reports came forth of Johnson sightings around campus again the night before fall break began. 

A few days prior to these sightings, on Thursday, November 21st, students were informed that Johnson’s court case had closed, with the judges choosing to release Johnson into the custody of a residential program called CASES, where he would receive mental health counseling, employment, and housing. A renewed order of protection was issued by the court, as well as an additional “geographical restriction,” prohibiting Johnson from being within four blocks of Marymount’s main campus, as well as other Marymount-affiliated locations, such as residence halls and the Martha Graham Studios. 

This news initially concerned many students, but the email with this update sent by Campus Safety assured students that the event of Johnson returning to campus was “unlikely.” Yet, just five days later, more sightings of Johnson ensued, and several students reported harassment.

A total of six students made reports about Johnson on the evening of Tuesday, November 26th; two of these reports were reports of harassment. The initial incident shared with Marymount students in their email detailed three students encountering Johnson on the street, where he allegedly made threatening remarks against them, saying that they were “all dead.” One more report of harassment was released to students on the “Johnson Case” page on the Marymount Manhattan website the following Wednesday, citing that a student had run into Johnson on the Q train around 4:00 AM at 86th Street, where it was stopped for a period of time. Johnson allegedly made claims about “all Marymount students dying,” and reportedly began hitting the poles in the subway car with a hammer. 

Following these encounters, the College remained in close contact with the NYPD and their affiliates in an effort to find a resolution. An update was posted to the “Johnson Case” web page expressing this on December 1st, and on December 3rd, another update on the web page explained that Johnson’s case would be brought to a judge the following day.

On December 4th, Johnson’s case was heard in court, and a warrant for his arrest was issued. Finally, five days later on Monday, December 9th, Johnson was arrested once again. According to the update on the web page, the College claims that they have requested additional information on what will happen next with Johnson. In response to this, much of the Marymount community with breathe a sigh of relief once more as they head into finals week and end the semester, while others will wonder once more if they should hold their breath.