Horrors of Coffs Harbour church sex ring revealed by ABC
A FOUR-year investigation by the ABC has uncovered shocking claims of abuse and torment in relation to NSW-based registered charity and religious group Christian Assemblies International (CAI).
Four Corners has revealed that self-styled religious guru Pastor Scott Williams was using his warped brand of evangelical Pentecostalism to run a clandestine homosexual sex ring while allegedly misusing vast amounts of member donations for personal use.
Courageous former members broke their silence and told of their torment living inside the group, which they said is not a Christian church but a horrendous cult run by one man.
The ex-members have remained in the shadows until now out of fear and shame, ABC News reports.
They detailed shocking acts of abuse ranging from spiritual abuse, financial abuse, verbal and physical abuse, and the sexual abuse of adult men.
They said bizarre sexual rituals were carried out in secret by Williams, who described himself as "The Anointed One" with the Lord's authorisation to sidestep biblical commands against homosexuality and sexually train his male members into submission and obedience.
The work by reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna reaches former members who describe the torment of life inside Christian Assemblies.
It is not the first time the "church" has come under suspicion.
In mid 2009, Pastor Williams landed in front of the Coffs Harbour Local Court on 14 charges for aggravated indecent assault, sexual assault and "sexual intercourse without consent".
At the time, the Coffs Coast Advocate newspaper described CAI as "one of the first internet cults", linking followers and pastors by the electronic communication.
Ms Meldrum-Hanna told ABC Breakfast the pastor was eloquent, charismatic and confident.
She said beyond simply indoctrinating these followers, there was a range of "bizarre sexual rituals" involved, often involving adult men.
Ms Meldrum-Hanna said the pastor would hold male-only massage sessions where he would encourage one male follower to spend the night.
The massaging would be punctuated with sexual acts and scripture, she said.
One male informant tells Four Corners why he could not simply walk out of the Pastor Williams' cult.
"It's a web. It's a furious web. It's like he's the spider and he's got you there and you can't get out of the bloody spider web because he injects that indoctrinated poison to believe that once you're out of that net, you're condemned for life," he said.
The Four Corners report Cult of Horrors can be viewed on ABC iView after airing on Monday night.
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