Republican Kentucky state Rep. Dan Johnson, who once compared the Obama family to monkeys in a Facebook post, has been accused of sexual assault by a woman who attended his church four years ago when she was only 17 years old.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Johnson allegedly sexually abused a parishioner at his Heart of Fire church in Fern Creek, Kentucky, at a New Year’s party in 2012.
Johnson, who has long been the church’s pastor before he was elected to the Kentucky state legislature last year, is now facing calls from both Republicans and Democrats to step down. The Kentucky Republican Party tried to force Johnson out during the 2016 election after he put up racist Facebook posts comparing former President Barack Obama to a monkey, but he refused to step down and won anyway.
“The victim’s statements, made on the record in her own name, are compelling and deeply troubling,” Kentucky Republican Party leaders said in a joint statement. “Based on the information presented in this report we are calling on Representative Johnson to resign.”
“This is indicative of a corrupt culture in Frankfort that the Republican Party continues to accept,” said Mary Nishimuta, executive director of the Kentucky Democratic Party. “Kentucky’s families deserve better.”
The allegations originally came to light as part of an expose by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. During a 2012 New Year’s party, Johnson got drunk and was seen stumbling around when Johnson’s daughter and one of her 17-year-old friends offered to help him down to his apartment, which was located below the church’s fellowship hall.
After putting Johnson to bed, the two young women went to sleep on a couch in the living room. However, the 17-year-old parishioner says she woke in the middle of the night to see Johnson hovering over her.
“He started to stroke her arm,” the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting explains. “He slid his hands up, under her shirt and bra, and groped her. He stuck his tongue in her mouth. Then, he forced his hands down her pants, underneath her underwear, and penetrated her with his finger.She begged her pastor to stop and tried to force him off, quietly. She remembers not wanting to awaken [her friend].”
Johnson eventually did get off the woman after she begged him to stop, although she tells the KCIR that she was still traumatized by the encounter. She began attending therapy sessions, and she even showed KCIR her therapist’s notes that “outline how an alleged sexual assault pushed an honor roll student and drum major at Louisville Male High School into despair. She had signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.”