Tom johnston meteorologist

Tom johnston meteorologist DEFAULT
Tom Johnston, TJ Thunder, meteorologist, suicide, sexual assault, rape, WCSH

Tom Johnston (screenshot from Twitter)

A sheriff’s office in Maine announced on May 4 that a TV news meteorologist who committed suicide in April had been the only suspect in a sexual assault case, and would have been charged had he not died. Here’s five facts you need to know about Tom Johnston:

1. He Committed Suicide Only a Day or Two After Allegedly Raping a Woman

Tom Johnston, sexual assault, suicide, rapist, meteorologist

Tom Johnston and his dog, “Emma Thunder” (screenshot from Facebook)

This is the apparent timeline of the last days of Tom Johnston’s life: on April 1, according to, he was a celebrity judge at a margarita mix-off held at the Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, Maine.

On April 2, according to CBS News’ Boston affiliate, police in Newry received a report of a sexual assault that occurred the night before. Sheriff Wayne Gallant said in a news conference on May 4 that “plenty of witnesses” confirmed Johnston was there.

Johnston’s victim, whose name is being withheld, told police that she spent April 1 drinking alcohol with some friends at the margarita mix-off, before returning to a house where she lay down to sleep. Some time later, she awoke to find a man in bed with her. According to police reports, she recognized the man as Tom Johnston, meteorologist for Channel 6 News. The Bangor Daily News added that, according to Sheriff Gallant, several other people in the house confronted Johnston, who “hastily left the place.” However, this information was not made public at the time.

On April 3, according to the Bangor Daily News, Johnston’s girlfriend reported him missing. On April 6, police found his body in Auburn, Maine. Johnston had cut his wrists, and died of a combination of blood loss and hypothermia.

2. He Left One Former Job After Allegedly Assaulting A Colleague

Before moving to Maine, Johnston spent three years as the morning weather anchor for Action News in Jacksonville, Florida.

On July 19, 2005, (a website covering news in south Florida) reported that Johnston had been fired for starting a fight with another weatherman: “7 News Meteorologist Tom Johnston was fired late yesterday following a physical fight with fellow weatherman Jonathan Novack in the weather office, according to some very close sources. Apparently the two went at it over vacation days and Tom grabbed Jonathan by the neck. Tom was fired, his bio removed from the website last night.”

In 2010, Novack went on to achieve a mild degree of celebrity as “The Weatherman,” a contestant on The Bachelorette. As for Johnston, the Portland Press-Herald says that he was a meteorologist in Florida’s Fort Myers-Naples market starting in 2006, and moved to Maine in 2014.

On February 20 of this year, Johnston’s Facebook post showed a photo of a “Diploma” certifying that “Thomas Johnston successfully completed Harassment: Maintaining a Respectful Workplace.”

3. He Didn’t Delete His Social Media Accounts Before His Suicide

As of May 4, Johnston’s Twitter account and Facebook page were both still up, though neither had been updated since April 1. His alliterative Twitter bio (with the handle @tjthunder) says he is a “Meteorology maniac mostly monitoring media mentions. Moreover, my multimedia mundo makes me more marvelous!”

On Facebook, he went by “Meteorologist Tom Johnston,” with the motto “The Thunder rolls” (an obvious reference to his “T. J. Thunder” nickname). Both accounts primarily show the sort of tweets and posts to be expected from a TV weatherman — his last Facebook post shows screenshots of two different weather-forecast models for his region of Maine, plus his comment “In contrast to how this one played out, the GFS & EURO models on same page for Tue./Wed. storm. What, too soon? There will be a question of precipitation type. So there’s that.”

His Twitter feed is topped by a pinned tweet from September 2016, showing a video clip of himself under the caption “I’m not from Maine, but I got here as soon as I could.”

4. He Left Behind A Girlfriend and Three Children

Tom Johnston, rape, sexual assault, suicide, meteorologist

Tom Johnston’s public announcement of the birth of his youngest son. (Screenshot from Facebook) reports that Johnston’s immediate family consisted of a girlfriend and three children.

