34-Year-Old Texas Woman Arrested for Posing as High School Student

by Emily Engle

Charity Johnson was arrested on Monday, May 12, in Longview, Texas, for posing as a student at a local high school.  Johnson, despite her claims, is actually 34 years old (mistaken police records show her to be 31); she’s being charged with giving officials fake identifying information, including name and date of birth.

Johnson enrolled at New Life Christian School last October under the name “Charity Stevens,” without any prior transcripts, claiming to have previously been homeschooled.  The school fell for the ruse because Johnson was accompanied by a “guardian,” another adult who believed her story.

While working at a McDonald’s inside of a Walmart in Longview, Johnson befriended a coworker, Tamica Lincoln.  She told Lincoln that she was only 15 and then requested a place to stay.  According to Atlanta news source 11alive, Lincoln stated, “[Charity] gave me the same story [that she gave everyone] about being abused by her biological father, then he passed away and her biological mother is dead.”

Johnson rehearsed her story well; she fooled teachers, students, friends, administrators, and coworkers alike for seven months before being caught.  In fact, Lincoln so entirely believed Johnson’s story that she acted as her guardian.  According to International Business Times, Lincoln stated, “I took her in as a child, did her hair, got her clothes and shoes.” At one point, Lincoln even went to visit with Johnson’s 10th-grade teachers.

No one understands Johnson’s motives for such a stunt, including her boyfriend.  She had been dating 23-year-old Rickie Williams since last summer, when she told him she was 18.  When questioned, he stated that he had had no idea of her true identity.

Johnson’s charade finally was revealed when she tried to join a group for needy children and the leader, suspecting her of falsifying information, ran a background check.  The leader, still suspicious, then called Lincoln, who in turn called the police, requesting help removing Johnson from her home because she believed her to be lying about her age.

New Life Christian School sent home with its students notice of the incident on Thursday, May 15.

Johnson’s bail is currently set at $500.

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