The US anti-gay campaigner George Rekers has had to answer to claims that he took a male prostitute on holiday with him.

Professor Rekers, a 61-year-old Baptist minister who believes homosexuality can be cured, was photographed returning from a ten-day European holiday with a 20-year-old man known only as ‘Geo’.

The minister reportedly hired him from the website Rentboy.com. Geo’s profile on the site describes him as “masculine”, “sensual” and “up for anything”. It adds that he has “a nice ass” and enjoys stripping.

Professor Rekers, a father of three, claims to be a “scientific” voice in the anti-gay movement and is well-known in the US.

He denies any “illegal or sexual behaviour” with the youth and claims he hired him as a travel assistant.

He told the Miami New Times: “I had surgery, I can’t lift luggage. That’s why I hired him.”

The pair were photographed at Miami International Airport last month. Professor Rekers was seen pushing a luggage trolley.

Professor Rekers initially said he did not realise Geo was a male prostitute until halfway through the trip although the prostitute said this was not the case.

Geo said the pair came into contact on Rentboy.com but denied sexual activity happened.

In a later statement to gay blogger Joe Jervis, Professor Rekers said he was attempting to help the prostitute.

He said: “I have spent much time as a mental health professional and as a Christian minister helping and lovingly caring for people identifying themselves as ‘gay.’ My hero is Jesus Christ who loves even the culturally despised people, including sexual sinners and prostitutes. Like Jesus Christ, I deliberately spend time with sinners with the loving goal to try to help them.”

Professor Rekers is on the board of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), America’s leading ‘gay cure’ organisation.

He has written books about homosexuality and testified in 2008 against lifting Florida’s gay adoption ban.

He also co-founded the Family Research Council, which is the US’s most powerful Christian lobbying group. In a statement, it denounced his alleged behaviour but denied any association with him in the last ten years.