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Christian Charity Feed the Children Says Frontman Larry Jones Hoarded Porno, Money and Power

(AP Photo)
(AP)
(AP Photo/David Goldman)
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
OKLAHOMA CITY (CBS/AP) A legal scuffle between Christian charity Feed the Children and its long time frontman, Larry Jones, has turned ugly, as a lawsuit accuses Jones of taking bribes, hoarding hardcore pornography, and using a charity employee as a personal nanny.

Photo: Larry Jones

Jones is also accused of other misdeeds in the civil case, including misspending charity funds, pocketing travel money, and keeping gifts from appearances.

Jones, 69, denied any wrongdoing.

"They fired me wrongfully," Jones said Tuesday evening. "What they're trying to do is build a case up against me so that will hold up. It won't hold up ... I didn't do anything"

The sordid allegations against Jones are the latest salvo in an ongoing legal battle between Jones and the charity.

On Nov. 6, Feed the Children fired Jones. They originally accused him of spying on board members who stood against him and later of taking a $22,000 bribe from a supplier.

Jones denied wrongdoing and on Nov. 10, filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit against the charity and its board of directors.

The new allegations against Jones are part of a countersuit the charity filed Monday.

Feed the Children's countersuit claims that hardcore pornographic magazines were found in Jones' office including: "Family Affairs," "Taboo's Family Heat," "Penthouse Secret Fantasies," "The Penthouse Sex Files," and "Playboy."

As an evangelist in the 1970s, Jones crusaded against pornography. In his book, "Keep Walking," Jones wrote he even bought a bulletproof vest because of multiple death threats early in his campaign.

Jones said Tuesday he intended to send the magazines to a Nashville ghost writer, Tom Carter, to explain to the writer how bad pornography has become. He said the ghost writer is helping him with a series of novels, including "The Zipper Disease," about AIDS in Africa.

"I'm not a dirty, old man. All of this was done for research," Jones said.

Jones and Feed the Children have had a fruitful 30-year relationship. The charity is known nationwide, primarily from Jones' heart-wrenching television appeals for funds to feed starving children. Jones had been the face of the charity since its founding.

"This is crazy," Jones said. "I'm not saying they can't live without me, but everywhere I go, people say, 'Feed the Children is Larry Jones and Larry Jones is Feed the Children."'

In a statement Tuesday, the organization said it is strong and viable and "continues to fulfill its biblical mission each and every day." It said officials have worked for two years to correct Jones' misguided actions and end his free-wheeling dominance of the organization.

"We believe that Larry started out as a man with a mission to help children and families. We will continue that mission. Additionally, we will continue to defend this organization," said Rick England, chairman of the charity's board of directors.

Jones was fired Nov. 6 after admitting he had hidden microphones installed in the offices of three top executives at odds with him. Police investigated Jones after remnants of the recording devices were found. Prosecutors decided not to file any charges. Jones said he did nothing illegal because he intended to record only his own conversations.

Jones also was fired because directors decided he solicited a $22,000 bribe from a supplier. Jones said he only asked for help with legal expenses and the vendor took his request the wrong way.

Evidence of other wrongdoing was found after his termination, the charity and its attorneys said.

"The unexpected discovery of pornographic material, along with other personal items found in his offices, leaves this board of directors saddened, but certain the right decision was made," the charity said in its media statement Tuesday.

In the countersuit, the charity's attorneys described the material as publications and excerpts from publications ranging "from hardcore pornography to incestuous sexual family relationships." The attorneys said the material was found hidden in his charity office and a nearby private area.

The charity's attorneys said evidence Jones took bribes was found in documentation in his office after his termination.

The attorneys said the documents show Affiliated Media Group, which buys TV time for Feed The Children's fundraising spots, regularly paid Jones. The attorneys alleged Jones concealed the payments. The attorneys also alleged Jones secretly entered into a three-year contract with Affiliated Media Group and persuaded the company to put his son on its payroll.

Jones said Tuesday, "I've never taken a bribe in my life."

Jones said he was paid about $10,000 a month in sales commissions by Affiliated Media Group.

He said he was paid because he recruited preachers to use the company for their own fundraising spots and air them before or after a Feed The Children spot.

He said that arrangement helped reduce Feed The Children's costs for airtime, too. He said the payments ended years ago.

"The owner said to me, 'Hey, man, you're one of the best salesmen I've got. I don't feel right you doing this without remuneration.' I said, 'Whatever you want to do is fine with me.'... It was the same as ... what his salesmen were getting," Jones told The Oklahoman.

About getting his son a job, "I can't say that I didn't help do that. He worked for Affiliated Media. He doesn't any more, but he did. There was nothing wrong with that. ... If you came to me and said you wanted your son to go work for me and your son was capable in an area we needed him, then what would be wrong with that?"
  • Ryan Smith

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