Wife of Kentucky lawmaker who killed himself calls death ‘high-tech lynching’

Rep. Dan Johnson (AP)


FRANKFORT, Ky. (CBS/AP) — The wife of a Republican lawmaker in Kentucky who killed himself after accusations he sexually assaulted a teenage girl says she will seek to replace him in the state legislature.

Rebecca Johnson made the announcement in a news release sent to The Associated Press. Dan Johnson killed himself Wednesday night. David Adams, a political operative who worked for Dan Johnson, confirmed Rebecca Johnson’s intentions.

In the release, Rebecca Johnson referred to her husband’s death as a “high-tech lynching based on lies and half-truths.”

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The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published a story earlier this week detailing accusations that Johnson sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl in 2013. Police had investigated the matter but did not file charges. The story prompted police to re-open the investigation.

Dan Johnson had called the accusations “totally false.”

The sexual assault accusations against Johnson were revealed as a sexual harassment scandal involving four other Republican lawmakers was unfolding at the state Capitol. Former Republican 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 posted on his Twitter account Wednesday night. “Prayers for his wife, children, grandchildren and all affected by this sad event.”

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