Harassment Suit `Hundred-Million-Dollar Lie,' Says Rev. Ike
NEW YORK - Three weeks after being publicly accused of sexual misconduct by his former personal assistant, nationally known TV evangelist Rev. Ike has lashed back at his young male accuser.
"There are no witnesses or evidence because nothing of the kind ever happened," the minister said. "It's a hundred-million-dollar lie."
A lawsuit has been filed in Nassau County (N.Y.) Supreme Court by Andrew Brown, a British immigrant who worked as the minister's $500-a-week personal assistant. Brown, 25, says the 60-year-old clergyman hit him with a barrage of sexual advances - and then fired him when he deflected the minister's persistent overtures.
The suit asks $100 million in damages, and the minister has filed a multimillion-dollar countersuit against Brown.
Brown's attorney announced that several other former staffers had stepped forward in recent days, echoing the aide's complaints.
"Andrew Brown was definitely not alone in this," said Brown's attorney, David Breitbart of New York City.
Rev. Ike, whose real name is Frederick Eikerenkoetter, was one of the pioneers of TV evangelism - the first black minister to harness the soul-saving and fund-raising powers of television. These days, he pursues his ministry with an energetic direct-mail campaign and Sunday-afternoon appearances at his home church, a former Loews movie palace in New York City.
"The Money Preacher," Rev. Ike has long been called, and his frankly materialistic message has never wavered: "Why wait to be happy in the afterlife? Send your donations to Rev. Ike. You can be rich today."
The minister delivered his potshots in a two-page fax, casting the case in racial terms. "Is Rev. Ike too black to be so rich?" he asks. "Is there a racial conspiracy here?"
About attorney Breitbart, the minister had this to say: "Can slick lawyer take an angry young black man and use him to create a hundred-million-dollar lie?"
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