CHARLOTTE, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer) - Evangelist Will Graham took to Twitter on Friday to bat down rumors that he was the “famous North Carolina pastor” who peed on a passenger on a flight from Las Vegas to Detroit.
Graham is the grandson of the late Billy Graham and the oldest son of Franklin Graham, both evangelists. He is an associate evangelist with the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and executive director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville.
“It’s been a weird day,” Graham posted. "For some reason people who don’t know me have accused me of inappropriate actions on a flight from Las Vegas to Detroit on Oct. 12-13.
“So you all know, I spent Oct. 12 at @BGEA headquarters in Charlotte, NC. I spent Oct. 13 at @TheCoveNC and at a family gathering in Asheville, NC.”
Graham said he was with family and colleagues “morning, noon and night.”
“Apparently authorities will release the name of the actual perpetrator at some point. Until then, please know that it was not me. Thanks.”
Officers with the Wayne County Airport Authority in Detroit initially responded to the report of a disorderly passenger on the inbound flight, authority spokeswoman Erica Donerson told The Charlotte Observer.
Police referred the case to the FBI, she said. The FBI typically handles investigations into incidents that occur during flights in the U.S.
The man was issued a court appearance for misdemeanor assault and released, Mara Schneider, spokeswoman for the FBI office in Detroit, told the Observer last week.
The FBI won’t release the man’s name until he appears before a judge to be formally charged, Schneider said. She said she didn’t know when that would be.
The victim, a 28-year-old Detroit woman, told WJBK-TV, the FOX Detroit affiliate, that she was asleep beside her sister when she “felt something warm,” woke up, saw the man’s private area and screamed.
“I’m like, this man just peed on me,” the woman said. “I looked, and there was a puddle of pee in the seats.”
The station said it called the pastor’s family, who declined comment. The station said it would release the name only when the pastor is charged.
The woman didn’t return a phone message from the Observer.
Last Friday, Oct. 16, the Observer filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Detroit Airport Police for the police report. The Observer received a reply that it would receive the report in five days, but it hadn’t heard back by the end of Friday.