Gerald Imes, the brother of Oscar winner Mo’Nique, appeared on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ on Monday to apologize and admit he molested the actress when they were children. He told Winfrey the abuse went on for about a year or two and started when he was 13 and Mo’Nique was around 7 or 8.
“I abused and betrayed the trust of another sibling, my sister, my blood sister,” Imes said. He apologized to the actress, saying, “I’m sorry, Mo’Nique. I’m sorry.”
Imes said he decided to appear on Winfrey’s show to apologize to Mo’Nique and bring their family back together. “I can only hope by coming forward that somewhere down the line, with the apology and the truth finally coming out after 37 years … That as siblings, we can come back together as brother and sister.”
He added, addressing his sister as if she were there: “It happened. I’m sorry that I was the one who did it to you. I understand your pain. Now let’s share this together.”
The actress did not comment on Imes’ admission. Winfrey said that while Mo’Nique did not want to be interviewed for the show, she gave the talk host her blessing. “She said if your expressing what you had done to her could save one family then it would be worth it,” Winfrey told Imes.
Imes said he himself was molested and he was using drugs and alcohol at age 11. “The drugs weren’t an excuse,” he said. “They just afforded me the opportunity to do the things that was (sic) in the back of my mind that I always wanted to do.”
Mo’Nique has discussed her brother’s molestation in previous interviews, most recently with Barbara Walters when she called her brother a “monster.” One claim that Imes denied to Winfrey was that he used to lure his sister with candy.
“As inappropriate as it was. As humiliating as it was. I didn’t groom her,” he said. Winfrey then described “grooming” as the manipulative steps that abusers take to gain the trust of their victims, such as gift-giving.