NARTH Had Hand in Rekers Damage Control, Escort Says
Members of one of America's largest "ex-gay" organizations may have secretly intervened in the rentboy scandal, publicly calling for a "thorough investigation," while working behind the scenes to quash the story.
Officials of the National Association for Therapy and Research of Homosexuality (NARTH) allegedly had a hand in crafting a questionnaire George Alan Rekers emailed to Jo-vanni Roman, the gay escort who accompanied him on a two-week trip to Europe.
The email asks Roman, who has been identified in New Times stories as "Lucien," to corroborate that he handled luggage and learned about Christian love during their two-week vacation.
In an exclusive New Times interview early last Thursday morning, Lucien
contradicted Rekers for the first time and said he had provided seamy
rubdowns in the nude. He said he also declined to fill out the
"Apparently the people who are associated with NARTH, they asked for him
to send me an email of things we should write out," Lucien told us.
"And I didn't agree upon it because I didn't feel comfortable with the
After the interview concluded, Lucien suddenly called Rekers over
speakerphone. New Times reporters jotted down notes.
Lucien asked Rekers repeatedly if anyone else had been involved in the
questionnaire. "Yeah, one of the guys who's on the board of a
professional organization with me," Rekers said.
In fact, Rekers is on the board of NARTH, a non-profit based in Encino,
California, that believes homosexuality is a curable mental disorder.
NARTH claims to be able to turn gay people straight.
"First, I got some advice from the public relations people at a
professional organization," Rekers said.
What was the advice from the unnamed organization? "The only way to make
this news story go away is to make your first statement and then stop
giving interviews," Rekers told Lucien.
As Lucien kept digging for details, Rekers finally admitted that the
"professional organization" was NARTH.
In our interview, Lucien said he was contracted to
provide Rekers with massages in Europe for $75 a day. After his
allegation broke, the Miami New Times, along with numerous other media
outlets, published Rekers's questionnaire to Lucien, along with answers
that, oddly, Rekers himself had filled in and sent out. Here's a sample.
Question: "Did Dr. Rekers hire you as a prostitute for the trip?"
Answer: "We agreed that I hired him as a companion and to help with
luggage, and that I did not hire him as a prostitute for any sexual
Question: "Did Dr. Rekers spend time explaining how the Christian faith
is based in love to you during the trip?"
Answer: "We agreed that I
explained the Christian faith to my travel assistant in conversations on
several days during the trip."
Lucien denied to the New Times making the statements in Rekers's
questionnaire. The young man restated his allegation that he had a
consensual "sexual encounter" with Rekers. The far-right theologian
NARTH, where Rekers is a senior figure, issued a May 6 press release on
its website: "NARTH takes seriously the accusations that have been made
(about Rekers), and we are currently attempting to understand the
details behind these press reports... we urge all parties to allow a
respectful and thorough investigation to take place."
If NARTH helped craft the email to Lucien and counseled Rekers on how to
kill the rentboy story, the organization's idea of a "thorough
investigation" may be a whitewash.
-- Penn Bullock and Brandon K. Thorp
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.