Alabama Shakes drummer says he's innocent of abuse charge

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2018 Invision

FILE - In this Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, file photo, Steve Johnson of Alabama Shakes accepts the best American roots performance for "Killer Diller Blues" at the 60th annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden in New York. Johnson, the drummer for Grammy Award-winning rock band Alabama Shakes is in custody on child abuse charges. Johnson, 35, was arrested Wednesday, March 24, 2021, after being indicted on charges of willful torture, willful abuse and cruelly beating or otherwise willfully maltreating a child under the age of 18, news outlets reported. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

HUNTSVILLE , Ala. – The drummer for Grammy Award-winning rock band Alabama Shakes says he is innocent of child abuse charges filed against him, his lawyer said Friday.

Steven William Johnson, 35, was arrested last week after being indicted on charges of abuse of a child.

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“Steve Johnson maintains his innocence on all of these allegations. And that’s what they are, allegations,” his attorney Nick Lough told The Associated Press.

The indictment listed no particulars about the charge beyond the criminal statute definition of child abuse to “willfully torture, willfully abuse, cruelly beat or otherwise willfully maltreat” a child under the age of 18 years.

His attorneys have filed a court motion seeking more information about the accusation. Lough said they have reason to believe the charge may involve what he described as a “spanking” incident.

Court records show that in 2019 a criminal complaint was filed against Johnson accusing him of hitting his son with a belt causing bruises on his buttocks and thighs. The case was later dismissed.

The latest indictment was returned in October. However, Lough said the arrest this month came days after Johnson had his parental visitation rights restored in court.

An arraignment date is set for April 7.

Johnson previously pleaded guilty in March 2020 to violating a domestic violence protection order in Limestone County. He received a suspended sentence of a year in jail, with 24 months on probation.

The Athens, Alabama-based band has been on hiatus since 2018, when lead singer Brittany Howard decided to focus on her solo project.

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