A Kentucky Republican lawmaker who was accused of alleged sexual abuse was found shot dead of a “probable suicide. ”
Police discovered the body of Rep. Dan Johnson on a bridge Wednesday, dead from an apparent gunshot wound, after being alerted by someone concerned over the lawmaker’s Facebook post, WDRB reported.
Johnson, who had denied allegations he kissed and fondled a 17-year-old girl in 2012 when he was a pastor, wrote on his Facebook account just before 5 p.m. Wednesday:
“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 !”
Johnson reportedly drove onto the bridge in Mt. Washington, parked and then shot himself in front of his car, according to Bullitt County Sheriff Donnie Tinnell. His body was found on the bank of the river, WDRB reported.
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A little over two hours ago, this post appeared on Johnson’s Facebook page. @WDRBNews pic.twitter.com/KR7zroCxje
— Travis Ragsdale (@TravisRagsdale) December 14, 2017
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin tweeted a statement Wednesday night.
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
Johnson had not been charged criminally over the accusations, though he was under investigation. One day before allegedly taking his life, the lawmaker held a press conference to deny the claims of sexual abuse.
The incident allegedly took place in 2012 when Johnson was a pastor at at Heart of Fire City Church. On New Year’s Eve, after allegedly drinking too much alcohol, Johnson kissed and fondled a 17-year-old girl according to court documents obtained by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, which published the woman’s account on Monday.
Louisville Public Media, which owns the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, released a statement via its president, Michael Skoler, after Johnson’s death:
All of us at Louisville Public Media are deeply sad to hear that State Representative Dan Johnson has died, apparently of suicide. We grieve for his family, friends, church community and constituents.
Our Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting released a report on Johnson this week. Our aim, as always, is to provide the public with fact-based, unbiased reporting and hold public officials accountable for their actions.
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 Kentucky Speaker of the House, Jeff Hoover, who resigned last month amid sexual assault allegations, reacted to news of Johnson’s death on Twitter.
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. Prayers for his wife, children, grandchildren and all affected by this sad event.
— Jeff Hoover (@KYHoover) December 14, 2017
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
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul also reacted to the news, tweeting about the “heartbreak” Johnson’s family was facing.
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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
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