NBC News reports:
Dan Johnson, a Republican state lawmaker in Kentucky who defiantly denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a teenage girl in the basement of his home, died in an apparent suicide Wednesday night, the county coroner said. He was 57.
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 local media reported on some of his Facebook posts comparing Barack and Michelle Obama to monkeys. 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.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports:
The Republican Party of Kentucky and leaders of the House Republican Caucus called for Johnson to step down Monday after the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published a lengthy article saying that Johnson allegedly forcibly kissed, groped and used his finger to penetrate a 17-year-old girl, despite her asking him to stop, on New Year’s Eve 2012.
In a Facebook post that has since been deleted but was posted before his death, Johnson said “The accusations from NPR are false GOD and only GOD knows the truth, nothing is the way they make it out to be.”
Johnson went on to say PTSD is a sickness “that will take my life,” asked for everyone to “Forgive and Love everyone especially yourself” and “blame no person, Satan is the accuser so blame the Devil himself.”
On Tuesday, Johnson sang a Christmas carol before issuing his vehement denial of the accusations.