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Florida airport
Bible-spouter found

Florida airport
Bible-spouter found

The devoutly Christian skycap who terrified late-night gay travelers in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., by downloading a verse from Leviticus onto the airport PA system told authorities he meant it as a prank, Florida papers reported.

Jethro Monestime, 23, on Sunday night admitted playing the verse twice last week after a deepening investigation triggered by a gay couple who heard it not once but twice: "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death."

The incident rocked the gay-friendly, tourist-happy city, which hosts 950,000 gay and lesbian visitors who spend $1.2 billion annually.

"We were surprised that something like this could happen here," Francine Mason, vice president for communications of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, told "We pride ourselves on rolling out the rainbow carpet."

Monestime has worked for Superior Aircraft Services, a private subcontractor at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, for about a year, Broward County mayor Josephus Eggelletion Jr. told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

He will lose his security clearance, necessary to work at the airport, and thus probably his job, Eggelletion told the paper.

Monestime told sheriff's deputies he downloaded the message from his cell phone as a prank. He said he didn't know any gay people were in the airport at the time.

It was unclear Monday if he had legitimate access to the airport PA system, the Miami Herald reported.

Broward County officials will send the results of the investigation to the State Attorney's Office to determine if charges should be filed.

Anthony Niedwiecki and Waymon Hudson, both of Overland Park, heard the message twice early Tuesday after stepping off a United Airlines flight from Chicago.

"It was dark; there was hardly anybody around," Niedwiecki told the Herald. "This was the last thing we wanted to hear at the airport."

Dan Pine, co-owner of Superior Aircraft, said Monestime will be fired if the allegations are true, the Sun-Sentinel reported. Pine told the paper he didn't know Monestime personally but said the skycap's coworkers called him a good worker and a devout Christian.

"Don't get me wrong; we're happy that they caught the guy," Niedwiecki told the Herald. "But if they decide it's a prank and don't push it any further, we'll be disappointed." (Barbara Wilcox, The Advocate)

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