Ky. lawmaker accused of assault dies in apparent suicide





FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Dan Johnson, a Republican state lawmaker in Kentucky who defiantly denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a teenage girl in the basement of his home, died in an apparent suicide Wednesday night, the county coroner said. He was 57.

Bullitt County Coroner Dave Billings said Johnson died of a single gunshot wound on Greenwell Ford Road in Mount Washington, Kentucky. Billings said Johnson stopped his car at the end of a bridge in a secluded area, then got out and walked to the front of the car. He said an autopsy is scheduled for Thursday morning.

"I would say it is probably suicide," he said.

Johnson was elected to the state legislature in 2016, part of a wave of Republican victories that gave the GOP control of the Kentucky House of Representatives for the first time in nearly 100 years. He won his election despite Republican leaders urging him to drop out of the race after local media reported on some of his Facebook posts comparing Barack and Michelle Obama to monkeys.

The pastor of Heart of Fire church in Louisville, Johnson sponsored a number of bills having to do with religious liberty and teaching the Bible in public schools. But he was mostly out of the spotlight until Monday, when the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published an account from a woman saying Johnson sexually assaulted her in the basement of his home in 2013.

At the time, the woman told police, who investigated the incident but closed the case and did not file charges.

On Tuesday, Johnson held a news conference in the pulpit of his church, which he began by leading friends and family in singing a portion of the Christmas carol "O Come All Ye Faithful." He said the allegations against him were "totally false" and said they were part of a nationwide strategy of defeating conservative Republicans. He referenced Republican Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, who faces accusations of sexual misconduct from multiple women.

Shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday, Johnson posted a message on his Facebook page that asked people to care for his wife. He wrote that PTSD "is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer. It has won this life, BUT HEAVEN IS MY HOME." The post appears to have been removed.

Michael Skoler, president of Louisville Public Media, which owns the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, said everyone at the organization is "deeply sad."

"Our aim, as always, is to provide the public with fact-based, unbiased reporting and hold public officials accountable for their actions," Skoler said. "As part of our process, we reached out to Representative Johnson numerous times over the course of a seven-month investigation. He declined requests to talk about our findings."

The sexual assault accusations against Johnson were revealed as a sexual harassment scandal involving four other Republican lawmakers was unfolding at the state Capitol. Former Republican House Speaker Jeff Hoover resigned his leadership position after acknowledging he secretly settled a sexual harassment claim with a member of his staff. Three other lawmakers were involved in the settlement, and all lost their committee chairmanships.

"I am very sad over the passing of Rep. Dan Johnson. Over the past few weeks in some of the darkest days of my life, he reached out to me, encouraged me, and prayed for me," Hoover posted on his Twitter account Wednesday night.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin posted on his Twitter account that "my heart breaks for his family tonight."

"These are heavy days in Frankfort and in America," Bevin posted. "May God indeed shed His grace on us all. ... We sure need it."

COMMENTS

More Related News

Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial goes to the jury
  • US
  • 2018-04-25 10:03:06Z

A Pennsylvania jury of seven men and five women was due to begin deliberations on Wednesday to decide whether to convict comedian and actor Bill Cosby of sexual assault, attempting to reach a verdict where a previous jury was hopelessly deadlocked. Cosby, 80, the once-beloved comedian and TV dad who won over America on "The Cosby Show" in the 1980s, is on trial on three counts of aggravated indecent assault of Andrea Constand, 45, at his home outside Philadelphia in January 2004. Starting Wednesday, they will receive instructions from Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill and begin their deliberations.

Closing arguments to begin in Cosby
Closing arguments to begin in Cosby's sexual assault trial
  • US
  • 2018-04-24 10:55:24Z

The prosecution and Bill Cosby's defense team are expected to begin closing arguments on Tuesday in the retrial of the entertainer, who is accused of drugging and raping a one-time friend more than a decade ago. Cosby, 80, faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault of Andrea Constand, 45, a former administrator of the Temple University women's basketball team, at his Philadelphia home in January 2004. Cosby, who declined to testify on his own behalf on Monday, has denied wrongdoing, saying any sexual contact he had was consensual.

Report: Quade Green returning to Kentucky
Report: Quade Green returning to Kentucky

Point guard set to return for sophomore season

No testimony from Cosby as defense rests in Pennsylvania sexual assault trial
No testimony from Cosby as defense rests in Pennsylvania sexual assault trial

Bill Cosby's lawyers rested their case on Monday in his retrial on sexual assault charges, with the comedian declining to testify in his own defense against a one-time friend's accusations that he drugged and raped her in 2004. "No, your honor," Cosby said in a clear voice, seated with his lawyers in Montgomery County Courthouse outside Philadelphia. Cosby, 80, faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault of Andrea Constand, 45, a former administrator of the Temple University women's basketball team, at his Philadelphia home in January 2004.

Why a Kentucky Dad Is Keeping His AR-15 After His Daughter Was Wounded in a School Shooting
Why a Kentucky Dad Is Keeping His AR-15 After His Daughter Was Wounded in a School Shooting

Dysinger owns an AR-15 military-style rifle - the same weapon used in the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting on Feb. 14. After his 15-year-old daughter Hannah was shot in the arm and chest at Marshall County High, anger raged inside him.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Economy

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.