78-Year-Old Lebanon, TN Man Pleads Guilty in 40+ Year Old Rape Case

Aug 19, 2021 at 05:51 pm by WGNS

(UPDATE: LEBANON, TN) We have a powerful update to a story about a rape that happened more than 40-years ago in nearby Wilson County. WGNS brought you the first details of the case in November of 2020.

When Crista Johnston was 3-weeks-old, she was reportedly adopted by Donald Wayne Haynes in Lebanon, Tennessee. She doesn't have any childhood photos to remember the years that followed, but she has memories that she recalled as being dreadful as she grew older.

Growing up, Johnston said that she was raped by her so-called adopted father Donald Haynes, but no one believed her.

At age 13 Johnston ran-away from home, eventually finding herself with law enforcement whom she told about the sexual abuse. But, nothing happened. 

The years continued to pass and at age 20, she went back to police...

As the years rolled by, no investigation ever materialized and Johnston said that hurt...

She was told time after time that the statuate of limitations had long expired, evidently that was not true.

In 2020, An Arrest WAS MADE

Things changed when a Special Agent from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation believed her story in 2020 and took note of Johnston's past attempts to turn in Haynes.

As a lengthy investigation came to a close, Johnston received a phone call from the TBI agent she had been working with...


August of 2021 - Haynes Appeared Before the Courts

When the case hit the Wilson County Courts, Haynes was granted four continuances and allowed to reschedule once. Throughout those continuances, Johnston still held on to those memories that haunted her, some in more detail than others...

But now, she can remember the outcome of what happened when Haynes finally appeared in court. 

On August 16, 2021, Haynes appeared before Judge Michael Collins and filed a guilty plea for what happened more than 40-years ago.

Johnston told WGNS NEWS on Thursday, August 19, 2021...

“When Donald Haynes admitted his crimes and plead guilty it was extremely empowering. I feel I am paving the way with this court case win for others to find their voice and effect all of TN.”

When Haynes was arrested in 2020, he was charged with 6-counts of aggravated rape, and all the charges dated back to 1979, when Johnston was a little girl and living in the Haynes home.

Earlier this week, Haynes confessed and agreed to a plea deal. The plea was to lesser charges of attempted aggravated sexual battery. It will equal probation, but at age 78-on.

Johnston went on to state...

“Since this case had a positive outcome, now the system will find it harder to tell people that the Statute of Limitations has run out. If my win and my story can make a difference in even one persons life then I feel that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. We are changing the world. One person at a time.”


More on the Laws in the late 1970's in Tennessee...

Johnston said, "If anyone would like to reach out to me with any questions concerning this court case or if I can help at all, please let people know that they can find me on Facebook under Crista Johnston." 

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