Friday, August 03, 2001

Judge annuls minister's marriage to wealthy 77-year-old widow




The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — The Rev. Leroy Jenkins' marriage to a wealthy 77-year-old widow was annulled Thursday.

        Judge Dana Preisse annulled the Rev. Mr. Jenkins' marriage to Eloise Thomas on grounds that it had not been consummated.

        Ms. Thomas' guardian, state Sen. Ben Espy, said the ruling is important because it means the Rev. Mr. Jenkins cannot claim any marital rights or property belonging to Ms. Thomas.

        “It's one step that I'm glad to see over,” he said.

        Ms. Thomas married the Rev. Mr. Jenkins in Las Vegas on Jan. 12, less than three weeks after her husband died.

        She and her late husband won $6.9 million in the Ohio Lottery in 1992. Her wealth is estimated at nearly $4 million. Ms. Thomas' relatives think the evangelist married her for her money, an allegation he has denied.

        “I do not agree that they can take people and tell them who to marry and who not to and decide what to do with somebody's life,” the Rev. Mr. Jenkins said Thursday. “I think that's really rotten.”

        Mr. Espy has said Ms. Thomas is incompetent and did not know what she was doing when she married the Rev. Mr. Jenkins, who lives in nearby Delaware.

        He said Thursday that the Rev. Mr. Jenkins needs to return property owned by Ms. Thomas, which includes furniture and vehicles.

       



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