Kentucky state Rep. Dan Johnson committed suicide Wednesday night, just one day after being accused of improper sexual relations with a 17-year-old girl. The allegations against Johnson were made by 21-year-old Maranda Elizabeth Richmond, a former friend of Johnson’s daughter Sarah, claims the assault against her took place on New Year’s Eve 2012.
Richmond would have been 17 at the time of the alleged incident.
Rep. Johnson denied all of the allegations against him at a press conference Tuesday claiming the allegations were “fake news.” Johnson said that Louisville Public Media was funded by liberal sources and working on behalf of the Democratic Party candidate Johnson defeated for his seat.
Stephen George, executive editor at Louisville Public Media whose investigative group first reported Richmond’s claims, said they stand by their story.
“There’s clearly no merit to Rep. Johnson’s claim,” said George. “This story is based on more than 100 interviews and thousands of pages of public documents — all of which is available to the public. Louisville Public Media supports this critical investigative reporting entirely.”
The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting’s website states they do not take donations from “political parties, political action committees, politicians or others whose donation may affect our independence or public perception of our operations.”
Police records show that Richmond made claims of sexual assault against Johnson in 2014 but that the case was closed due to Richmond “refuses to cooperate.” Richmond denies that she didn’t cooperate with police and wished to have the investigation re-opened against Johnson.
A search for Johnson before the discover to his body began after he posted the following on Facebook (the post has since been removed from his page):
“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. I LOVE GOD and I LOVE MY WIFE, who is the best WIFE in the world, My Love Forever! My Mom and Dad my FAMILY and all five of my kids and Nine grandchildren two in tummies and many more to come each of you or a total gift from GOD stay strong, REBECCA needs YOU. 9-11-2001 NYC/WTC, PTSD 24/7, 16 years is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer. IT Has Won This Life. BUT HEAVEN IS MY HOME. “PLEASE LISTEN CLOSELY, Only Three things I ask of you to do, if you love me is (1)blame no person,Satan is the accuser, so blame the Devil himself. (2) Forgive and Love everyone especially yourself. (3)most importantly LOVE GOD. P.S. I LOVE MY FRIENDS YOU ARE FAMILY ! GOD LOVES ALL PEOPLE NO MATTER WHAT!”
Johnson’s widow Rebecca said she will run for the seat to replace her husband.
“Dan is gone but the story of his life is far from over,” Mrs. Johnson said in a statement. “These high-tech lynchings based on lies and half-truths can’t be allowed to win the day. I’ve been fighting behind my husband for thirty years and his fight will go on.”