Kentucky politician takes his own life after sex assault allegation


Kentucky state Representative Dan Johnson (R-KY), who was facing sexual assault accusations, and died in a probable suicide on December 13, 2017,Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Johnson posted what appeared to be a suicide note on Facebook shortly before his death

Dan Johnson, a Republican politician in Kentucky who was accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl, has died in an apparent suicide.

Mr Johnson, 57, denied the allegation.

He died of a single gunshot wound after stopping his car in a secluded part of Mount Washington, the coroner said.

Mr Johnson was elected to the Kentucky state legislature in 2016. He won despite controversy over Facebook posts in which he compared Barack and Michelle Obama to monkeys.

Pastor at a local church, Mr Johnson sponsored a number of bills related to religious liberty and education in schools.

Then on Monday, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published a report in which a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her in his basement in 2013.

The woman reported the alleged assault at the time, but police did not pursue charges.

Preaching at his church on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said the allegations against him were “totally false”. He linked them to similar allegations against the Alabama Republican Roy Moore, who was defeated in a special Senate election that day, saying they were part of a nationwide strategy to defeat conservative Republicans.

Then shortly before 17:00 (22:00 GMT) on Wednesday, he posted a message on Facebook paying tribute to his family and saying he had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder for 16 years – “a sickness that will take my life”.

“It has won this life, BUT HEAVEN IS MY HOME.” he wrote, according to records of the post, which appears to have been removed.

Michael Skoler, president of Louisville Public Media, which owns the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, said the organisation was “deeply sad” about Mr Johnson’s death.

Kentucky governor Matt Bevin said: “Saddened to hear of tonight’s death of KY Representative Dan Johnson… My heart breaks for his family tonight”.

Jeff Hoover, the speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives, paid tribute to Mr Johnson on Twitter, saying the representative had helped him through ‘the darkest days of my life”.



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