SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — An ESPN documentary on the effort to keep the Sacramento Kings from leaving was delayed by the network on Monday, after a woman who says now-Mayor Kevin Johnson sexually abused her as a minor broke her silence.
Johnson is once again denying sexual molestation claims stemming from an Arizona investigation in 1996 when he was a member of the Phoenix Suns.
“It’s unfortunate that stories like this continue to come forward; when I ran for mayor I knew these were all going to be a part of fair play,” he said. “Twenty years, same stuff, no “there” there; at the end of the day this should be a very powerful moment for our community—there’s nothing and no one that can rain on this parade.”
Johnson walked the purple carpet as the local premiere of the documentary went on as planned hours after ESPN announced it will delay broadcasting “Down In The Valley” in light of a recent interview by Deadspin with Johnson’s accuser and the release of her videotaped deposition from 1996.
No criminal charges were filed in the incident. In 2008, the Sacramento Bee reported Johnson reached a $230,000 settlement with his accuser. In her interview with Deadspin, the accuser described the settlement as buying her silence.
“It’s their prerogative to delay it,” Johnson said of ESPN’s decision. “As I’ve said time and time again, these are things that have been discussed and investigated very thoroughly for over 20 years. It’s just part of the territory.”
The renewed attention to the allegations come as the mayor weighs his political future. He says the accusations won’t affect his decision to run for a third term. When asked if he would run, he said with a smile, “I”m gonna make my decision pretty soon here.”
Other possible mayoral candidates include former Senate Pro-Tem Darrell steinberg, Sacramento City Councilwoman Angelique Ashby, and former supervisor and Assemblyman Roger Dickinson.
“I do think they will air it at the appropriate time, and we’re going to be respectful of whatever that timeline is, but today we’re going to go in and enjoy the story,” Johnson said.