The Last Temptation of Minister Benjamin

Inside the Sex Scandal at Nation of Islam Mosque No. 7

Williams told Minister Benjamin that her marriage could not be salvaged. "He asked if he could come over to speak to me," Williams recalls in her letter to Minister Farrakhan. "I was surprised, but I said yes. When he came over, he did not have any security with him. This was about a week and a half after you were here. He told me that he was in love with me and that he wanted me to be his wife." In her lawsuit, Williams claims that Minister Benjamin said he "had ongoing sexual problems with his wife." After "complaining that he had not had sex with his wife for six months," the lawsuit alleges, Minister Benjamin "suddenly grabbed [Williams's] breasts while grabbing his erect penis, and said, 'I want to make love with you. Where's your bedroom?' " Then Williams quotes Minister Benjamin as saying, "I want to marry you and work side by side with you in the mosque." But Williams "rebuffed his advances, refusing to show him her bedroom, and pushed his hands away."

Of all the women who would jump at the chance to be with him, why, Williams muses in her letter to Minister Farrakhan, did he pick her? "He began to tell me how there was a lot of sisters that was after him but he was not interested," Williams writes. Among those on Minister Benjamin's so-called list of rejected women is one of the NOI leader's daughters. Was Minister Benjamin bragging? "He said while he was over in Africa, [and] had to leave to come back to America, [she] wanted to come back with him," Williams claims. "He went on to say that you okayed it. I was confused and did not know what he was getting at. He then said that I have to understand that 'Minister Farrakhan likes to put his daughters with his key men in the Nation.' I am not going to lie to you. That was information that hit me like a ton of bricks."

Williams adds that she "began to realize that all he was trying to do was gas my head up to be a mistress" or to turn her into "some backdoor floozy." Minister Benjamin, she further charges, "played mind games with me, manipulate me, and tried to completely disrespect me in every way. . . . I will spare you the details unless you request them."

illustration: Max Grafe

In her lawsuit, Williams does not hold anything back. She claims that "in a bizarre pattern of stalking" Minister Benjamin called her every other day, telling her that he "missed her" and "cared for her," and repeatedly asked if he could "come over and see her."

In February of last year, Minister Benjamin allegedly tracked Williams to a friend's apartment in Harlem. In a futile attempt to keep her distance, Williams suggested that he bring his bodyguards. But Minister Benjamin showed up alone. "Upon his . . . arrival at the apartment [he] grabbed [Williams's] arms and kissed her cheek, and attempted to kiss her mouth," the lawsuit alleges. When Williams "pulled away," Minister Benjamin "insisted" that she have "sexual intercourse with him." She resisted. Minister Benjamin persisted. He "grabbed [Williams] and attempted to embrace her and pull her towards him," according to the lawsuit.

After Williams reiterated that she would not sleep with him, Minister Benjamin allegedly said he would settle for performing oral sex on her, which she initially declined. "This is the will of Allah—that the two of us be together," Minister Benjamin reportedly said. Again Minister Benjamin allegedly insisted that "he perform oral sex" on Williams "and finally coerced her into that act." On several occasions after that encounter, Minister Benjamin allegedly phoned Williams from his office in Mosque No. 7 and used sexually explicit language. "I've been having wet dreams about you," he allegedly said during one conversation. He then summoned Williams to the mosque under the pretext of wanting to discuss business with her. "You got me so excited . . . I've got to take a cold shower now," he told her. In other meetings at the mosque, Minister Benjamin "would suddenly blurt out, 'Now I've got to wait to go outside because I've got a hard-on.' "

According to the court document, Minister Benjamin did not give up trying to have sex with Williams, allegedly telling her during one conversation, "My penis is aching." In her letter to Minister Farrakhan, Williams reveals that she was "messed up," almost cracking under her soul-crushing burden. "Every fiber of my faith was being tested. Sometimes, Brother Minister, I didn't even know how I was going to make it another hour." In March of last year, according to the lawsuit, Williams called Minister Benjamin at the mosque and told him the pressure he was putting on her was unbearable. "You're treating me like I'm your hooker," she cried. She claims she told Minister Benjamin that because she did not want him "to continue to manipulate her," she would not be coming back to the mosque. "I changed my phone number and tried to move on," she elaborates in her letter to Minister Farrakhan. "I only came out to class [on Staten Island]. I mean, I tried to do the right thing. But it did not matter because he tried to hurt me even more. Once I tried to get myself together and come back, I soon found out that he was up to his old tricks again."

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