Elbert "E.D." Mondainé, a North Portland pastor and president of Portland's NAACP, announced this morning that he will no longer be running for a second term as NAACP president.
This announcement comes on the heels of a story published Wednesday by the Portland Mercury, which detailed the stories of three men who allege Mondainé sexually and physically abused them when they attended his church, Celebration Tabernacle. The Mercury spoke with eight other people who shared experiences of psychological abuse at the hands of Mondainé while attending Celebration Tabernacle during this time period. These stories have been confirmed by other individuals formerly involved with the church. In interviews with the Mercury, Mondainé denied all of the allegations.
He again denied all allegations in a Thursday morning virtual press conference streamed on the NAACP of Portland's Facebook page.
"On Wednesday a story appeared in the press that read like pages of a horror novel," said Mondainé. "I must tell you that those allegations as presented bear no truth."
He did explain that almost two decades ago, he was part of a relationship that "ended poorly."
It's not immediately clear what relationship he is referencing. In interviews with the Mercury, Mondainé said he has never had any consensual relationships (or non-consensual) with men while a pastor at the church.
"What you're witnessing is the manifestation of the current trend of cancel culture which seeks to destroy anyone who [doesn't] fall in line with their methods," he continued. "My hope is that this distraction in no way interrupts the important work of eradicating racism in our city and nation."
Mondainé has been the president of Portland's NAACP since 2018, after the chapter's previous president, Jo Ann Hardesty, was elected to Portland City Council. Prior to Wednesday, Mondainé was vying for a second term at the helm of the local NAACP chapter, which holds an election on November 21. He announced his exit from the race during this morning's press conference.
"I've chosen to remove myself from the running," he said.
Mondainé did not take any questions from the press after reading his statement. The board of the Portland NAACP has yet to make a formal statement about the allegations against Mondainé.
In the past year, a number of members within the Portland NAACP have independently organized under the name Rise Up PDX to investigate separate allegations about Mondainé misusing the nonprofit's funds. That group has published a list of candidates they’ve endorsed to replace Mondainé and other chapter leaders in the November election.
Mondainé's announcement brought a sliver of hope to the men who shared their stories of alleged abuse with the Mercury.
In a message to the Mercury, one of the men identified by the pseudonym "Ray" wrote: "It doesn’t make up for the abuse, or the loss of all those years, but it’s a victory, and an important one. It’s the first victory any of us have had.”