A minister accused of assaulting his wife, renowned televangelist Juanita Bynum, will not contest her petition for divorce, his attorneys said Thursday in a statement.
The Rev. Thomas W. Weeks who had hoped he and Bynum could reconcile "has come to the personal resolve, that if Juanita is insistent on a divorce, he will not stand in the way," the statement said, according to The Associated Press.
Bynum filed a petition for divorce Monday, charging Weeks of "cruel treatment." Her attorney Karla Walker said she is withdrawing the petition which was filed in south Georgia's Ware County, where Bynum has a home, and refiling the case in Gwinnett County, where Weeks lives.
Bynum has accused Weeks of choking, pushing and stomping her in a hotel parking lot last month after the couple had met to try to reconcile.
"She was bruised up and battered," a police officer told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of Bynum after the fight broke out.
Edward Garland, one of Weeks' attorneys, said a day after the incident that Weeks is "extremely sad over the events that have taken place," adding that there was still hope on his part that the relationship could get past the difficult moments.
Clergy across metro Atlanta were saddened by the news of the public assault of Bynum, according to the local newspaper, including well-known megachurch pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes, under whom Bynum got her big break when she was invited to speak at MegaFest. She has since risen to become a widely respected "prophetess" and prominent female preacher.
"My wife, Serita, and I, as well as the entire Potter's House family, are deeply concerned and have expressed that concern through personal contact the moment we were made aware," Jakes of The Potter's House in Dallas said in a statement last week.
"However pained we all may be, perhaps this is a teaching opportunity to awaken us to the fact that thousands of women are beaten and many killed by someone who says they love them," he added.
Weeks, who heads Global Destiny Ministries, and Bynum, also a top gospel singer, were wed in a million-dollar, televised ceremony in 2002. The couple has been estranged since June.
Although not an advocate of divorce, even in the event of domestic violence, Jocelyn Andersen, author of Woman Submit! Christians and Domestic Violence, said because of the couple's three-month separation, people should take into account the many details that have probably not been publicized before attempting to pass judgment, according to OneNewsNow.
Andersen did not dismiss the possibility that this was not the first time such an assault against Bynum has occurred.
Jakes of The Potter's House also warned the church against passing judgment.
"As difficult and as painful as it is to realize, both the victim and the perpetrator are souls that God loves. We must realize that the church's job is not a judicial one. The courts will do that. The church is the place where people can find redemption even when they have made bad choices or been victims of those who did," said Jakes in his statement.
Since the alleged attack and even after Bynum's petition for divorce, Weeks has continued to "put the word out there" that he was open for reconciliation, according to Randy Kessler, Weeks' second attorney.
"I guess he got no positive response. At this point he's not going to fight whether or not there's going to be a divorce," Kessler said this week, according to AP.
Weeks, who faces charges of aggravated assault and making terroristic threats, is not allowed to have contact with Bynum. He is expected to speak out Friday.