The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) has filed a complaint with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department in Mississippi on behalf of Jeff White, a former student of Bethel Baptist School in Walls, Mississippi. White, now 32, alleges that he was raped and sexually assault at the school during conversion therapy counseling sessions.
White's parents enrolled him in the religious school after he came out in 1996 because it offered conversion therapy that they believed would "cure" their son's homosexuality. According to a release from the NCLR, White alleges that his teacher "began subjecting White to weekly 'counseling' sessions in which he regularly raped and sexually assaulted the teenager to convince him that being gay was more painful than suppressing his sexual orientation."
The NCLR has launched its #BornPerfect campaign to end conversion therapy in the next five years. White heard about the campaign and came forward with his story.
“After growing older and witnessing so many who are still harmed by the church and by efforts to correct homosexuality through traumatic and damaging tactics like the ones used against me, I finally realized that it is my duty to stand up against those who have harmed me,” said White. “By speaking out against the wrongdoings that were committed within the walls of Bethel Baptist School, I hope to shed light on the darkness that is so easily hidden within the church, and to help ensure that no one else suffers the pain that I had to endure.”
These days, White serves as the executive director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Rainbow Center.