Former FAME Reverend Reveals Salacious Allegations
Reverend Brenda Lamothe
By Francis Taylor
Sentinel Staff Writer
In her attorney’s small conference room in Encino, California, former First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles (FAME) Reverend Brenda Lamothe detailed the allegations filed in her recent lawsuit against Senior Pastor Dr. John J. Hunter in which she accused Hunter of coercing her into inappropriate sexual relations.
With very personal and sexually-charged unsigned cards and notes on display for media review, allegedly hand-delivered by Hunter to Lamothe on several occasions, according to the accuser, Lamothe entered with her attorney, Solomon E. Gresen, and read a prepared statement.
Lamothe said the abuse, which began about April, 2005, routinely continued in his church office and elsewhere, up to the point, when she finally was able to say, “no more!” She said it was preceded by Hunter’s insistence that his staff read “God’s Armor Bearer,” a book by Terry Nance, in which the spiritual leader was like the prophets in the Bible and his staff were to be his armor bearers.
“He used his power as my employer to frighten me and his power as my spiritual leader to coerce me into being his perfect armor bearer and to provide him with sexual comfort. He said it was God’s will” Lamothe said. “He knew I was deathly afraid of losing my job. He knew I loved First AME church. He had the power to adversely affect both,” she continued.
Lamothe said that when she finally told Hunter, “I will not allow you to use me anymore, He told me he did not want me in his pulpit, if I wasn’t ‘giving it up, what good was I” she said. “He fired me and severed my connection with First AME Church, a place where I worked and worshiped, a place where I had been a member for the past 17 years; a place where my children grew up and learned how to be Christians.”
Citing Hunter’s power and importance in the community as well as the fact that he has a wife, a family, thousands of church members and unlimited resources, Lamothe also noted her hard work and devotion to the church before his arrival and up until the time she was terminated last year.
“I worked hard to do my job at the church and I do not understand why he would dishonor, humiliate, and dehumanize me, even now. That is why I am here. I am here to bring a lawsuit against John Hunter to let him know that he abused his position, he abused me and I will not take it anymore” said Lamothe.
To bolster her assertions and allegations against the leader of First AME, the oldest church founded by African Americans in Los Angeles with over 19,000 members, said Lamothe. “The time has now come for John Hunter to tell the truth” she said. “I know that John Hunter has a four-five inch vertical scar on the right side of his buttocks and hip area. It is a very clean scar, like fine brown line. I know this because of the abuse I have suffered, and it is the truth” she asserted.
“Abusers need to know they will be held accountable. Finally, John Hunter needs to know that he must never treat another human being the way he treated me,” she concluded.
The Los Angeles Sentinel contacted First AME in an effort to give Rev. Dr. Hunter an opportunity to address Lamothe’s allegations. While he was not available for comment, the church’s receptionist directed callers to Tony Knight, Media Contact with the firm Sitrick and Company, whose staff provided the following:
Constance Fortune, a member of the Executive Committee of the First AME Church of Los Angeles and Chairperson of the Church’s Board of Trustees #2, said. “The leadership of the First AME Church is shocked that Mrs. Lamothe has publicly distributed private personal communications between Pastor John Hunter and Mrs. Hunter as husband and wife. Mrs. Hunter has confirmed that the materials that were handed out to the press today by Mrs. Lamothe are private personal communications between Mrs. Hunter and her husband.
As early as October 25, 2009, the Church reported to the Los Angeles Police Department that these communications had been taken from the Church parsonage and that they had been presented to the Church with a demand for money.”
She continued. “Mrs. Hunter is mortified and outraged that such personal, private communications between her husband and herself have been handed out to the media by Mrs. Lamothe. Clearly, Mrs. Lamothe is continuing her efforts to personally harm Mrs. Hunter. Such conduct by a person who refers to herself as a minister is morally offensive.”
“Mrs. Hunter cannot believe that Mrs. Lamothe, someone who has been in the Hunters’ home numerous times and even babysat for their daughter, would behave in such an outrageous manner.
“She has authorized me to give you the following statement directly from her:
‘I have personally seen the material that Mrs. Lamothe handed out to the media today, and I can confirm that these are private communications between me and my husband, Pastor John Hunter. I am furious and disgusted that our private property has been taken and disclosed. I cannot believe that Mrs. Lamothe, who has been to our home many times and even babysat for our daughter on numerous occasions, would stoop so low’ Fortune continued. “We support the Hunters 100% and we do not for one moment believe the outrageous allegations in the lawsuit filed by Brenda Lamothe. This is nothing more than an attempt to harm the First AME Church, smear the Hunters and damage their relationship with the Church. The Church and the Hunters are now more determined than ever to pursue their rights in Court via their invasion-of-privacy, theft and conspiracy lawsuit against Mrs. Lamothe. Lamothe’s actions today have obviously compounded the damage she has already caused.”
Finally, to address the matter of the scar on Hunter’s buttocks, a media representative employee said. “Everyone in the church knows that Pastor John had hip replacement surgery shortly after he arrived at the church. All you have to do is Google hip replacement scar and you will see what a scar from that surgery looks like and that they are all the same.”