Anti-gay pastor arrested for public masturbation asks gay community for forgiveness

For years, New Orleans area residents have known self-proclaimed "Christian patriot" Grant Storms as a religious crusader who has tirelessly tried to rid the city's French Quarter of homosexual influence--specifically its "Southern Decadence" festival. The celebration, often called the "gay Mardi Gras," draws homosexuals from around the country each Labor Day weekend.

But the 53 year-old Storms has joined the ever-growing fraternity of evangelical moralists whose hypocrisy is exposed through an embarrassing sex scandal. And today he offered an olive branch to the gay community.

Storms -- who would frequently arm his followers with bullhorns, protest signs and Bibles to take to the streets of the French Quarter--was arrested recently for masturbating in public at a children's playground. Storms held a tearful press conference in which he confessed that he was "ashamed" to have stuck his hand in his pants at the local playground. However, he stopped short of using any variation of the word "masturbate" in describing what he did, but admitted that he was randy from having viewed pornography just prior to driving his Ford Windstar van to the park. He also emphatically denied being attracted to children: "I am not a pedophile. I am not a child molester."

Rather, Storms explained that he's battling sex addiction and is now estranged from his wife and four children because of it. In addition to apologizing to his friends and family for his behavior, Storms requested the forgiveness of the gay men and women he's spent years tormenting. "I was very proudful, arrogant," he said. "I have been vicious at times in my condemnation of others."

(Photo: Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office/AP)