A Kentucky state representative has committed suicide after facing accusations of sexual assault. Republican state legislator Dan Johnson appeared at his local church on Tuesday to flatly deny the allegations that he groped and sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl in his Church basement.
During his press conference, Dan even broke into a rendition of famous hymn Amazing Grace. Johnson, a former pastor at Heart of Fire Church, was known by the nickname the “Pope.”
“There’s no perfect people,” Johnson said in his announcement. “This allegation concerning this lady, this young girl, absolutely has no merit.” He added: “I don’t want to blast this girl, I have compassion for her.”
“There’s no reason I would resign,” he concluded.
However, the events that transpired resulted in Johnson’s death on a bridge over the Salt River on Greenwell Ford Road in Mt. Washington. Authorities say he parked up on the side of the road, walked around to the front of his vehicle, and shot himself.
Johnson posted a suicide note to his Facebook page shortly before his death:
“The accusations from NPR are false GOD and only GOD knows the truth, nothing is the way they make it out to be. AMERICA will not survive this type of judge and jury fake news . Conservatives take a stand. I LOVE GOD and I LOVE MY WIFE, who is the best WIFE in the world,My Love Forever ! My Mom and Dad my FAMILY and all five of my kids and Nine grandchildren two in tummies and many more to come each of you or a total gift from GOD stay strong, REBECCA needs YOU . 9-11-2001 NYC/WTC, PTSD 24/7 16 years is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer. IT Has Won This Life . BUT HEAVEN IS MY HOME. “PLEASE LISTEN CLOSELY, Only Three things I ask of you to do,if you love me is (1)blame no person,Satan is the accuser, so blame the Devil himself. (2) Forgive and Love everyone especially yourself .(3)most importantly LOVE GOD. P.S. I LOVE MY FRIENDS YOU ARE FAMILY ! GOD LOVES ALL PEOPLE NO MATTER WHAT !”
In response to the news breaking of the allegations against Johnson, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin issued some tough words over the issue of sexual assault. “Interestingly, the very same people who will not call out people engaging in bad sexual behavior with their young employees in 2017 are now up in a tizzy about talking about things that were alleged to have happened years ago,” Bevin said in an interview with Greg Dunker on WKYX radio in Paducah, as reported by Courier Journal.
“They’re all disgusting. They’re all reprehensible, these allegations and these behaviors.”
On Monday, Mac Brown, the chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky, and the four leaders of the House Republican majority called for Johnson to resign over the allegations.
Bevin has since tweeted his condolences to the Johnson family, upon hearing the news of his suicide:
Saddened to hear of tonight’s death of KY Representative Dan Johnson…My heart breaks for his family tonight…These are heavy days in Frankfort and in America…May God indeed shed His grace on us all…We sure need it…
— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) December 14, 2017
Just terrible news from Kentucky tonight on the passing of Rep. Dan Johnson. I cannot imagine his pain or the heartbreak his family is dealing with tonight. Kelley and I pray for his loved ones.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 14, 2017
Michael Skoler, president of Louisville Public Media, which owns the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, said everyone at the organization is “deeply sad” but assured the public that they commit themselves to factual reporting.
“Our aim, as always, is to provide the public with fact-based, unbiased reporting and hold public officials accountable for their actions,” Skoler stated. “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.”
Former speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives, Jeff Hoover, who recently resigned over his own allegations of sexual assault, tweeted that Johnson had reached out and prayed for him during these “darkest days” of his life:
In America, those accused of wrongdoing are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Persons posting accusations on social media as truth, and those who are self righteous and indignant over mere accusations must do better. Personal attacks don’t have to be part of politics.
— Jeff Hoover (@KYHoover) December 14, 2017
Rep. Johnson’s family and friends have been paying tribute to a man who they knew as very different to the one who was portrayed in the media.
Sickened at people to say the least..As an administrator of my dads Facebook page I get alerted when people comment….
I know the truth. No matter how bad it gets, I won't run or hide. I'll stand behind the truth. It's pretty awful right now, but it's gunna be okay.
You, the media, saw him as just another juicy story. We, the people who truly knew him, saw him as the kindest, most…
Johnson’s wife, Rebecca, posted a tribute to her husband on Facebook: