Bakker Issues Denial of Rival TV Minister’s New Sex Allegations

From United Press International

PTL founder Jim Bakker on Saturday denied allegations by a rival television evangelist that he frequented prostitutes and engaged in homosexual acts. He challenged his critics to “prove their accusations.”

Bakker’s wife, Tammy, telephoned United Press International from her Palm Springs home and read this statement written by her husband:

“Tammy and I have felt led (by) God not to join in all the shouting and accusations against us. Some day we hope to quietly tell our story, a story of two sinners saved by grace.


“Upon the urging of many spiritual leaders that we trust, I will make this brief statement: I have never been to a prostitute, and I am not or have ever been a homosexual. Those who say such things should have those accusers come forward and give their names and prove their accusations.”

In her own statement, Tammy Bakker said: “I feel that we have received cruel and unusual punishment by the news media. The media is sick and needs help badly. Ninety-nine percent of what they have printed or said about Jim and Tammy Bakker bears no truth whatsoever.”

John Ankerberg, one of three evangelists whose accusations led Bakker to resign his PTL television ministry based in Fort Mill, S.C., on March 19, first made the new allegations Friday night in an interview with Cable News Network talk-show host Larry King.

Ankerberg accused Bakker of sleeping with prostitutes, engaging in homosexual acts and condoning wife-swapping among PTL staff members.

Ankerberg, who preaches out of Chattanooga, Tenn., said he decided to make the charges because Bakker has not repented all his sins.

“The Christian public has been swell in forgiving Jim Bakker of the adultery,” Ankerberg said. “But that was only part of the evidence against him, and he has not confessed or repented of the other things.”

A spokesman for the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who took over as chairman of PTL when Bakker resigned, said he plans to withhold comment on the new allegations until a news conference scheduled for Tuesday after a PTL board meeting.

Shocked by Charges

CBS News reported Saturday that Falwell and some members of the new PTL board were shocked by Ankerberg’s charges and were considering resigning from the Pentecostal ministry.

In an interview to be broadcast on the CBS program “Face the Nation” today, the Moral Majority founder said: “I mean that I am really praying about how long I should be involved here.”

During his interview on CNN Friday night, Ankerberg said the allegations against Bakker, who resigned from the PTL over a one-time sexual encounter with church secretary Jessica Hahn, were based on staff interviews, copies of letters written to PTL officials and interviews with a prostitute.

“The evidence is clear that Jim, according to the people I have talked with, Jim Bakker did participate with prostitutes,” Ankerberg said. “We have one prostitute who serviced him on three separate occasions.

“And the sad thing is, she knew it was Jim Bakker,” Ankerberg said. “She had seen him on television.”

Told of Homosexuality

Ankerberg said he was told Bakker had homosexual relationships “from 1978 right up to the present.”

“There were rumors of homosexual episodes involving Jim Bakker and there were people who were there who said they witnessed homosexuality on his part,” Ankerberg said.

Ankerberg also charged that from 1978 to 1980 “Jim Bakker had knowledge of wife-swapping among leaders at PTL, and he did not kick them out and the reason was some of them knew Jim was participating in immoral actions.”

Ankerberg refused to identify the sources of his allegations, but he said they had agreed to come forward if Bakker sues him over the allegations.

Ankerberg said there were other areas in which the PTL ministry misrepresented itself.

Ankerberg said PTL President Richard Dortch, then Bakker’s right-hand man, lied to PTL board members on numerous occasions.

“Jessica Hahn was a problem,” Ankerberg said. “Richard Dortch told five specific lies to key inside people where he would look at them, maybe with a tear in his eye, and say, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’

“When he would say these things, they were completely fooled,” Ankerberg said.