The attorney for one of ex-gay activist Michael Johnston’s alleged victims wrote to XGW today:
I wanted to say that I appreciate your web site and have been following the commentary on Michael Johnston’s “moral fall.” As the attorney who contacted Wayne Besen to help get this story out, I have been very disappointed by the lack of coverage the story has received. No local newspapers in the Hampton Roads, Virginia, area have carried the story whatsoever nor have prominent gay web sites and online services such as gay.com and 365gay.com mentioned the story.
In bringing the story public my client had two goals: First, to warn the possibly very numerous number of individuals in the Hampton Roads area that may have been exposed to HIV by Johnston and not know they should get tested immediately in the hope of containing the spread of HIV. Second, to help expose the ex-gay programs for the frauds both he and I believe them to be. Sadly, many of those exposed to HIV by Johnston still may have no knowledge of their need to be tested for HIV and warn their other sex partners.
Also, wider coverage of the Michael Johnston fraud might cause individuals to come forward who are willing to be publicly identified so that prosecutors can consider criminal prosecution against Mr. Johnston. For employment reasons, my client cannot be publicly identified. Therefore, individuals who can testify that Michael Johnston knowingly had unsafe sex with them are needed to allow law enforcement officials to take any action.
It is a safe assumption that the “Christian” Right organizations will not be calling for Johnston’s prosecution. It appears that it was their hope that Michael Johnston could be hidden away at Pure Life Ministries so that no one would be the wiser about his irresponsible and apparently illegal conduct. Wayne Besen and I were blasted in a column linked to townhall.com recently for “outing” Johnston, thus evidencing the “Christian” Right’s anger that their and Johnston’s secret was discovered. The total failure of these “Christian” organizations to make any attempts to warn Michael Johnston’s victims, in my opinion, speaks volumes about the falsity of their claims of “love” and “compassion” for gays. Such claims are just more of their disingenuous lies.
Michael B. Hamar, Norfolk, Virginia
Mr. Hamar and I corresponded a bit after his initial message to me. I questioned why the local and national media might be overlooking the Michael Johnston story and the potentially dire consequences for men-who-have-sex-with-men in the Norfolk-Newport News area. Here are Mr. Hamar’s added remarks:
Personally, I think the mainstream media is simply afraid to touch sex scandals among *conservatives* which, unfortunately, enables these “Christian” Right types to continue to put out deliberately false information unchallenged. I can also say this: my client signed a sworn affidavit and other individuals confirmed Johnston’s identity as well in my presence. I believe they are telling the truth. Moreover, Johnston has done nothing to try to deny the truth of the story and several of his past promoters have issued press releases that did not challenge it either.
Unlike the “talking heads” of the “Christian” Right who in my opinion make utterly disingenuous claims of “love” and “compassion” toward gays — Robert Knight springs immediately to mind — I was face to face with some of Johnston’s victims and I was greatly moved by the fact that their lives had been callously put in jeopardy. All are young, relatively inexperienced and vulnerable in their own way — people’s sons and brothers. They are real living, breathing creations of God, loved by family and friends, and not mere chess pieces in the “Christian” Right’s so-called “culture war.” As a church going, believing Christian, I find it very offensive that Johnston and his backers at Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, etc., call themselves Christians even though their behavior and hate-filled statements are an affront to the true Gospel message.
There has been a bit of local news coverage and discussion at the Virginia News Source.
Mr. Hamar, thank you for writing.
— Mike A.