Green: ''You have silenced me''; 7 women vote to keep Johnson on council

Mixed emotions after Johnson allowed to stay

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- In the midst of the "Me too" campaign which encourages women to speak up about sexual harassment, a female leader in the Louisville community said she feels she has been silenced. 

"You have silenced me, you have stripped me of my humanity and that is reprehensible," Councilwoman Jessica Green said.

Those condemning words from Metro Council Woman Jessica Green were directed to her fellow council members who voted in favor of an order that would keep Councilman Dan Johnson in his position.

"How much more has to happen in order for us to take this man's behavior seriously," Green said.

Green was the first woman to accuse Johnson of sexual harassment when she reported he groped her during a photo op last summer. A short time later two other women came forward with claims.

The council's order states Johnson admits to his wrongdoings but allows him to continue to serve in his position from a distance. Johnson's attorney calls it "the logical choice."

"I mean give me a break. This is so dramatic. This is a farce. And I think the Metro Council realized that and I think they didn't want to go through a circus and I think they realized that no matter what they did this was going to be appealed to circuit court," Thomas McAdam, Johnson’s attorney, said.

Thirteen council members voted in favor of the order including seven women; Barbara Shanklin, Mary C. Woolridge, Cheri Bryant Hamilton, Vicki Aubrey Welch, Cindi Fowler, Marianne Butler and Barbara Sexton Smith.

WHAS11’s Shay McAlister asked Sexton Smith, "Do you think that you were standing up for Jessica Green? She says she feels like she was silenced and betrayed."

Sexton Smith said, "My heart goes out to Councilwoman Green this is a very difficult time for her and I know it's been painful for her and my heart goes out to her."

Sexton Smith said she voted the way she did to put restrictions on Johnson... as a vote to remove Johnson would have led his attorney to file an appeal.

"The judge would likely stay the order meaning that councilman Johnson would stay in his position with no restrictions whatsoever and complete his term,” Sexton Smith said.

Under the order, Johnson will be monitored by three council members and if he violates it, will be terminated immediately, without the right to an appeal.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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