A Kentucky lawmaker and Republican representative committed suicide Wednesday, one day after he publicly denied allegations that he molested a 17-year-old girl in 2012.
Dan Johnson, 57, reportedly parked his car at a bridge in Mt. Washington, Kentucky Wednesday afternoon, then got out and shot himself. His body was later found on the bank of the river, People magazine reports.
Two days before his death, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published a report that claimed the representative groped one of his daughter’s friends at a sleepover.
The woman, now 21, said she was close with Johnson’s daughter, and considered him to be a “second dad.” Johnson, who pastored a local church, called himself the “Pope.”
The victim said she often attended parties at the “Pope’s House,” which was actually fellowship hall next to the Heart of Fire Church. There was drinking at the parties, women were dressed in risqué costumes, and people were taking body shots, according to the Washington Post.
The victim said the attack happened on the night of New Year’s Eve 2013. She awoke to Johnson allegedly kissing her forehead and slipping his hand up her shirt. She said begged him to stop, but he continued to grope her, eventually sticking his tongue in her mouth and putting his fingers in her vagina. He finally went away, but she was traumatized.
When she didn’t show up to church services the following Sunday, he allegedly messaged her on Facebook. According to the victim’s account of the message exchange, he said his daughter told him that he had apparently been “mean” to her by telling them to go to bed, but he didn’t remember because he thinks he was drugged. She replied that she never wanted to see him again. According to what she told Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, this was her reply:
“Drugged or not, I think you know what happened that night and that’s why you’re sending this message. I never thought something like that would happen to me, especially by someone like you. I looked at you as a Dad, but now I sincerely hope I don’t see you again, but I might try to maintain a relationship with your kids. And there is no point in responding to this message either because I don’t want to talk about it ever again.”
On Tuesday, Johnson gave a press conference denying the allegations. He said that the woman is close to his family, so he didn’t want to attack her in the press.
“I don’t want to blast this girl; I have a lot of compassion for her. I’m very sorrowful that she’s in this dark place in her life.”
Lawmakers from both parties were calling for his resignation after the report was published, but he announced at the press conference that he refused to do so.
The next day, Johnson, who was also a preacher, posted a suicide note on Facebook. Police were called when someone saw the note. His body was found after officers tracked his cell phone to the bridge.
“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 !”
An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday morning.
[Feature photo: Dan Johnson/Facebook]