PORTLAND, Oregon — Several people this week accused a prominent Portland minister and leader in the city's Black community of sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
Reverend E.D. Mondaine leads the Portland chapter of the NAACP.
Several men and women are accusing him of sexual, physical or emotional abuse, beginning two decades ago. The Portland Mercury first reported the allegations and detailed the stories of several victims.
In the wake of civil unrest in Portland following the death of George Floyd this spring, Mondaine often stood front and center at rallies and marches, decrying racism. He gained national notoriety with an op-ed in the Washington Post about the ongoing protests.
KGW spoke to one of the men accusing Mondaine of sexual abuse while attending his Portland church. The man did not want to use his real name publicly, instead using the name "Ray."
"For him to represent them it was harder to bear seeing that than it is to hold the secret anymore," Ray said.
The Mercury story also detailed the stories of two other victims with similar stories as Ray. All three alleged Mondaine repeatedly sexually, physically and emotionally abused them in the 1990s and 2000s.
"We had to see his face on TV, we had to start seeing him lauded as some great man, some hero, some kind person and be drug through our trauma again and again and to be powerless against him," Ray said.
After enduring a traumatic childhood in which he was abused, Ray said he found the church in which Mondaine was - and remains - head pastor, Celebration Tabernacle.
Ray ended up living and working with Mondaine for years. He says he was never paid and lived off tips from the restaurant Mondaine ran for a dozen years.
From ages 17 to 29 Ray said Mondaine sexually, physically, psychologically and emotionally abused him.
"For a man like him with a congregation and all this power to put his attention on you, then over time to build you up ... He would say things like I was going to be the one after he died to usher the church into the end times," Ray said.
He alleges Mondaine would use scripture and his position of power in the church to manipulate him, telling Ray that he was built to endure the abuse.
"How the abuse I went through is what makes me strong enough to endure his weakness, because he would talk about this as being his weakness," Ray said.
"When you believe it's God speaking, when you truly believe in God and believe this is the word of God, everything is justifiable," he added.
He says Mondaine removed him from family and friends gradually over time until he realized all he had left in life was the church.
"When you have all those things stripped from you and paired with this over-the-top sense of destiny that he would keep harping and pushing and knowing there were all these other people suffering, leaving was incredibly difficult," he explained.
When he finally left the church and Mondaine's home, Ray says he had nothing.
"It wasn't just the sexual abuse, it wasn't just being locked in the ["prayer"] closet, it wasn't just the physical abuse. It was the destruction of my faith," Ray said through tears.
Ray says he spoke to law enforcement shortly after the alleged abuse but wasn't ready to come forward with allegations alone. In speaking with attorneys a few years later they informed him he didn't have criminal options because of the time that had elapsed and lack of substantial evidence.
The Portland Mercury reports several other former members of the church, including women, also came forward with stories of psychological, emotional or verbal abuse at Mondaine's hands.
Mondaine denied the allegations against him during a Zoom call with reporters Thursday. He referred to the article as reading "like pages in a horror novel."
"I submit to you it would be pointless in trying to defend such egregious allegations. However, I must tell you those allegations as presented bear no truth," Mondaine told reporters.
Despite denying he abused anyone, Mondaine said he will not seek re-election next month to continue leading the local chapter of the NAACP. He said he will see his obligations through until then.
He called the allegations unfounded and said they stem from a decades-old old relationship he was part of that ended poorly and rocked his church congregation, although he did not elaborate on what he meant by that.
Mondaine didn't take questions on the call. He said the allegations distract from the fight against racism and are an example of "cancel culture."
"Which seeks to destroy anyone that don't fall in line with their message," he added.