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Page last updated at 21:51 GMT, Thursday, 6 May 2010 22:51 UK

Baptist minister George Rekers denies rent boy claim

George Rekers (Image: Narth website)
Mr Rekers said there was nothing inappropriate with the relationship

A US Baptist minister and leading anti-gay campaigner has defended himself against allegations that he holidayed in Europe with a male prostitute.

George Rekers was photographed at Miami international airport last month with a young man whom he allegedly met through a gay website called Rentboy.com.

Mr Rekers said he hired the man as a travel assistant and "was not involved in any illegal or sexual behaviour".

He said he only realised the man's profession once the trip had begun.

The photograph, published by the Miami New Times, shows the pair arriving back in Miami from a 10-day trip to London and Madrid, with Mr Rekers pushing their suitcases on a trolley.

'Nothing inappropriate'

In a statement on his website, Mr Rekers called the report "slanderous", saying he required an assistant to lift his luggage because of an ongoing condition following surgery.

"There was nothing inappropriate with this relationship," he wrote on his blog, ProfessorGeorge.com.

Mr Rekers also apparently replied to a Facebook message from the blog Joe.My.God.

He wrote: "If you talk with my travel assistant... you will find I spent a great deal of time sharing scientific information on the desirability of abandoning homosexual intercourse, and I shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him in great detail."

Mr Rekers sits on the board of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (Narth), an organisation dedicated to changing the sexuality of gay people.

A statement released by the group said it was taking the accusations seriously, but that it would not allow "personal controversies" to detract from their work of "assisting individuals dealing with unwanted homosexual attractions".

"We are always saddened when this type of controversy impacts the lives of individuals, and we urge all parties to allow a respectful and thorough investigation to take place," the statement added.

Mr Rekers has testified as an expert in favour of a gay adoption ban in Florida. His published works include Growing up Straight: What Families Should Know about Homosexuality.



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