To hear him tell it, Kentucky state Rep. Danny Ray Johnson has been on stage nearly his whole life. 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.

But the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting found a very different story — one laced with lies and deceit.

This Kentucky preacher-turned-politician calls himself “Pope.” But behind the state lawmaker’s 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 the church.

In his wake: a trail of police records and court files, shattered lives and a flagrant disregard for the truth.

Over and over, there were warning signs for government officials, law enforcement, political leaders and others. Yet, virtually nothing was done. For years, Johnson broke laws. Now, he helps make them.