A Maine weatherman who killed himself last month was the only suspect in a sexual assault that occurred shortly before his death, authorities announced Thursday.
If he were alive today, Tom Johnston, 46, would have been charged with a Class B gross sexual assault that occurred on April 1, Oxford County Sherriff Wayne Gallant said at a press conference following the completion of the department’s investigation.
The victim told police that she had been at Sunday River in Newry for the Spring Festival with friends, when she and a few others decided to go back to a nearby house, according to a criminal investigation report by the Oxford County Sherriff’s Office.
She went to a bedroom to take a nap and she was later awoken by someone in the bed at about 8:30 p.m., the report said.
She also realized she was not wearing any clothes.
Another person at the house came into the room, and both that person and the victim saw Johnston was in the bed, officials said.
After being found out, Johnston quickly got dressed, ran out of the room and to his car, police said.
The woman and a friend went to a nearby hospital, where they reported the sexual assault at about 1:25 a.m. on Sunday, April 2.
She told police that she recognized Johnston as “the meteorologist from Channel 6 news,” the report said.
Johnston, who worked as a meteorologist at WCSH-TV for the last three years, had emceed an event that Saturday at Sunday River Ski Resort, officials said.
After fleeing the home, he went to a restaurant where he had food and “performed a weather skit for one of the patrons,” police said.
After failing to return home or showing up to work on Monday, April 3, Johnston’s girlfriend reported him missing in Old Orchard Beach, officials said.
His body was found three days later in a wooded area in Auburn.
Johnston had died from exposure to the elements after cutting both his arms, the medical examiner said.
Gallant told reporters Thursday that officials did not release an alert about the sexual assault because they believed it was an isolated incident and that the public was not at risk.
There are no other suspects in the sexual assault, Gallant said.
The results of DNA evidence have not yet been revealed.
Johnston’s employer, NEWS CENTER, had no knowledge of the investigation as it was conducted, Gallant said.
In covering the breaking news, NEWS CENTER anchor Cindy Williams said: “This is a very difficult story for us to report. His suicide came as a real shock to us. These charges do as well."
In a statement, Brian Cliffe, president and general manager of WCSH-TV, said: “We are disturbed to learn this troubling information. We began covering Tom’s disappearance in early April. During today’s Oxford County Sheriff’s Office’s news conference, we learned for the first time with everyone else that Tom would have been charged in a Class B gross sexual assault that happened on April 1, if he was still alive. We share in the community’s shock and our thoughts are with the victim and the families involved.”