A county judge exonerated gospel music star BeBe Winans from the accusation of domestic abuse Friday, dismissing all charges with prejudice.
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“This has been a trying year, beginning with the death of my father,” said Winans, a member of the noted Winans family.
“Even though this allegation has affected not just me, but also the entire Winans family, my children and certain aspects of my career, I chose to stay quiet because I knew the truth,” he added in a statement. “To be exonerated of all charges shows the power of trusting in God, and is a wonderful Christmas gift for me and my children.”
On March 11, Winans was arrested on a misdemeanor domestic assault charge and was briefly held at the Davidson County jail after his ex-wife, Debra Winans, accused him of pushing her to the ground during a Feb. 13 “verbal altercation” over “custody issues dealing with their children.”
The Winans were married for 16 years before divorcing in 2003 and have a 13-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son.
Though late in coming, Debra Winans said her decision to speak out was made with the hope that it would help other abuse victims who suffer through abuse rather than reaching out for help.
“Until you realize something’s not changing, you pray all day long,” she told a local NBC affiliate.
“The power of God is real, but one thing He’s not going to do is go against someone’s will. We make choices,” she added.
After his arrest, BeBe Winans acknowledged that there was “a child custody right dispute” that arose out of his “desire to spend time with our children as court ordered.”
However, Winans said the allegations were “nothing less than heart wrenching” and “inconsistent with my character and the foundation upon which I was raised.”
He also said he would make no other comments for the time being having decided “to say nothing negative about my children’s mother.”
“I am prayerful that the matter is straightened out very soon for the sake of our children,” Winans stated.
After this past Friday’s decision by Judge Gloria Dumas of the General Sessions Court for Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County, Winans said the situation has made him “a changed man.”
“But it has also helped me see that there needs to be legislation that protects the rights of father’s when it comes to the custody of their children,” he continued.
“All men are not deadbeat dads; all men are not abusing women. And it’s unfortunate that the legal system and society assume the worst before they hear the truth. My children are my first priority and I want and need to become the voice for the men around the world who are doing the right thing,” he concluded.
Last month, after a rash of criticism, talk show host Oprah Winfrey opted to keep Winans off her scheduled line-up, announcing through a spokesperson that he “will not be appearing on the ‘Oprah’ show until his legal matters are resolved in court.”
Following the move, Debra Winans released a statement to gossip site TMZ thanking Winfrey, saying: “It further demonstrates the fact that Oprah continues to be a strong voice against domestic violence and that she’s willing to take the steps necessary to defend the defenseless.”
Winfrey has had a long-standing friendship with BeBe Winans and the Winans family and did not comment personally on the decision, nor did BeBe Winans.
Winans was originally scheduled to serve as the host of “Oprah’s Karaoke Challenge.”