New Orleans Pastor Allegedly Outed in Ashley Madison Breach Commits Suicide
Pastor's wife: 'It wasn't so bad that we wouldn't have forgiven it.'
A Baptist pastor who was allegedly outed as having an account on adultery website Ashley Madison has committed suicide.
John Gibson, a 56-year-old professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was found dead by his wife on August 24, less than one week after hackers exposed the names of people who’d signed up for the website. His wife, Christi Gibson, said that in his suicide note, John addressed his struggles with depression and his remorse surrounding Ashley Madison.
“He talked about having his name on there, and he said he was just very, very sorry,” Christi Gibson told CNNMoney.
She said her husband “poured his life into other people” offering forgiveness, but wasn’t able to extend that same mercy to himself.
“It wasn’t so bad that we wouldn’t have forgiven it, and so many people have said that to us, but for John, it carried such a shame,” she told CNNMoney. She added that she believed her husband was afraid he’d lose his job.
The identities of up to 37 million users were revealed in the Ashley Madison data breach. (The site was hacked in July, and users’ personal information was released in August.) Toronto police have said that at least two other people may have committed suicide following the release of information. The website is owned by Canada-based Avid Life Media.
There have also been extortion attempts associated with the breach, CNNMoney reported.
“These were real people with real families, real pain and real loss,” Christi Gibson told CNNMoney. But “don’t underestimate the power of love. Nothing is worth the loss of a father and a husband and a friend. It just didn’t merit it. It didn’t merit it at all.”
Avid Life Media is offering a reward of $379,000 to catch the Ashley Madison hackers.
Multiple class-action lawsuits have been filed in different states against Avid Life Media. In late August, the company said in a statement to PEOPLE that it “will address any litigation in the appropriate forum.” It added, “In the very best interest of our customers, who have been affected by this malicious act, we are firmly committed to fully assisting these law enforcement and investigative authorities.”
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