Juanita Bynum says she forgives husband accused of beating her

ATLANTA – Evangelist and gospel singer Juanita Bynum said she forgives her husband, who is accused beating her outside a hotel.

Bynum, 48, spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday since the arrest of her husband, Thomas W. Weeks III, according to media reports.

“This is such a difficult moment for me because this is my first time speaking out publicly about what I’ve been through,” Bynum said at a news conference. “But I just wanted to first go on record to say that I forgive my husband and I wish him all the best.”

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Weeks, known to his followers as Bishop Weeks, faces charges of aggravated assault and terroristic threats following a confrontation last month that police say left his estranged wife badly bruised. Police say that during an Aug. 21 argument outside a hotel, Weeks, 40, choked Bynum, pushed her to the ground and started to kick and stomp on her.

But Bynum said Tuesday that she did not want to be seen as a “damsel in distress.”

She also said she wanted to go from being a victim of domestic violence to an advocate.

“I believe domestic violence will be my new mantle,” Bynum said.

Bynum would not comment on whether she would assist in the prosecution of her husband, who is free on bond.

Bynum later appeared on the Trinity Broadcasting Network‘s “Praise The Lord” program, a Christian talk show. On the show, Bynum said she had no bitterness toward Weeks and would not say anything negative about him.

“Nobody could give me enough money,” she said. “As long as he’s my husband, I won’t break that covenant.”

Bynum is a former hairdresser and flight attendant who became a Pentecostal evangelist, author and gospel singer. Her ministry blossomed after she preached at a singles event about breaking free of sexual promiscuity. Among her books are “No More Sheets: The Truth About Sex” and “Matters of the Heart.”

Her album “A Piece of My Passion” had been listed in the top 10 gospel albums by Billboard magazine for several months. She also preaches through televised sermons.

The couple married in 2002. Together, they wrote “Teach Me How to Love You: The Beginnings.”

Weeks is due back in court Friday.

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