The unacknowledged son of one of America's most popular talk show hosts works in the mailroom at Philadelphia magazine.
His sister echoes those sentiments.
It's been hard for both of them to see every last bio of Bell exclude their existence. So telling their story is a chance, at long last, to claim their full identities. And they also believe they have a deeper responsibility to come forward.
The two subjects--Art Bell and sexual abuse--are unrelated, yet they know their birth father's fame gives them a moment in the spotlight to talk about being the victims of sexual abuse.
"Unless people speak out about it," says Minei, "this stigma will always be there. But I was abused. I have nothing to be ashamed of."
Pontius feels the same way, seizing on this moment of attention to make a larger point.
"Because there's such a societal stigma attached to child abuse and nobody talks about it," says Pontius, "people instead choose to bury it underneath a lot of shit. I think it's important for people to know we're regular people, and yes, this thing happened to us, and it shaped us and it made us who we are. It was tough, but ultimately it made us stronger. In my case, I never let go of my resolve that I wasn't going to let this thing destroy me."
In addition to the drama of the father he never knew, his life took another dramatic turn just a few years ago, when he was living in Boston. "I'd been in a relationship with someone here in Philadelphia many years ago," says Pontius, "and when we broke up I didn't know it, but she was pregnant with my daughter, and she never told me."
He was contacted by a third party, who told him he had a then 12-year-old daughter, Elysia. He admits he "freaked out."
"I wanted to run," he says, "but I didn't want to be like my father."
Today he coparents that daughter and is married to another woman with a child on the way. "That's the other reason I want to come forward," he says. "Because with all the troubles I had, I still reached a place where--all the good things people dream about, I got. I got married. I'm going to have a kid. It's important for people to know not everyone succumbs to this kind of thing. They survive and go on with their lives."
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