Rape victim outraged after attacker released without notice

Dena Johnson was attacked and raped twenty four years ago by two men and both received lengthy prison sentences. But one of her attackers has been released and she was never notified as required by state law.

She's going public to try to prevent what happened to her from ever happening again. FOX4 policy is to not identify rape victims, but Johnson asked the station to for this story.

On August 22, 1992, then-18-year-old Johnson was leaving friends in Deep Ellum and had a guy walk her to her car when two men stepped out of the dark.

“They came around and they started to beat my friend over the head with a pistol and they beat him until he was out. I thought he was dead,” Johnson said.

Then they turned their attention to Dena.

“I was sexually assaulted and robbed at gunpoint but I did manage to get the gun away from them,” Johnson said.

Gentry Leonard and Jermaine Wooten were eventually caught by police and convicted for aggravated robbery and sexual assault. Wooten was sentenced to two life sentences. Leonard got 99 years for the sexual assault and 45 years for the armed robbery.

Wooten remains behind bars, but Leonard was released from prison on Nov. 17, 2015 and Johnson just found out this week.

“I happened to query the criminal justice website to find his name because I didn’t see him in there,” Johnson said. “I’m always looking up these two to make sure where they are supposed to be.”

She did find Leonard registered on the sex offender website for those out of prison.

“How did I not know? How was I not notified, because they know how to get a hold of me,” Johnson said.

Retired Judge Vic Cunningham was the prosecutor who tried the two men who raped Johnson and was stunned to hear one of the men had gotten out without anyone knowing.

“They didn’t follow their procedures,” Cunningham said. “They didn’t contact the victim.”

In an email statement, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice wrote "in order for the agency to make timely notifications there must be updated contact information on file.

Johnson said she was in the sex assault victim registry and updated her address in 2011, but the last piece of mail she got was in 2010.

April Mitchell, CEO of the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center, said the state needs to move towards a victim-centered approach

“Have an ombudsmen call those people on a regular basis and follow up with them,” Mitchell said. “Obviously that takes money and staff time.”

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