Kentucky lawmaker won't resign; says sex assault claim false


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Republican state representative in Kentucky says a woman's claim he sexually assaulted her in 2013 has no merit and he will not resign.

Dan Johnson made the announcement at his church today, a day after the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published a story quoting a woman as saying Johnson had sexually assaulted her in his basement on Jan. 1, 2013. The woman, Maranda Richmond, was a member of the church, where Johnson is the pastor.

The Associated Press does not generally identify alleged sexual assault victims, but is doing so because Richmond has gone public with her story.

Police documents from an interview with Richmond in 2013 corroborate what she told the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. But Johnson called her story "totally false." He said it was part of a scheme to attack Republicans running for office, citing Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, who faces accusations from multiple women of sexual misconduct.

"I don't think in every case women lie. Not at all. I think it is the season. Last election it seemed to be racism. This one seems to be sexual impropriety," he said. "If the police or anyone involved had thought that this was a real case, don't you think they would have pursued that? There is no way they would have let up if they thought there was something to it."

Police documents obtained by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting show a detective closed the case because Richmond would not cooperate. Richmond denied this, saying she never once wanted to stop the investigation.

Both the Republican and Democratic leaders of the state House of Representatives have called for Johnson to resign. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has not called for Johnson to step down. But in an interview with WKYX radio, he spoke in general about the "reprehensible" allegations against Johnson and four other Republican lawmakers who recently settled a sexual-harassment claim outside of court.

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