14, December 2017
Dan Johnson, a Republican state lawmaker in Kentucky who has refused to resign after allegations that he sexually assaulted a teenage girl in his church, has apparently killed himself.
Johnson fatally shot himself on a bridge in a secluded area of Louisville in Mount Washington, Kentucky, on Wednesday night, Bullitt County sheriff Donnie Tinnell said.
The 57-year-old, who called himself “the Pope” and was pastor of the Heart of Fire Church, was elected to the state legislature in 2016.
On Tuesday, Johnson held a news conference in the pulpit of his church where he molested the 17-year-old some five years ago.
He rejected the allegations against him as “totally false” and that they were part of a nationwide strategy of defeating conservative Republicans.
On Wednesday evening, Johnson posted a message on his Facebook page and requested people to take care of his wife. He wrote that post-traumatic stress disorder “is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer. It has won this life, BUT HEAVEN IS MY HOME.”
It appears the post was later on removed.
According to court documents provided by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, the sexual assault incident happened at the Heart of Fire City Church where Johnson was a pastor on New Year’s Eve in 2012.
Johnson’s accuser told authorities that the molestation took place when she was staying in a living area of the Heart of Fire City Church, adding he had been drinking at the time.
According to the same documents, the case, however, was closed since the accuser was “very busy” and simply “didn’t have time” to cooperate.
This comes as the United States grapples with the sexual assault and harassment scandals that have left the world of entertainment, business and politics in a state of shock.
There have been numerous allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against media figures as well as senior politicians including Republican President Donald Trump himself. So far, at least 16 women have accused Trump of unwanted sexual advances, claims the White House has rejected as false.