His youngest child is a little boy presumably born in January; on January 13, Johnston posted on Facebook three photos of a newborn under the caption “He’s a Mainer! ⚡️Like a lil’ lightning bolt!⚡️
10 fingers, 10 toes, & a couple weeks off for daddy. ? See you soon, friends!”

On April 12, after Johnston’s suicide but before the public (or, presumably, his family) knew about his alleged criminal actions which presumably inspired it, published a statement released by Johnston’s family, which said in part that:

We think its mostly important for you all to know that the person you saw on TV was the same person we were so lucky to know in our daily lives. He lit up the room the same way he lit up your forecast. Tom had an undeniable charisma and so much enthusiasm that extended beyond the weather.

He was a people person and everyone loved being around him because his energy and carefree spirit was contagious. He lived life to the fullest and jumped at any opportunity to spend time with family and loved ones. It wasn’t uncommon for him to surprise us at family gatherings, and most often he would, making the event more memorable.

Those memories that we have and those moments you’ve shared with him on your TV will continue to “Thunder” and shine in our hearts.”

5. Rumors of Johnston’s Alleged Criminality Swirled Shortly After His Suicide

On April 19, the Portland Press-Herald ran a story headlined “Advocacy groups link suicide of Maine weatherman to sex assault.” However, the story also noted that the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office would not say if Johnston was a suspect.

The Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Maine’s National Alliance on Mental Illness had issued a joint statement saying that Johnston was “being investigated for a reported sexual assault,” based on “information reported in the media.”

The two groups also based their suspicion on details in the original police reports regarding the sexual assault in Newry: basically, that the still-unnamed suspect was later reported missing, and the only missing-persons report from Oxford County at that time was Tom Johnston’s.

Cara Courchesne, communications director at the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said in a statement released earlier this month that “It’s important for victims of sexual violence to know that someone else’s violent actions or suicide is not their fault, and that help is available.”


Thomas TJ Thunder Johnston

Obituary of Thomas TJ Thunder Johnston

Play Tribute Movie

Auburn Thomas Johnston “TJ Thunder” 46, of Auburn died Thursday April 6, 2017. He was born in Media, Pennsylvania on November 11, 1970 son of Kenneth and Jean (Campitelli) Johnston. He attended Rutgers University where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Atmospheric Sciences with a focus on Meteorology. He then went on to Mississippi State University, where the Broadcast Meteorology program was started, and he earned his Master of Science degree. He holds the highest accreditation in the AMS as a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist.

Tom's love for weather started as a young child, instead of watching cartoons and kid shows he watched the weather channel. He was fascinated with the weather and his success in his formal education led him to be a successful weather anchor in television stations across the south and southwest before he moved to Maine and started with WCSH Channel 6. While in Florida he received The Best Weather Awards in 2007 & 2008 from the Florida Associated Press. Tom also loved the outdoors hot or cold, rainy or snow it didn’t matter he just loved being in the outdoors. He enjoyed surfing, running, golfing, snowboarding, and volunteering his time especially helping raise money for cancer prevention, but most of all loved spending time with his family.

He will be missed by so many lives that he touched. He is survived by his mother Jean Campitelli of NJ, his three children Giana Grace, Broderick Ocean and Finnley Christian, his sister Deneen Morrotta of Auburn and her children Dana Drabold and her husband Kurt and their children Savanna and Troy, Kristen Morrotta and her daughter Peyton, Erika Morrotta, Stephanie Roy and husband Ryan and Kyle Herald, a brother Ken Johnston and wife Maria of NJ and their children Adriana and Kenny, and his companion Loubna “Elle” Ousfar of Old Orchard. He was predeceased by his father Kenneth Johnston. To pay tribute to Tom’s life please visit his guest book at

Visitation Fortin Group Auburn Wednesday April 12 from 4-7 PM, with Words of Remembrance at 7 PM. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Tom’s memory to his children at TD Bank C/O Deneen Morrotta 600 Center St. Auburn, Me 04210. Funeral service and committal will be held later at The Englewood Cemetery in Englewood, New Jersey. Arrangements are under the care of The Fortin Group/Plummer & Merrill Funeral Home, Cremation & Monument Services 217 St. Auburn ME 207 783-8545.

