- The Washington Times - Friday, October 6, 2000

A nationally known leader of the “ex-gay” movement has been removed from the board chairmanship of a Christian ministry to homosexuals after he was spotted lingering with patrons in a Dupont Circle bar and then was caught lying to his superiors about the incident.

John Paulk, chairman of the board of Exodus International, a Seattle-based ministry, first told Exodus leaders he entered Mr. P’s, a popular bar for homosexual patrons in the Dupont Circle area of the District of Columbia, on the evening of Sept. 19 merely to use the restroom.

He then lingered there for nearly an hour chatting with patrons until he was spotted by staff from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a pro-homosexual lobby.

One of them summoned HRC communications director Wayne Besen, who lives in the neighborhood. Mr. Besen arrived at the bar with a camera and began photographing Mr. Paulk.

“I recognized him right away,” said Mr. Besen, whose organization opposes ex-homosexual ministries of any type. “He was holding up a drink and having a ‘gay’ old time. I thought it was pretty reckless for him to go to a bar that was within a few miles of every national gay organization in Washington.”

Mr. Besen was ejected from the bar for taking photos and Mr. Paulk headed out the front door. After Mr. Besen started berating him outside the bar, the ex-gay leader fled.

Mr. Paulk, who is also employed by the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, is nationally known after he and his wife, Ann an ex-lesbian appeared on the cover of Newsweek two years ago. They also have appeared in full-page newspaper ads urging homosexuals to forsake the lifestyle.

Word of Mr. Paulk’s sighting hit the Internet and homosexual media within 24 hours, prompting the Exodus board to ask Mr. Paulk what he was doing at the bar.

Mr. Paulk first said he stumbled onto the bar merely to use the restroom, then changed his story to admit he knew it was a homosexual establishment.

“My intentions were innocent, but my actions were unwise,” Mr. Paulk said in a statement. “The situation constituted a lapse in judgment, not a lapse in heterosexuality.”

Nevertheless, he was put on probation by the board and cannot attend or vote at Exodus board meetings.

Bob Davies, North American director of the Exodus board of directors said Mr. Paulk’s nighttime visit was a “serious lapse” in judgment.

Focus on the Family officials have hinted that Mr. Paulk, who went on vacation just days after the Dupont Circle incident, will be disciplined for his actions.

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