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Kentucky lawmaker accused of sexual assault fatally shot himself

A Republican Kentucky state lawmaker accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in 2012 died by probable suicide on Wednesday, authorities said.

Bullitt County Sheriff Donnie Tinnell said state Rep. Dan Johnson, 57, shot himself on a bridge in Mount Washington, Kentucky, his body discovered on the bank of the Salt River. Johnson, pastor of the Heart of Fire church in Louisville, was elected to the state legislature in 2016, despite his fellow Republicans calling on him to drop out of the race after racist posts he made on Facebook about the Obamas were unearthed. On Monday, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published the account of a woman who said on New Year’s Eve 2012, when she was 17 years old, Johnson assaulted her in an apartment underneath his church’s fellowship hall, kissing and groping her despite her pleas to stop.

The woman said she went to the police and an investigation was opened, but no charges were filed; in a press conference Tuesday, Johnson called the allegations “totally false.” Johnson posted a message on Facebook Wednesday evening in which he stated that PTSD “is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer,” The Associated Press reports, and asked his friends to look after his wife.