ATLANTA – The husband of televangelist Juanita Bynum denies that he treated her cruelly and says they have not been continuously separated since June, as her divorce petition alleges.
Attorneys for Thomas W. Weeks III were expected to file his counterclaim for divorce later Wednesday. The four-page document goes beyond simply answering Bynum's petition and makes a case for Weeks.
"Now they have each asked for a divorce," said Randy Kessler, one of Weeks' attorneys.
In the response, Weeks admits to most of the allegations in Bynum's complaint, but denies her assertion that the two have been separated since June. Weeks said they spent one night together in August that boosted his hopes for reconciliation.
The next day, Aug. 22, Bynum claims her husband beat her. According to a police report, she told officers Weeks "choked her, pushed her down, kicked and stomped her ... until a bellman pulled him off of her."
Weeks faces charges of aggravated assault and making terroristic threats. He is free on $40,000 bond and is not allowed to have contact with Bynum.
Bynum's divorce petitions cited "cruel treatment" and said the marriage is "irretrievably broken."
Weeks told reporters their estrangement began June 3 when Bynum announced to the church that she was "planning to leave our church never to return."
The couple wed in a million-dollar, televised ceremony in July 2002, and their marriage played a prominent role in their ministries. The couple co-wrote "Teach Me How to Love: The Beginnings."
Weeks' response to his wife's divorce filing asks that the court equitably divide the couple's debts and assets.
Bynum, 48, is head of a ministry that also includes a gospel record label and seminar tours. She has sold thousands of motivational books, CDs and DVDs related to empowerment and relationships.
Weeks, 40, is known to his followers as Bishop Weeks and is head of Global Destiny Ministries, based in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth.