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The Pope's Long Con

News & Politics Podcasts

In 2016, Danny Ray Johnson was elected to state office. The fast talking biker-preacher known as "The Pope" paints himself as a 9/11 hero. He says he raised the dead! But our seven month investigation uncovered a much different picture: Attempted arson. Another mysterious fire. Alleged bootlegging and molestation in the church. For years, Johnson broke laws. Now he helps make them. What happens when the institutions we rely on look the other way? How does a liar slip through the cracks into a position of power? This six-part series attempts to find out. From Louisville Public Media. +

In 2016, Danny Ray Johnson was elected to state office. The fast talking biker-preacher known as "The Pope" paints himself as a 9/11 hero. He says he raised the dead! But our seven month investigation uncovered a much different picture: Attempted arson. Another mysterious fire. Alleged bootlegging and molestation in the church. For years, Johnson broke laws. Now he helps make them. What happens when the institutions we rely on look the other way? How does a liar slip through the cracks into a position of power? This six-part series attempts to find out. From Louisville Public Media. +

Location:

Louisville, KY

Description:

In 2016, Danny Ray Johnson was elected to state office. The fast talking biker-preacher known as "The Pope" paints himself as a 9/11 hero. He says he raised the dead! But our seven month investigation uncovered a much different picture: Attempted arson. Another mysterious fire. Alleged bootlegging and molestation in the church. For years, Johnson broke laws. Now he helps make them. What happens when the institutions we rely on look the other way? How does a liar slip through the cracks into a position of power? This six-part series attempts to find out. From Louisville Public Media. +

Language:

English


Episodes

Check Out Our New Investigative Podcast, Dig

12/19/2019
From the newsroom that brought you the Pope’s Long Con, check out our newest podcast, Dig. In the first season, we bring you the results of a yearlong look at how rape cases are investigated in Louisville. What we’ve learned: here, the police defer to prosecutors on rape cases — and prosecutors reject the vast majority of cases presented to them. Due to this unusual relationship, most people accused of rape here will never face consequences. Most won’t be arrested or convicted. And the case...

Duration:00:25:51

The Pope's Wife

3/5/2018
We knew the story wasn't over at the end of the last chapter — but no one could've known what would happen next. +

Duration:00:16:39

When Our Institutions Fail

12/14/2017
Over and over, there were warning signs for law enforcement, political leaders and others. What happens when the institutions we rely on look the other way? How does a liar slip through the cracks into a position of power?

Duration:00:16:47

An Accusation Of Molestation

12/14/2017
A teenage girl thought of Johnson as a second dad. Her family trusted the pastor. But in 2013, he allegedly molested her. Hear her story. And listen to Johnson's extraordinary response.

Duration:00:16:04

An Empire Built On Blind Faith

12/14/2017
Go inside the Heart of Fire Church and meet the motorcycle-friendly congregation and gun choir. Check out the fellowship hall — or biker bar — and learn more about Johnson's dark past.

Duration:00:19:13

From Bastrop To Bullitt

12/13/2017
Like Forrest Gump, he just so happens to be in the front row, playing a pivotal role in America’s biggest moments. Time after time. Decade after decade. He's held some of the country's loftiest titles. Or not.

Duration:00:23:43

Welcome To The Pope's House

12/13/2017
Meet Danny Ray Johnson, Kentucky's fast-talking preacher-turned-politician who is known as the Pope. He paints himself as a 9/11 hero, healer of the sick and miracle maker. Behind this persona — cultivated, built up and fine-tuned over decades — is a web of lies and deception. A mysterious fire. Attempted arson and false testimony. Alleged molestation in his church.

Duration:00:17:46

Introducing The Pope's Long Con

11/29/2017
What happens when the institutions we depend on fail at every level? What happens when lies go unchecked? From the pulpit to the statehouse, one man claims to serve his fellow man. But does he? Find out in this series from the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and Louisville Public Media.

Duration:00:01:10