Man accused of trying to buy children denies claim

A man accused of trying to buy children with another woman at Indian Mounds Park in St. Paul is sharing his side of the story.

Thomas Lee Johnson, 60, and Carmen Moreno Santiago, 59, were both released from Ramsey County Jail on Friday. As Johnson walked out of the jail, he told FOX 9 the allegations against him are not true.

"I'm scared,” said Johnson. “I'm really scared because I'm guilty by association if something happened and I don't know if something happened. All I know is I was waiting outside the bathroom, that's it."

RECAP: Police: Pair asked to buy children from mom in St. Paul park

Johnson says he was giving Moreno Santiago, female acquaintance, a ride home from a bar on Wednesday evening when they stopped by Mounds Park, so she could have a beer and they could get to know each other. After about a half hour, Johnson says they both went to the bathroom and he waited for Moreno Santiago outside the women's room when he was done.

"What happened inside the bathroom, I was not in there it was a women's bathroom. They call me a lookout because I was with her, so I'm guilty by association, but I didn't know," said Johnson.

Johnson says Moreno Santiago came out of the bathroom and didn't say anything about allegedly asking a mother how much it would cost to buy her 1-year-old and 4-year-old children. When police showed up about 20 minutes later, Johnson said he thought they were in trouble for drinking in the park.

"I want to be vindicated,” said Johnson. “I want the witnesses to tell the truth about what happened. What I did. I never talked to any kids while I was there. I was only with her. Never talked to any kids. Never approached any kids."

As Moreno Santiago left the jail, she said Johnson is the one who got her in trouble.
Johnson said he hopes surveillance video from the park clears him of any wrongdoing.