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Friday, 19 January, 2001, 00:38 GMT
Jesse Jackson admits love child
Reverend Jackson meets the Pope in 1999
Reverend Jackson meets the Pope in 1999
Leading US black activist Jesse Jackson says he is temporarily withdrawing from public life after admitting he has a 20-month-old daughter from an extra-marital affair.

In a statement precipitated by newspaper reports of the affair, Mr Jackson said it was no time for evasions or denials, and that he was sorry for his actions.

I will be taking some time off to revive my spirit and reconnect with my family before I return to my public ministry

Jesse Jackson
The civil rights campaigner and former presidential contender apologised for his actions and asked for forgiveness.

A photograph published in the National Enquirer newspaper had shown Mr Jackson and his pregnant mistress - a former aide - with President Clinton in the White House in December 1998.

The child was conceived when Mr Jackson was counselling President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.


"I love this child very much and have assumed responsibility for her emotional and financial support since she was born," Reverend Jackson said.

I am father to a daughter who was born outside of my marriage

Jesse Jackson
A spokesman, John Scanlon, said the woman involved had worked in the Washington office of Reverend Jackson's Rainbow Coalition, an organisation fighting for social change.

Reverend Jackson has been vocal in his criticism of George W Bush's election victory, saying the Florida election board had prevented black people from voting.

He has also been opposing the confirmation of Mr Bush's conservative nominee for attorney-general, John Ashcroft.

Mr Scanlon said Mr Jackson would honour some of his short term commitments.

Family know

Reverend Jackson said his wife Jackie and children had been told of the love child, and it had been an extremely difficult time for them.

This is no time for evasions, denials or alibis. I fully accept responsibility and I am truly sorry for my actions

Jesse Jackson
"No doubt, many close friends and supporters will be disappointed in me. I ask for their forgiveness, understanding and prayers," he said.

He asked the public to respect his family's privacy and said he would not discuss the matter further.

Reverend Jackson said he knew the importance of growing up in a nurturing, supportive and protected environment.

" I am determined to give my daughter and her mother the privacy they both deserve," he said.

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See also:

07 Dec 00 | Americas
Blacks sue in Florida
18 Jan 01 | Americas
Jesse Jackson - man of many missions
16 Jan 01 | Americas
Bush faces mass protests
09 Jul 00 | Americas
Jackson demands hanging probe
24 Mar 99 | Americas
Jackson rules out White House run
14 Nov 98 | Africa
Jesse Jackson ends Africa tour
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