Wednesday May 27th, 2020 5:52PM

Kentucky lawmaker facing assault allegations kills himself

By The Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Dan Johnson, a Republican state lawmaker in Kentucky known for inflammatory Facebook posts comparing Barack and Michelle Obama to monkeys and who defiantly denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a teenage girl in the basement of his home, killed himself Wednesday night. He was 57.

Bullitt County Sheriff Donnie Tinnell said Johnson shot himself on a bridge in Mount Washington, Kentucky. Tinnell confirmed the death to WDRB-TV in Louisville.

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 some of his racist Facebook posts came to light.

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 about the incident, who investigated 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 he 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.

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. "Prayers for his wife, children, grandchildren and all affected by this sad event."

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Nick Foles ready for challenge of replacing Carson Wentz
Nick Foles had tremendous success as a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 and he experienced failure as the No. 1 quarterback for the St. Louis Rams in 2015
9:21PM ( 11 minutes ago )
The Latest: Some in GOP cheered by Moore loss in Alabama
Some establishment-minded Republicans are cheering Roy Moore's loss in Alabama's Senate race
9:06PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Brunson leads No. 1 Villanova in rout of Temple
Brunson leads No. 1 Villanova to 87-67 rout of Temple
9:04PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Trump Jr. finishes 9-hour interview in Senate
Donald Trump Jr. has finished a nine-hour interview with the Senate intelligence committee, concluding his third interview on Capitol Hill as part of probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election
7:35PM ( 1 hour ago )
10 Things to Know for Thursday
Among 10 Things to Know: GOP says it's got a deal on taxes; Republicans grapple with stunning Alabama loss; Former 'Apprentice' contestant Omarosa leaving White House.
7:25PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Republicans ramp up criticism of Russia probe
House Republicans are ratcheting up criticism of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian meddling, questioning whether there was bias on his team of lawyers but stopping short of calling for his firing or resignation
7:03PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Hurricane state Republicans demand disaster aid by Christmas
Lawmakers from hard-hit states such as Florida are demanding tens of billions of dollars of hurricane relief and rebuilding funds as part of another temporary Washington spending bill to keep the government from shutting down over Christmas
7:31PM ( 2 hours ago )
Democrats see lesson from Alabama win: Compete everywhere
Democrats are celebrating an upset Senate victory in Alabama as proof of momentum heading into the 2018 midterm elections
7:19PM ( 2 hours ago )
EPA chief jets to Morocco to help promote fossil fuel use
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt flew to Morocco to help encourage the North African kingdom to import liquefied natural gas from the United States
6:24PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
In blow to May, UK lawmakers assert final say on Brexit deal
British lawmakers have dealt a blow to Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plans by giving Parliament the final say on any exit agreement the government reaches with the European Union
5:54PM ( 3 hours ago )
Republican higher education bill clears first hurdle
Republican higher education bill that eliminates key student loan subsidies and boosts for-profit colleges passes first major hurdle in House
5:17PM ( 4 hours ago )
US stocks indexes close mostly higher after Fed rate hike
The major U.S. stock indexes finished mostly higher Wednesday, with small companies notching big gains as lawmakers in the House and Senate reached a deal on a sweeping tax reform package
5:02PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Nick Foles ready for challenge of replacing Carson Wentz
Nick Foles had tremendous success as a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 and he experienced failure as the No. 1 quarterback for the St. Louis Rams in 2015
9:21PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Brunson leads No. 1 Villanova in rout of Temple
Brunson leads No. 1 Villanova to 87-67 rout of Temple
9:04PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Expecting dad stages own pregnancy photo shoot, shows belly
Expecting father shows off paternal glow with his own pregnancy photo shoot, cradling his belly; girlfriend says she 'just started laughing harder and harder'
8:50PM ( 42 minutes ago )
Study: Loss of water in drought caused Sierra Nevada to rise
NASA study says loss of water from rocks during drought caused California's Sierra Nevada to rise nearly an inch in height from October 2011 to October 2015
8:13PM ( 1 hour ago )
GOP hopes Alabama loss is wakeup call for Trump White House
GOP hopes Alabama loss is wakeup call for Trump's political team in White House
8:00PM ( 1 hour ago )