Sterling firefighter charged with sexual abuse

Philip Johannsen photo from Whiteside County Jail

Philip Johannsen photo from Whiteside County Jail

A Sterling, Illinois firefighter faces criminal charges for alleged sexual abuse of a person under the age of 18.

A school resource officer learned of the sexual abuse allegation April 8, 2014 according to a statement from the Sterling Fire Department.  Because the alleged abuse involved a city firefighter, the investigation was turned over to Illinois State Police.

Philip Johannsen, 36, was charged April 6, 2014 with felony sexual abuse of a person under 18 according to Whiteside County Court records.

In addition to working as a firefighter in Sterling, Johannsen was listed as a point of contact for the International Association of Firefighters Local 2301 in Sterling.

Court records show Johannsen made his first court appearance to face the charge April 9, where he was denied his request for a public defender.  That same day, a woman was granted an emergency order of protection against Johannsen.

“The firefighter will be placed on leave pending the investigation,” said the fire department statement.

The court set Johannsen’s bond at $300,000.  Jail records showed he was still held in the Whiteside County Jail as of Monday afternoon, April 14, 2014.