A female resident of Texas, as well as the staff and students of a high school in the state, are still scratching their heads tonight over a student who was revealed to be an adult woman earlier in the week. That woman, Charity Anne Johnson, was a student at the New Life Christian School in Longview, Texas under the name “Charite (pronounced “Charity”) Stevens”. She claimed to be 15-years-old.
“She came in with a guardian,” claimed the principal of the high school, Stuart Newlin. “There was no reason to be suspicious.”
The guardian, Tamica Lincoln, is a 30-year-old shift manager at McDonald’s. Johnson worked with Lincoln as the fast food establishment and the two became close friends. Johnson relayed that she had led a hard life. She claimed to have been abused by her father and also mentioned that he had since passed away. Her mother had died as well. Feeling sorry over what she heard, Lincoln allowed Johnson to stay in her household.
“She acted like a kid,” Lincoln relayed to ABC News.
Lincoln accompanied Johnson to the high school in the east Texas town, located about 30 minutes away from Dallas. When asked for transcripts from previous schools, Johnson claimed she was home schooled and did not have records of her education up to that point.
“If they come from another school, you transfer records,” Principal Newlin stated. “If they come from home school, they don’t have those records.”
“I sympathized with her, and invited her into my home,” Lincoln said. “I took her in as a child, did her hair, got her clothes and shoes.”
For eight months, Johnson was able to fool the entire high school, as well as her guardian. She acted as any teenage girl would, had a group of good friends and even took pictures to share on social media. Her appearance was also that of a teenage girl, which played well into her scheme.She had been confusing an entire town as a common high school student, with no one privy to the truth that she was an adult woman.
The truth about Johnson began to unravel when Lincoln received a phone call from a worker at a home for needy children. Johnson had tried to join the home at some point while living with Lincoln. After running a background check, the worker could not find any information for a “Charite Stevens”. Confused, Lincoln decided to do her own investigating. She called the manager of the McDonald’s restaurant they worked at together.
“He pulled up her file and the date of birth was 1979,” she found out. “The name was Charity Johnson.”
Lincoln and Paul Ward, a mentor to “Charite” who also realized things were not adding up, spoke with authorities and went straight to the high school with his findings. The police arrived to the home on Sunday night, May 11, and relayed to Johnson that people were having issues over her identity.
Johnson handed over identification, which stated her name as “Charite Stevens” and had a birth date of November 15, 1997. She was eventually taken away and charged with giving false identification and information. As of Wednesday evening, there is still confusion over the real age of Johnson. Some outlets are reporting it as 31, while others claim she is 34. She currently sits in the Gregg County Jail on $500 bond. On Tuesday, May 13, the staff at the New Christian Life School finally discovered her information was fake. The news stunned all who knew “Charite”.
“Teachers were crying and the students were crying”, Lincoln told KLTV, an ABC affiliate in Texas. “Her best friend just couldn’t believe it.”
In a strange twist, once Lincoln shared the story on Facebook, a handful of people replied that they too were duped by Johnson. Residents from Dallas, Minnesota and Florida have all claimed to have dealt with the woman and say they want nothing more to do with her. The Dallas resident responded that Johnson had played the same trick on her brother and his wife.
Lincoln is just as confused today about the situation. Johnson, the high school student who was revealed to be an adult woman, is giving no answers about what she did or why she did it. “Why put yourself and others at risk to do something like this,” Lincoln questioned.
By Jonathan Brown