PITTSBURGH — On Friday morning, Pitt freshman guard Dior Johnson plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges of the second degree and was sentenced to one year of probation for his involvement in a domestic abuse incident in September.
“Judge [Jill] Rangos has a reputation for being firm and fair and I think she was both today,” Johnson’s attorney, Robert Delgreco said. “I think the one-year probation is a fair sentence, the conditions were standard with either batterers’ intervention or the equivalent. Of course, he is supposed to have no contact with her [victim], nor has he had contact with her. Hopefully, the University of Pittsburgh considers removing the persona non grata aspect, hopefully he can participate in the sport that he identifies with, loves, and essentially, is all about, and moves on. I’m hoping for an uneventful probation for him.”
Johnson expressed his apologies towards the victim (who was not in attendance) and the judge for the behavior that he plead guilty for and expressed his regret for the situation. Johnson’s charge of strangulation was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. He also plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge of simple assault.
The court ruled that Johnson may not come into contact with the victim directly or indirectly, including on social media.
Johnson has been receiving mental health counseling from UPMC’s Tim Wimbush over the past few months (eight sessions), and the court ordered that he must either participate in a batterers’ intervention program or continue receiving counseling from Wimbush if Wimbush is able to certify that he can provide equivalent treatments to the batterers’ intervention standards.
The judge also clarified that if Johnson travels home to his family in Los Angeles for the holidays, he will be on house arrest while there. He will have to provide photos proving that he is with his family and not leaving his home once he is in California.
Johnson, the highest-rated recruit in Jeff Capel’s tenure as head coach at Pitt, is currently indefinitely suspended from the Pitt men’s basketball program.
“My understanding of the policy is an individual who is either charged with a felony or is convicted of a felony is, per se, ineligible to be on campus or to participate in those kind of matters,” Delgreco said. “He has now been convicted of two misdemeanors, which I think removes the blanket prohibition. Whether or not the dean of student affairs, the athletic director, or the coach, in consideration of what happened today, might revise their prohibitions — I don’t know. I have not been in touch with any of those. I am going to urge him to see if he can have those people revisit the prohibition in light of what happened today.”
Johnson was arrested in early October for the incident that occurred in early September. Johnson was suspended shortly after his arrest, and has yet to appear in a single game for the Panthers.
The decision to reinstate Johnson now falls on the school board and the university athletic department. If he is reinstated, Delgreco would have to file a petition to request for a travel permit for Johnson to travel with the team while on probation.
”I’m hoping there is some allowance for some redemption and restoration for him,” Delgreco added.
At his preliminary hearing on Oct. 20, one charge of simple assault (misdemeanor) and one charge of strangulation (felony) were held against Johnson. Four of the initial charges were dropped that day.
The incident occurred in his off-campus apartment in Pittsburgh. Pitt’s basketball team is currently 6-4 on the season and takes on Sacred Heart at home on Saturday afternoon.