Louisville councilman Dan Johnson apologizes after fondling allegation surfaces; will not seek re-election
A Louisville Metro Council member has agreed to issue an apology -- and will not seek re-election -- after allegations surfaced that he grabbed a colleague's rear end during a public event.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville Metro Councilman agreed to apologize, give up his seat and go into counseling after complaints of inappropriately touching a colleague's backside at a public event.
According to a statement from the Louisville Metro Council Democratic Caucus, District 21 council member Dan Johnson will serve out the rest of his term through 2018 and not seek re-election.
Last week, Metro Council woman Jessica Green said Johnson grabbed her rear end while posing for a picture for a public event at Wyandotte Park.
Green alerted Metro Council president David Yates with letter saying she was, "Caught off guard, disgusted and at a complete loss of words."
WDRB News obtained Johnson's formal letter of apology to Green. He wrote in part, "I am sorry you felt I improperly touched you inappropriately on purpose and that I was laughing when I said it was not on purpose."
Johnson said it was an accidental brush against Green's bottom but in a tweet last week joked that she violated his hand first.
"I know none of this is a laughing matter," he said in his apology.
In a statement Wednesday evening, Johnson said what's best for his constituents are "less distractions coming from City Hall":
“I have spent the last 26 years in public office as an Alderman and as a Councilman. I have had many successes for which I am proud and I am also proud of how I have been an advocate and facilitator for progress in my district. I have always tried to respond to the needs of my constituents and perhaps what is best for my constituents now are less distractions coming from City Hall. I am ready to move forward and I want to assure everyone that I understand the concerns that have been raised and I am ready to work with my colleagues and everyone on the Metro Council.”
Johnson told WDRB News the incident with Green was all a misunderstanding, but it's not the first time his conduct with women has been called into question.
In 2016, Erin Hinson, a legislative aide for Councilwoman Angela Leet said Johnson exposed his naked rear end to her in a parking lot. At the time, it was brushed off as an accident. He was also banned from all Greater Louisville Inc. events after a chamber of commerce employee said he made lewd comments during a work trip to Austin, Texas.
The resolution announced by the Democratic Caucus said Johnson has also issued an apology letter to Hinson and has agreed to "seek counseling."
Johnson would only speak to us by phone
"Councilman Johnson will not seek reelection in 2018 and will leave his seat at the end of his current term, concluding a public career which began in 1992 with service on the Louisville Board of Aldermen and which included three terms on the Louisville Metro Council," the statement from the Louisville Metro Council Democratic Caucus reads.
He also has agreed to seek counseling.
Johnson would only speak to us by phone, maintaining that he only brushed Green by mistake.
"It was an accident, and I have apologized," Johnson said.
When we asked about three incidents in succession, he hung up.
This controversy exposed another problem: Elected council members apparently are not protected by the same human resources policies as a normal city worker.
"As president of the metro council, I've created a work group to look at any deficiencies we have in our policies and procedures," Yates said. "I've asked them to immediately go through and see what policies that the metro council has that may be lacking or deficient and what authority we have to enforce that and what teeth we have to enforce."
Johnson is a founding member of the Louisville Metro Council and a former city alderman. He's been in public office for 25 years.
"I am pleased to hear that Councilman Johnson has been willing to agree to some terms ... some I think are on his own and I think that, my understanding is that Councilwoman Green is also acceptable of the result," Yates said.
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