Republican and Democratic leadership call on state Rep. Dan John - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Republican and Democratic leadership call on state Rep. Dan Johnson to resign after molestation allegation

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Image from Dan Johnson's Facebook page Image from Dan Johnson's Facebook page
Image from Dan Johnson's Facebook page Image from Dan Johnson's Facebook page
Image from Dan Johnson's Facebook page Image from Dan Johnson's Facebook page

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky is calling on State Representative Dan Johnson to resign after a report emerged accusing him of sexually molesting a 17-year-old girl in a church basement in 2012.

The report by journalists R.G. Dunlop and Jacob Ryan appeared on the website for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting on Monday.

According to court documents posted by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, the molestation took place on New Year's Eve in 2012. The alleged victim, who was 17 at the time, told authorities that she was staying in a living area of the Heart of Fire City Church where Johnson was pastor, when Johnson, who had been drinking a lot, approached her, kissed her and fondled her under her clothes. 

According to the same court documents, the case was eventually closed, due to the alleged victim's refusal to cooperate as she was "very busy" during her senior year of high school and "just didn't have time."

Johnson was never criminally charged. WDRB reached out to him for his response to these reports Monday afternoon. At the time of this writing, he has not responded.

Shortly after the report was issued, Mac Brown, the chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky, issued the following statement.

"Last October, after local media reports about reprehensible and racist posts on his Facebook page, we asked then-candidate Dan Johnson to drop out of the race for State Representative," Brown said in the statement. "Following today's extensively sourced and documented story from the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, we once again find ourselves in a position where we must call for him to resign, this time, from the Kentucky General Assembly."

Leadership from the other side of the aisle was also quick to react to the new allegations. The House Democratic Leadership, consisting of House Democratic Leader Rocky Adkins, House Democratic Caucus Chair Dennis Keene and House Democratic Whip Wilson Stone, issued the below statement:

"The allegations of felony sexual abuse and other crimes against Rep. Dan Johnson are deeply troubling and demand his resignation from the House of Representatives," the statement read. "All of his unlawful acts should be investigated to the fullest extent, but we particularly urge the appropriate law enforcement agencies to carefully re-examine accusations of sexual misconduct so that justice is secured for his alleged victim."

It's not the first time Johnson has courted controversy.

Last year, Johnson was elected to the state House of Representatives seat in the 49th District, winning the seat of incumbent Linda Belcher. He made headlines during the campaign, when WDRB News confronted him about a number of images posted or shared on his Facebook page, that many considered to be racist. Those images included a photo of a chimpanzee -- labeled as a baby picture of then-President Barack Obama -- and another image with ape-like features photo-shopped onto pictures of the Obama family.

At the time, Brown, Chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky, apologized for Johnson's posts, saying they do not reflect the views of Republicans. 

Johnson called the Facebook posts "entertainment."

"It is to get peoples' attention, and I know exactly the post you're talking about, and I want to tell you right now, the politicians of Kentucky -- a lot of those politicians that were sent there to do a change, to do a great job and to help Kentucky -- have made a monkey out of the state," Johnson said. "They've made a monkey out of Kentucky. There's a lot of politicians who I think have made a monkey out of the American people."

Johnson argued that his posts were no different than newspaper editorial cartoons that portrayed caricatures of past Presidents, including George W. Bush.

"I surely didn't post anything to offend anyone, but these posts that have been cartoons or characterizations have been used by the news media -- by especially newspapers -- ever since, I know from Abraham Lincoln forward, you'll find them," he said. "All you have to do is look them up."

For the full story from the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, click here.

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