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  • Visitation

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    Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Thomas TJ Thunder Johnston

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SOUTH PARIS, Maine — Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant said Thursday that former WCSH-TV meteorologist Tom Johnston was the “one and only suspect” in an alleged gross sexual assault a month ago near Sunday River ski resort in Newry.

Johnston, 46, of Old Orchard Beach, was found dead by apparent suicide five days later in Auburn.

Gallant said that based on reports from the alleged victim, witnesses and informants — who will remain anonymous — police are confident they have solved the case.

According to a heavily redacted police report released following a news conference Thursday, the alleged victim, an adult woman, went with a group of people to the annual Spring Festival at Sunday River ski resort on Saturday, April 1, where Johnston served as master of ceremonies.

The alleged victim said she consumed alcoholic beverages at the party-like event, also known as Parrothead Weekend, before returning to a home outside Sunday River to rest.

She told police that after lying down, she was startled by someone entering the room. She then awoke to discover a man she identified as Johnston in her bed.

Gallant said detectives aren’t sure whether the two knew each other prior to meeting at the event.

Others at the home confronted Johnston, who “hastily left the place,” Gallant said.

The woman and a friend then went to the friend’s Bridgton home. The next morning, a Sunday, she reported the assault and was treated at Bridgton Hospital.

Johnston was reported missing by his girlfriend early Monday morning when he didn’t return home to Old Orchard Beach.

Gallant said he likely knew he was a suspect.

According to a detective’s report, employees of a Newry restaurant told deputies that Johnston stopped there the night of the assault to eat.

“While there he had some food and performed a weather skit for one of the patrons,” the detective wrote. “This skit was recorded and forwarded to myself.”

Detectives later received a call from a store in Mechanic Falls that reported Johnston had purchased razor blades there on Sunday.

Police said that when Johnston didn’t report to WCSH for work as scheduled at 3 p.m. that Monday, they “pinged” his cellphone and found that he was in Auburn.

Gallant said police did not publicize him as a missing person “because we didn’t feel the public was in danger.”

His body was found that Thursday in Auburn. Police said he apparently cut his wrists, became unconscious from blood loss and died from hypothermia.

Results from DNA samples taken from the alleged victim and from Johnston have not yet been processed, but detectives said following the news conference that the case would not have relied on them.

Gallant said Johnston would have been charged with Class B felony gross sexual assault, but detectives declined to elaborate on the alleged assault.

Johnston had worked as a meteorologist at WCSH for three years.

Speculation about his involvement in an alleged sexual assault emerged in the days following his death, but Thursday’s news conference was the first time law enforcement authorities confirmed he had been a suspect.

Following Thursday’s news conference, WCSH President and General Manager Brian Cliffe wrote on the station’s Facebook page, “We are disturbed to learn this troubling information. We began covering Tom’s disappearance in early April. During today’s Oxford County Sheriff’s Office’s news conference, we learned for the first time with everyone else that Tom would have been charged in a Class B gross sexual assault that happened on April 1, if he was still alive. We share in the community’s shock and our thoughts are with the victim and the families involved.”

Advocates said the case elevates concerns about impacts on survivors of sexual assault and those affected by suicide.

“The case is devastating and the repercussions may resonate throughout the communities impacted for some time,” Cara Courchesne, communications director at the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said earlier this month in a release. She added that suicide and sexual violence both result in serious trauma, which is more immediate and serious when the two coincide.

“It’s important for victims of sexual violence to know that someone else’s violent actions or suicide is not their fault, and that help is available,” Courchesne said.

