Sex offender to remain free despite new law

Prosecutors say they won't seek involuntary commitment for a convicted sex offender who faces nearly two dozen counts of abuse in Utah but has remained free because of a legal loophole.

Prosecutors say mental health officials consider Lonnie Johnson beyond treatment, so he can't be forcibly committed. Johnson can't be prosecuted because a judge ruled he was incompetent to stand trial on the rape and sex assault charges.

He was convicted previously for rape in Washington state, but under Utah law, a judge couldn't consider that case when determining whether to keep Johnson confined, so he was freed.

Utah prosecutors had planned to seek civil commitment again under a new law that took effect Tuesday, but they now say it won't be pursued.

Johnson's family has maintained the Utah allegations are false.