UPDATE: Rekers said he'd been with other escorts, Lucien claims. (See end of post.)
George Rekers, cofounder of the fundamentalist Family Research Council, hired a male prostitute from a gay website called RentBoy.com in order to save him.
Or at least that's Rekers' spin attempt since Wednesday, when Miami New Times contributors Penn Bullock and Brandon K. Thorp exposed the anti-gay crusader's two-week European romp with a rent boy they dubbed "Lucien."
"I have spent much time as a mental health professional and as a Christian minister helping and lovingly caring for people identifying themselves as 'gay.' My hero is Jesus Christ who loves even the culturally despised people, including sexual sinners and prostitutes. Like Jesus Christ, I deliberately spend time with sinners with the loving goal to try to help them," Rekers wrote in a statement obtained by Joe. My. God.—a blog I'm going to have to read more often.
Lucien begs to differ. The escort, who at first backed Rekers' story that he simply acted as a travel companion, and that the men didn't have sex, has decided to come clean. He changed his mind, New Times reports, after a friend confronted him over his client's activities: The Family Research Council is vehemently anti-gay, stating on its website that "homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed. It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects." And so on.
In a followup report today, New Times describes Lucien's account of the erotic massages he said he gave Rekers:
Rekers allegedly named his favorite maneuver the "long stroke"—a complicated caress "across his penis, thigh... and his anus over the butt cheeks," as the escort puts it. "Rekers liked to be rubbed down there," he says.
Following the initial report, Rekers claimed on his website he "did not find out about his travel assistant's internet advertisements offering prostitution activity until after the trip was in progress" and that he was not "involved in sexual behavior with his travel assistant."
But the reporters then secretly taped a conversation between Rekers and Lucien that indicated otherwise. Here's an excerpt: (Or read it all here.)
"We did the whole massage thing," Lucien said, "and I don't know what to think about it."
"Yeah," said Rekers, "just say 'no,' and just say 'I've already [indecipherable] to the press,' and that's it. 'Cuz if you keep answering, it'll keep the story alive."
"This isn't something I can just be silenced about!" Lucien said moments later.
Rekers assured that if the escort just remained silent, the whole story would soon die down. He began muttering darkly about "activists with an axe to grind" and "nothing better to do."
Lucien suggested that perhaps "the media" had a point and that Rekers really had done harm to the gay community. He insisted that Rekers' struggle wasn't his, and said he had considered making a statement to the press.
"Well, don't do that," said Rekers. "It just causes more harm."
"What was going through your mind when you went on that website?" demanded Lucien, referring to rentboy.com, the gay escort site where he had posted his profile.
Rekers paused for several seconds, considering. "Well, I'd be happy to sit down and talk to you more about that." He paused again. "We have to deal with the situation that we have, and make sure it doesn't get worse."
"Sometimes I feel like I should just tell [the press] what happened on the trip."
"No," said Rekers quickly, "Please don't do that. Please don't let them pressure you into it."
Now Bill McCollum, Florida's attorney general, is scrambling to distance himself from Rekers, whom the state (apparently at McCollum's behest) paid $120,000 to testify in favor of Florida's ban on gay adoptions. This news comes courtesy of Equality Florida, a gay-rights group that dug up the state documents in question, and is now busy putting the brakes on McCollum's career. Also, Joe. My. God. has noted that, since the news broke, all mentions of Rekers have been removed from the website of the Family Research Council. Sounds like Rekers may have to turn to higher powers for forgiveness.
UPDATE: Lucien tells New Times he was hired by Rekers, and gave him nude massages, prior to their trip—contradicting Reker's claim that he hadn't know Lucien was a prostitute until well into the excursion. Lucien also says there had been others:
The 20-year-old escort said Rekers told him he was not the first "travel assistant" he had hired, but that he was the first to do any "traveling."
Read it here.
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