Several men have now come forward to say they had sexual encounters with or were propositioned by anti-LGBTQ+ pastor Jesse Lee Peterson.
Jesse Lee Peterson is a minister and semi-known, highly vocal anti-gay figure from the right, but now some folk are coming forward to say that the good pastor has been involved in – you’re not going to believe this – “many same-sex relationships.”
The Los Angeles-based pastor and online radio host has received attention over numerous
homophobic controversial statements, including claiming that people who march in gay pride parades are the children of Satan, and that “radical homosexuals are evil.”
In June, a far-right Catholic group named ‘Church Militant’ released a lengthy video about the pastor, which included interviews with men who accused Peterson of making sexual advances toward them.
Investigated further by The Daily Beast, “Two of [Peterson’s] former male associates came out in June with on-the-record interviews saying they engaged in sexual activities with him, while other men say he propositioned them,”
“These allegations about the pastor — who in public is staunchly heterosexual — have ripped like an earthquake through the manosphere, prompting some of Peterson’s allies to abandon him and prompting one manosphere conference to ban him.”
The so-called “manosphere” is a “hyper-masculine right-wing internet community,” which counts Peterson as one of its biggest stars.
The manosphere is essentially a collection of websites, blogs, and online forums promoting (to varying degrees) masculinity, misogyny, and opposition to feminism.
There is, unsurprisingly, a huge overlap with both the far-right and alt-right communities and the ‘manosphere’ has been associated with online harassment and been implicated in radicalizing men into misogynist beliefs and the glorification of violence against women.
Some sources have associated manosphere-based radicalization with mass shootings motivated by misogyny.
Patrick Rooney, one of the men in the Church Militant video, claims to have had a sexual relationship with Peterson over the course of about 10 years, with the two having been known to each other since 1992.
Rooney claims the pastor made sexual advances toward him for years before they became sexually involved in 2005.
Rooney told The Beast he didn’t have any evidence to support his claim, because “Jesse Lee Peterson is a very smart person, he’s a sly person,” Rooney said. “He’s not going to leave a lot of extraneous evidence out about what he does.
Rooney went on to say. “I’m very sorry to have Jesse’s situation damage the conservative movement”
Another man, Samuel Arambula, said in the same video he had engaged in sexual contact with Peterson, while Robert Santner, the former manager of the BOND (a California “brotherhood organization”) house, “claimed he witnessed Peterson acting physically affectionate towards men in ways that he deemed suspicious,” the Beast also detailed noting that other men had also come forward and said he propositioned them.
Robert Santner, another man who described himself as the BOND house’s former manager, claimed he saw Peterson acting physically affectionate towards men in ways that he deemed suspicious, including one particular incident where he walked in on the pastor with another man wrapped up in a blanket “like a burrito,” while Peterson hugged him and kissed his forehead.
Santner also alleges that Peterson once confronted him while massaging his own genitals, before smiling at him and walking away.
Paterson has not publicly addressed the allegations, but nearly had his hand forced by a caller on his radio show in June:
“I’m just kind of confused,” the female caller said. “Why haven’t you addressed the issue of the gay documentary?”
“Uh, it’s not concerning to me,” Peterson told his audience as he hung up on her. “What a wicked woman!”