To reach a sexual assault advocate, call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Line at 800-871-7741, TTY 888-458-5599. This free and confidential 24-hour service is accessible from anywhere in Maine. Calls are automatically routed to the closest sexual violence service provider.

To reach a suicide prevention hotline, call 888-568-1112 or 800-273-TALK (8255), or visit

More articles from the BDN

Meteorologist Tom Johnston

Cops: Former Jacksonville TV weatherman Tom Johnston, who killed self, was suspect in rape case

SOUTH PARIS, Maine — A Maine sheriff says a TV weatherman who took his life was the sole suspect in a rape reported days earlier.

Officials say the assault happened hours after Tom Johnston served as a celebrity judge at a margarita mix-off, part of Springfest at the Sunday River ski resort April 1.

The WCSH-TV employee was reported missing April 3 by his girlfriend. His body was found days later. An autopsy indicates the 46-year-old cut himself and died from hypothermia.

Johnston previously worked at Jacksonville’s Action News for three years as morning weather anchor.

Oxford County’s sheriff said Thursday that evidence would have supported a charge of gross sexual assault. Police say the accuser reported the rape April 2 and said she’d been drinking and woke up with Johnston, whom she didn’t know.

WCSH-TV’s president and general manager said Thursday: "We share in the community’s shock."


Johnston meteorologist tom

Remembering former Action News Jax meteorologist Tom Johnston

Action News Jax and the Jacksonville community are remembering Tom Johnston, our former morning meteorologist.

Johnston, 46, was a talented, funny, upbeat guy who was a part of our morning news team for several years.

Photos: Remembering Tom Johnston

He was working as a meteorologist at WCSH in Portland, Maine after his time in Jacksonville.

Police in Auburn, Maine were searching for him after he was reported missing Monday.

Police said he left his Old Orchard Beach home early Saturday morning to attend a function at Sunday River Ski Resort.

A missing person report was filed after he never returned home from the trip.

His body was found Thursday and police said they are investigating his death as a suicide.

Many Action News Jax team members and viewers are sharing their fond memories of Johnston.

Viewers say they loved his jokes and he made weather fun.

Share your memories of him with us on Facebook.

Cox Media Group

Meteorologist Tom Johnston

Maine TV Meteorologist Who Died By Suicide Was Suspect In Sexual Assault

NEWRY, Maine (CBS) – Authorities in Maine say a popular TV meteorologist who died by suicide last month was the “one and only suspect” in a sexual assault.

WCSH meteorologist Tom Johnston, 46, was reported missing on April 3. His body was found April 6 in Auburn, and police said the cause of death was suicide.

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On April 2, police received a report of a sexual assault that occurred the night before in Newry. Sheriff Wayne Gallant said in a news conference Thursday that “plenty of witnesses” confirm Johnston was there, and he would have been charged had he not killed himself.

“The one and only suspect who was identified through victim and witnesses’ information was Thomas Johnston,” Gallant said. “Our investigation shows that Johnston was at the residence and was identified during the commission of the sexual assault.”

Johnston left before deputies arrived on the scene and was later reported missing.

A police report stated that the female victim was at the Sunday River ski resort with friends before the assault occurred. They were drinking alcohol and returned to a house where she laid down to get rest, according to the report.

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The victim told police she later woke up to find a man under the covers in her bed.

“She knew the man to be the meteorologist from Channel 6 news, Thomas Johnston,” the report stated.

The investigation is now closed, Gallant said.

The Portland TV station shared the following statement on its website Thursday afternoon:

“We are disturbed to learn this troubling information. We began covering Tom’s disappearance in early April. During today’s Oxford County Sheriff’s Office’s news conference, we learned for the first time with everyone else that Tom would have been charged in a Class B gross sexual assault that happened on April 1, if he was still alive. We share in the community’s shock and our thoughts are with the victim and the families involved.”

MORE NEWS: Lawrence Teachers Will Rally Before School In Response To Increased Fighting

— Brian Cliffe, WCSH President & General Manager


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