Kentucky House Republican Dan Johnson, who defiantly denied allegations that he assaulted a teenage girl in the basement of his home, died in an apparent suicide on December 13, the county coroner said.
According to Bullitt County Coroner Dave Billings, Dan Johnson, 57, died of a single gunshot wound on Greenwell Ford Road in Mount Washington, Kentucky.
Dave Billings said Dan Johnson stopped his car at the end of a bridge in a secluded area, then got out and walked to the front of the car. He said an autopsy is scheduled for December 14.
“I would say it is probably suicide,” he said.
Dan 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, Dan Johnson sponsored a number of bills having to do with religious liberty and teaching the Bible in public schools.
He was mostly out of the spotlight until December 11, when the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published an account from a woman saying the pastor assaulted her in the basement of his home in 2013.
At the time, the woman told police, who investigated the incident but closed the case and did not file charges.
On December 12, Dan Johnson held a news conference in the pulpit of his church, which he began by leading friends and family in singing a portion of the Christmas carol O Come All Ye Faithful. The lawmaker said the allegations against him were “totally false” and said they were part of a nationwide strategy of defeating conservative Republicans. He referenced Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who faces assault accusations from multiple women.
On December 13, shortly before 5PM, Dan Johnson posted a message on his Facebook page that asked people to care for his wife. He wrote that PTSD “is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer. It has won this life, BUT HEAVEN IS MY HOME.” The post appears to have been removed.