While promoting her Oscar-winning turn in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” Mo’Nique admitted that she had been molested by her older brother, Gerald Imes, when she was a child.
On Monday (April 19), Imes sat down on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to talk about the incident and apologize to his superstar sister.
“I’m here today to first acknowledge that I’ve been in denial for 37 years. … I did assault and inappropriately touch my sister in manners that were uncomfortable for her,” Imes said on the show. “And for that, I apologize and I’m humbly sorry that those actions had taken place.”
Imes admitted that the abuse of his younger sister stemmed from his issues with drugs and alcohol. “The drugs weren’t an excuse. They just allowed me and afforded me the opportunity to do the things that were in the back of my mind as a kid that I always wanted to do,” he said. “Most of the time, the abuse that I did with my sister took place while she was asleep [or] the appearance that she was asleep.
“I hid my own molestation and pain and guilt and shame, because I thought it was my fault that these things happened to me,” he continued. “So I internalized that, and I hid behind the drugs and alcohol and then that spiraling thing in my mind, as a child, I wanted to express my sexuality, so I took it out on my sister.”
For many decades, Imes didn’t own up to his actions. “The hardest part for me was even to admit to her I did something wrong,” he said. “I downplayed it by saying, ‘If you think I did it … .’ There’s no more ‘if you think’ — I did it. I did it. I’m not proud of it. Mo’Nique, I’m sorry. I can only hope that by coming forth today that somewhere along the line with the apology that, yes, hopefully somewhere, somehow as siblings we can come back together.
“I’m doing this to apologize to my sister, to hopefully bring back some family unity,” he added. “I’m doing this to publicly acknowledge. Now let’s bring our family back together.”
Imes, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for molesting another person, said he also apologized to the other victim. As for Mo’Nique publicly addressing the abuse, he said, “I’m proud that she was able to finally get to a place that she could relinquish her pain. When she made the comment that I was the individual contributing to her role, I had to look at her and say, ‘I really understand her pain.’ “