Republican state Rep. Dan Johnson had allegedly assaulted a member of his church who was also a close friend of his daughter.
A Kentucky state Representative killed himself amid accusations that he had molested a 17-year-old girl.
Republican Kentucky state Rep. Dan Johnson, an evangelical preacher turned Kentucky politician, killed himself with a single gunshot to the head yesterday evening after releasing a rambling Facebook post about earlier allegations against him for sexually assaulting a member of his church, reported The New York Times.
At 4:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Johnson published a post on Facebook where he wrote, “The accusations from NPR are false GOD and only GOD knows the truth” and saying “PTSD 24/7 16 years is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer.”
After reading the post, officers at the Bullitt County Sheriff’s Department tracked Johnson and found his body on the banks of the Salt River, where he had shot himself in the head.
Johnson’s suicide follows allegations revealed by the Kentucky Center For Investigative Reporting on Monday that Johnson allegedly sexually assaulted then 17-year-old Maranda Richmond, a member of his church and close friend of his daughter.
She alleged that Johnson kissed her, fondled her under her clothes, and put his hand down her pants and penetrated her with his finger when she slept over at his house after aNew Year’s Eve party at the church in 2012.
Johnson made his way into politics after amassing a following through his Heart of Fire Church in Louisville, Ky. While there, he was the self-proclaimed “Pope” of this church, which was popular with bikers and “outcasts.”
As “Pope,” Johnson has made a number of claims that are difficult to verify and highly unlikely, such as that he helped quell the 1992 LA riots and that he “set up a morgue” in New York City in the aftermath of 9/11.
His claims of having been a preacher tending to the victims of the deadly 9/11 terror attack have been a foundational part of his political message.
However, a spokeswoman for New York City’s medical examiner’s office says that she has consulted colleagues who were at the scene of the horrifying attack, and none of them remember Johnson.
He also claimed to have been the “Chaplain to the White House” under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, despite the fact that no such position exists.
Johnson came under fire in 2016 for his racist and Islamophobic posts that he has published online. This included pictures comparing President Barack Obama to a monkey and demanding that states “ban Islam.”
Jeff Hoover, who resigned as speaker of the Kentucky House last month amid allegations of sexual harassment, tweeted his condolences to Johnson’s family saying that Johnson “reached out to me, encouraged me, and prayed for me” during “some of the darkest days” of his life.
He also seemed to lay the blame of Johnson’s death on people who had spoken of the assault allegations “as truth.”