The sister of U.S. Senate candidate Mike Durant said on Friday that her brother attempted to silence her and chose to support her father, who she said admitted in 1991 to years of incest.
Mary Ryan, Durant’s sister, said her father, Leon Durant, entered into an agreement in 1991 to seek treatment after Mary revealed – and her father admitted – that Leon Durant had sexually assaulted her for more than 15 years. In the aftermath, Mary Ryan said her family, including Mike Durant, turned against her and chose instead to support their father, despite the allegations.
“Incest occurred throughout my childhood,” Ryan said in the statement issued to APR. “My father confessed in 1991, and soon afterward, he signed a contractual agreement with me. It set forth specific stipulations required for him to fulfill in lieu of legal consequences from me. In time, he failed to fulfill all stipulations set forth in the contract. Therefore, in 1994 I filed a civil lawsuit against my father for the crime of incest. This was my constitutional right as a citizen of the USA. The criminal statute of limitations had run out, leaving a civil suit as the only alternative. My brother and family chose to support my father and mother as they attempted to avoid the consequences. They all tried to silence me.”
Ryan’s statement came in response to a number of interviews and press releases from Durant and his campaign team. During a radio interview on WVNN-FM in Huntsville on Thursday, Durant said that an APR story that detailed facts from 1994 Associated Press reports was inaccurate and took his quotes out of context. He stated during the interview that he never publicly discredited his sister.
However, Mary Ryan said that wasn’t true and that the AP reports were “all very true.” When asked by APR why Durant might be saying otherwise, Ryan responded with the statement.
“It is unfortunate for my brother that he participated in this behavior, as it is currently causing his character to be called into question,” Ryan said in the statement. “He made poor choices years ago, not knowing it would come back in time to haunt him. I can’t explain his motivation.
“Mine was to seek justice, and I make no apologies for holding my father accountable for his crimes against me. I didn’t need my brother’s permission to seek justice in 1994, and I don’t need it now. Justice is my civil right, and it is my choice. Everyone who runs for public office comes under investigation. Mike should have seen this coming. I have no personal interest or stake whatsoever in the outcome of the Alabama Senate race.”
During the recent interviews, Durant has not shied away from the fact that he continued to have a relationship with his father after learning of the incest. And in books Durant wrote after his captivity in Somalia – for which he became a national hero – Durant talked extensively about his father, often painting Leon Durant as a role model and never mentioning the crimes against his sister.
During his radio interview on Thursday, Durant recounted confronting his father and his father’s confession. But he said the AP stories misconstrued his statements, leading people to believe that he was publicly questioning his sister when he was recounting earlier conversations held before his father confessed.
However, Durant also said his father “was a good father to me” and that they “had a great relationship outside of about a three-year period in which I was in shock that this (incest) went on in my house and I wasn’t aware.”
He also confirmed Ryan’s statement that the rest of the family turned against her, saying he and the family “are all estranged” from Ryan. When asked why, Durant said it was because Ryan and her former husband threatened to make public Leon Durant’s sexual abuse during the time Durant was in captivity in Somalia.
Mary Ryan said she was unaware of that incident if it occurred. She was still working through the trauma of 15 years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father at the time.