NARTH Had Hand in Rekers Damage Control, Escort Says

George Rekers.jpg
Did NARTH help George Alan Rekers with damage control?
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 questionnaire.

"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 whole situation."  

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 purpose."

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 denies it.

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
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