The brother of Oscar-winning actress Mo’Nique admitted to Oprah Winfrey on Monday that he repeatedly molested his little sister starting when she was only 7 years old.
Mo’Nique, who won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, has spoken publicly about the abuse at the hands of Gerald Imes, saying she channeled “that monster” when she played the brutal mother in the film.
“I’m sorry, Mo’Nique. I’m sorry,” Imes said Monday on The Oprah Winfrey Show. “I betrayed everybody’s trust. I broke that trust. I broke that bond.” Mo’Nique declined to be involved in Imes’s interview or respond to his apology.
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Imes blamed the sexual abuse, which happened over a period of two years mostly while Imes believed Mo’Nique was sleeping, on the fact that he too had been molested and was masking his pain with drugs.
“I started using cocaine, heroin, alcohol at the age of 11,” he told Winfrey. “I used these drugs to hide my own pain, to hide my own fears … The drugs allowed me and afforded me the opportunity to hurt my sister.”
He said he hid the shame he felt at having been sexually abused himself and took it out on his sister, who is now 42.
Imes was later sentenced to 12 years in prison for molesting another girl. But now he wants to repair his relationship with his sister and move forward.
“I can only hope by coming forth today … that somewhere down the line … we can come back together as siblings,” he said. “I understand your pain. I truly think, let’s share this together and move on.”