The widow of the Kentucky lawmaker who killed himself after a sexual assault allegation surfaced this week has hit out again at the character of the reporter who brought the accusations to light.
On Monday the Kentucky Center for Investigation Reporting published a story detailing allegations that Kentucky state representative Dan Johnson sexually assaulted 17-year-old Maranda Richmond in his basement on January 1, 2013.
Two days later, Johnson, who is best known for a racist comment likening Barack and Michelle Obama to monkeys, shot himself near a road in a secluded area.
Speaking on the Today Show on Friday morning, his widow Rebecca Johnson said that her husband of 30 years was the victim of biased reporting and that it lead to his death.
‘I am confident if that little greasy reporter had not done what he did, my husband would be alive right now,’ Rebecca said.
Speaking on the Today Show on Friday morning, his widow Rebecca Johnson said that her husband of 30 years was the victim of biased reporting and that it lead to his death
On Monday the Kentucky Center for Investigation Reporting published a story detailing allegations that Kentucky state representative Dan Johnson sexually assaulted 17-year-old Maranda Richmond in his basement on January 1, 2013
“I am confident if that little greasy reporter had not done what he did my husband would be alive right now.” Widow of Kentucky lawmaker who committed suicide after sexual assault allegations speaks out pic.twitter.com/GDkMeqqjTP
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 15, 2017
Scandal: Kentucky State Rep. Republican Dan Johnson (left), addresses the public from his church on Tuesday regarding allegations made by Maranda Richmond (right) claiming that he sexually assaulted her in 2013, when she was 17 years old
The 57-year-old, who was often called ‘pope,’ vehemently denied the allegations against him during a press conference on Tuesday.
‘This allegation concerning this lady, this young girl has absolutely no merit,’ he told reporters.
The 57-year-old vehemently denied the allegations against him during a press conference on Tuesday. ‘This allegation concerning this lady, this young girl has absolutely no merit,’ he told reporters
‘These are unfounded accusations totally. I don’t want to blast this girl; I have a lot of compassion for her. I’m very sorrowful that she’s in this dark place in her life.’
The chair of the state’s Republican party, though, called for Johnson’s resignation, and called the KCIR report ‘extensively sourced.’
Richmond said the married lawmaker groped her and stuck his tongue in her mouth, then put his hand down her pants and slipped it inside her vagina.
She said she begged him to stop, but Johnson kept telling her she would like it. Eventually, he left and she slipped away early that morning before he woke up.
Richmond went to the police. Records show investigators with the Louisville Metro Police Department recorded a phone call between Johnson and Richmond’s father, Clifford, in which Johnson said he ‘couldn’t imagine doing that to Maranda.’
Police documents obtained by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting show a detective closed the case because Richmond would not cooperate. Richmond denied this, saying she never once wanted to stop the investigation.
But Johnson said he would not resign and that the allegations against him were ‘totally false’ and part of a nationwide strategy of defeating conservative Republicans.
He referenced Republican Alabama US Senate candidate Roy Moore, who faces accusations of sexual misconduct from multiple women.
Officials with the KCIR said in a statement Friday that they were ‘deeply sad’ about Moore’s suicide, and that they were just attempting to ‘hold public officials accountable for their actions.’
‘As part of our process we reached out to Representative Johnson numerous times over the course of the seven-month investigation,’ Louisville Public Media President Michael Skoler said.
‘He declined requests to talk about our findings.’
But speaking on the Today Show, the grieving widow called that reaction ‘bulls***.’
‘I’m going to be nice, but that’s bulls***,’ Rebecca said.
‘These guys do not represent our values, so how could they even be fair?’
She then again slammed the molestation accusation, echoing her husband’s comment that the allegations are ‘unfounded.’
Rebecca then choked up when bringing up her family’s future without her husband.
‘My children will not have their father, my grandchildren are not going to have their grandfather,’ she said through tears.
Richmond claims that she had fallen asleep on the couch in Johnson’s basement after attending his family’s New Year’s Eve party when the alleged molestation took place. Officials with KCIR said the report came after a seven-month investigation during which they reached out to Johnson for comment
Police investigated Richmond’s claims in 2013, but eventually dropped the investigation without charging Johnson. Detectives said that she stopped cooperating with the case
But speaking on the Today Show, the grieving widow called the newspaper’s reaction to her husband’s death ‘bulls***.’ ‘I’m going to be nice, but that’s bulls***,’ Rebecca said. ‘These guys do not represent our values, so how could they even be fair?’
In a statement on Thursday, the day after Dan Johnson’s suicide, Rebecca Johnson said she has been fighting behind her husband for 30 years and ‘his fight will go on’. They are pictured together left early in their marriage
This isn’t the first time she has spoken out in the few days since her husband’s death.
On Thursday she announced she will run for his seat in the Kentucky legislature, saying he was pushed to suicide by ‘high-tech lynching mobs.’
She told the Associated Press that ‘Dan is gone, but the story of his life is far form over.
‘These high-tech lynchings based on lies and half-truths can’t be allowed to win the day.’
Earlier Thursday, a sheriff said an ominous Facebook post that Dan Johnson made at about 5pm Wednesday night is part of what prompted his family to report him missing.
In the post, he asked for people to take care of his wife and wrote that post-traumatic stress disorder ‘is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer. It has won this life, BUT HEAVEN IS MY HOME.’
He also wrote: ‘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.
The post appears to have been removed.
Bullitt County Coroner Dave Billings said Johnson died of a single gunshot wound to the head. Police recovered a .40-caliber pistol next to Johnson’s body.
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.
Prior to his death, Johnson posted this frightening message to his Facebook account, which is what prompted his family to report him missing
Johnson, pictured with his wife of 30 years, Rebecca. Both of the Johnsons have denied Richmond’s claims and called them ‘fake news’
Johnson, pictured with President Donald Trump in an undated photo, was a pastor who went by the nickname ‘Pope’. He 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
Johnson’s church is known for its ‘gun choir,’ which features Johnson (believed to be pictured with sons) and others holding guns while singing Amazing Grace
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.
But he mostly stayed out of the spotlight until the investigative story broke.
In the Kentucky statehouse scandal, former Republican Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover resigned his leadership position after acknowledging he secretly settled a sexual harassment claim with a member of his staff.
Three other lawmakers were involved in the settlement, and all lost their committee chairmanships.
‘I am very sad over the passing of Rep. Dan Johnson. Over the past few weeks in some of the darkest days of my life, he reached out to me, encouraged me, and prayed for me,’ Hoover tweeted.
Republican Gov. Matt Bevin tweeted that ‘my heart breaks for his family tonight.’
‘These are heavy days in Frankfort and in America,’ Bevin said in the post. ‘May God indeed shed his grace on us all. … We sure need it.’