The Summer of '95

A teenage girl tells police Kevin Johnson won her confidence, then took advantage of her. While her allegations are open to question, there are many questions about KJ's behavior.

It may be plausible that Johnson is naive enough to believe that being alone--dressed or undressed--in a bedroom with a teenage girl is appropriate.

But Johnson comes across at times in a transcript of the confrontation call as a man-child with confusion in his soul.

"Can I say something off the record?" Johnson asks at the start of the July 23, 1996, ambush call.

"Sure," Kim replies.
"I miss you bad. I don't like not being able to talk to you. 'Cuz when I was calling, you didn't call me back."

Kim broaches one incident she alleges occurred inside the guesthouse at Johnson's sprawling home on the side of Camelback Mountain.

"Well, I was naked and you were naked, and it wasn't a hug," Kim says.
"Well, I felt that it was, you know, a hug, and you know, I didn't, to be honest, remember if we were both naked at that time. That is the night at the guesthouse?"

"Yeah. . . ," the girl says. "Why would I be upset if it was just a hug?"
"Well, I said the hug was more intimate than it should have been. . . . But I don't believe I touched your private parts in those areas. And you did feel bad the next day and that's why we talked about it."

"Well, if it was just a hug, why were either one of us naked?"
"Again, I didn't recall us being a hundred percent naked."
Kim reminds Johnson of other alleged fondlings during the summer of '95, including a claim that she took a shower with Johnson that night in the guesthouse--an event which, during the call, Johnson never denies.

Johnson's attorneys provided New Times with the results of a polygraph test he passed last August 9, which included the question, "Did you ever engage in any sexual contact with [Kim]?" Such tests are not admissible in most courts, but the results lend credence to Johnson's denials.

Also in Johnson's favor are comments made by one of Kim's former friends--we'll call him Scott--who says she's lying and wants to ruin Johnson because he didn't spend much time with her after the summer of '95.

"She isn't a very truthful person," says Scott, a high school student who says he was one of Kim's best friends until a falling-out last year. "I've been friends with both of these people--[Kim] for a long time and Kevin for a few years. I can't say he's ever lied to me. She has."

Phoenix police sex crimes detective Art Smith asked Kim in July 1996 why she had decided to come forward.

"Because I'm concerned that I may not be the only one," Kim replies.
"Not the only one what?" Smith asks.
"Girl he's abused."
And what did she believe should happen to Kevin Johnson?

"I just want him to learn a lesson," she answers. "I'm not out to get revenge, or like I want him to spend a hundred nights in jail or anything. It's really hard for me, because I still want to think he was the good guy. . . . I could ruin his whole life, everything that he's worked for and I know that. I don't feel good about doing that."

In some ways, Kim Adams is like the many other adolescents Kevin Johnson has taken on as personal projects.

Years ago, he founded the St. Hope Academy in his native Sacramento, a program to help disadvantaged kids. Without fanfare, he started a similar, smaller program a few years ago in Phoenix.

"Nobody's perfect in this world," Johnson's longtime confidant, Fred Hiestand, says, "but I can't think of anybody who has sincerely tried to do good things more than KJ."

Hiestand says Kim's allegations have "hung over him [Johnson] like the Sword of Damocles" and that Johnson and his advisers knew her story would someday be made public.

"We figured that it was just a matter of time before some publication took the [police] report and said, 'Let's tear him [Johnson] down and show him to be a Svengali . . .' We knew it would be someone. We just didn't know who."

Johnson is renowned for his efforts to counsel troubled teens and encourage clean living. In some cases, he's taken teenage boys into his own home to help them turn around their lives.

Kim Adams was never a resident of Johnson's home, although, unquestionably, she spent time there in the summer of '95.

Kim is an only child whose father deserted her mother when Kim was 2. She's a slight, pretty girl with dark, piercing eyes and a friendly but wary manner. She's a few weeks shy of her 18th birthday, but looks younger than her age.

Although she and her mother are moderately well-to-do, Kim is staying at a Valley group home with other troubled girls. She's a senior at a Valley high school.

In the past two years, Kim has had to cope with what appears to be an uninterested mother, bouts of depression that forced her into three hospitalizations, a serious eating disorder, and, if she's telling the truth, a relationship with Kevin Johnson that could be described as bizarre.

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