Published: Thu, December 14, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Ky. State Rep. Johnson Kills Himself After Molestation Allegations

Ky. State Rep. Johnson Kills Himself After Molestation Allegations

A Kentucky lawmaker committed suicide a day after "flatly" denying reports that he molested a 17-year-old girl.

Tinnell said Johnson drove on to the bridge over the Salt River on Greenwell Ford Road in Mt. Washington, parked on the north side of it and shot himself in front of his auto.

Johnson told reporters Tuesday the accusations were "totally false".

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting alleged the molestation took place on New Year's Eve 2012. The woman, Maranda Richmond, was a member of the church, where Johnson is the pastor.

Via Twitter, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said his "heart breaks for (Johnson's) family". But leaders of the state Republican and Democratic parties had called for the representative to resign. The girl tells KyCIR he then proceeded to force himself on her, fondling her breasts and even going as far as to put his fingers into her vagina.

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Earlier Johnson, who was a Republican, grabbed the news after he likened then US President Barack Obama and the First Lady of the State Michelle Obama to monkeys on Facebook. The lawmaker is said to have driven to the bridge on the Salt River on Wednesday, December 13, and shot himself in front of his auto. He also made reference to a "season" of sexual misconduct allegations, citing similar accusations against President Trump and former (yay!) Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Johnson was never criminally charged. The victim had reportedly sent a Facebook message to Johnson saying "she sincerely hopes" that she would have to never see him again. "And there is no point in responding to this message either because I don't want to talk about it ever again".

Police documents obtained by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting show a detective closed the case because Richmond would not cooperate.

Johnson, whose press conference was widely reported by local media, also defied calls by some legislators to step down. "I don't want to blast this girl, I have a lot of compassion for her", Johnson said, according to the Courier-Journal. A grand jury indicted him for complicity to commit arson and making a false police report in 1987, according to the report, which suggests Johnson may have been linked in another arson incident 13 years later in which his own church was burned down.

He added that PTSD "24/7 16 years is a sickness that will take my life, I can not handle it any longer".

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