WDRB-TV in Louisville reported that 57-year-old Republican state Rep. from Kentucky, Dan Johnson, died on Wednesday on a bridge in Mt. Washington, according to Bullitt County Sheriff Donnie Tinnell. A gun was reportedly recovered from the scene, and a coroner ruled the death a “probable suicide.”
Just a day earlier the lawmaker was staunchly refusing to resign as he faced accusations that he’d molested a member of his church when she was 17 (an accusation he denied).
On Monday, The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published an exposé that featured the allegation that in 2013 Johnson assaulted his daughter’s friend while she was sleeping over at his house. The article claims that Johnson, “started to stroke her arm. He slid his hands up, under her shirt and bra, and groped her. He stuck his tongue in her mouth. Then, he forced his hands down her pants, underneath her underwear, and penetrated her with his finger”
KYCIR released a statement Wednesday evening in response to the news of Johnson’s death:
“All of us at Louisville Public Media are deeply sad to hear that State Representative Dan Johnson has died, apparently of suicide. We grieve for his family, friends, church community and constituents. Our Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting released a report on Johnson this week. Our aim, as always, is to provide the public with fact-based, unbiased reporting and hold public officials accountable for their actions. As part of our process, we reached out to Representative Johnson numerous times over the course of a seven-month investigation. He declined requests to talk about our findings.”
WDRB reported that Johnson posted a Facebook letter at approximately 5 PM on Wednesday, just before he died. The message reads, in part, “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.” Johnson went on to write, “Forgive and Love everyone especially yourself” and “blame no person, Satan is the accuser so blame the Devil himself.”
Johnson’s friend and occasional spokesperson David Adams said of Johnson’s passing, “The only thing I’d say is to honor his wishes and blame only Satan.”