Evangelist’s Wife, Son Videotape Urgent Appeal
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) _ The Rev. Jimmy Swaggart’s ministry will broadcast an appeal next week for donations his wife and son say are needed to save the organization.
The hourlong program features Swaggart’s wife, Frances, their son, Donnie, and the Rev. Jim Rentz, associate pastor of Swaggart’s Family Worship Center.
″We are serious with you. Our backs are against the wall. If you don’t respond, this telecast is going to have to go off the air,″ Mrs. Swaggart said.
The appeal was shown Wednesday at a prayer service to encourage members of the congregation to answer telephones during a weeklong telethon, Rentz said.
Swaggart did not appear at the service or on the tape. He faces disciplinary action by the national Assemblies of God for allegedly meeting with a reputed prostitute in suburban New Orleans.
Following disclosures of Swaggart’s alleged misconduct and his own admission of an unspecified sin, construction work at Jimmy Swaggart Ministries was halted, and 100 employees were laid off.
Louisiana leaders of the Assemblies of God have confirmed seeing photographs of Swaggart at a motel with a reputed prostitute.
Debra Murphree, who claims to be the woman in the photographs, said Swaggart paid her to pose naked and talk obscenely while he watched.
Meanwhile, a judge in Mount Carmel, Ill., banned Murphree on Tuesday from seeing her three children alone and ruled she could lose custody if she fails to appear in court next month.
William C. Murphree, 31, of Fairfield, Ill., sought the restraining order as part of his effort to gain custody of his 10-year-old daughter and sons, ages 8 and 7.