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An Update On 'The Pope's Long Con'


On Monday, we launched a new series from the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. “The Pope’s Long Con” is a five-part investigative series that focuses on state Rep. Danny Ray Johnson.

Our story revealed Johnson’s history of lies and deception, including attempted arson, false testimony, and an allegation of sexual assault.

On Wednesday night, Johnson committed suicide in Bullitt County, which is part of the district he represented in the statehouse.

We are shocked and saddened by Johnson’s death, and we – like many of you – are grappling with what happened.

Maranda Richmond, a former member of Johnson’s church, went on the record with KyCIR to say Johnson had molested her in 2013, when she was 17 years old. We had planned to air chapter 4, which is Richmond’s story, today. We have decided we will not air that story or the one that follows out of respect for victims of trauma in the immediate wake of Johnson’s suicide.

However, our organization believes these stories are important and the public has a right to hear them. So we are making chapters 4 and 5 available online immediately at kycir.org. There you will find our exhaustive investigation in all its formats. We are also making available now the entire podcast of this investigation.

We are posting the chapters as they were produced before Johnson died, so that listeners can have the full story as we originally intended to tell it. We will produce a final chapter of “The Pope’s Long Con” in the coming weeks.

We remain committed to providing unbiased, deeply reported stories like this one that matter to our community.

Stephen George is President and CEO of Louisville Public Media. Email Stephen at sgeorge@lpm.org.