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Wife of sex case pastor still living high life

Evening Standard/September 7, 2004
By Richard Edwards

With her former bus driver husband, she set up a church with a congregation of 50 that grew into a charity with an annual income of £3.5 million.

As the charismatic leaders of the Victory Christian Centre, Erica Goodman and self-styled pastor Douglas Goodman were respected by thousands of worshippers.

But away from the pulpit Douglas Goodman was grooming vulnerable young women in his congregation for sex. And he and his wife were enjoying a lavish lifestyle, with a five-bedroom house and a fleet of expensive cars.

Today a two-year investigation by the Charities Commission into the second biggest Pentecostal church in Britain reveals how it registered debts of £200,000 despite having an income of £3.5 million at its peak.

The probe found evidence of " misconduct and mismanagement," including "significant unauthorised salary payments and other benefits provided to the pastor and his wife as well as a number of trustees."

The church, based in an old cinema in Kilburn, was shut down in December 2002 after a receiver and manager appointed by the Charities Commission uncovered a long list of creditors.

There is little chance of recovering cash and benefits taken out of church funds, and it has emerged that Erica Goodman is back in business as senior pastor of the slightly rebranded Victory To Victory Christian Church (V2V). Her sleek image adorns its website, under the slogan: "The family church with you in mind." It promises happiness, healing and prosperity.

The church meets three days a week at a school hall near Wembley - and is accepting online donations from supporters, suggesting they pay their "biblical tithe" by credit card.

Douglas Goodman is serving three and a half years for indecent assault, attempted indecent assault and perverting the course of justice.

Goodman's victims were a teenage student and a 26-year-old. The jury was told he would shower them with gifts, urging them to call him Daddy or Papa D. A detective said: "The victims are really messed up. Some of those who made allegations against him have made half-hearted attempts to commit suicide."

But while Goodman serves his sentence his church has been reborn as a non-profit organisation, this time without charitable status.

Today's Charities Commission report sets down new rules to close a loophole that allowed Goodman to extort money from his congregation by claiming a salary.

Meanwhile, Mrs Goodman, who continues to live in the couple's ?1.5 million house in Northampton, claims the new church is like one large family. She states on the website: "God has blessed V2V abundantly. He has helped us grow into a thriving church."

She has also set up the Victory Bible Institute, linked to V2V, which holds conferences and offers a two-year diploma in biblical studies for a fee of ?950. The website states VBI exists to make sure that lives fully given to Jesus reap the richest harvest.

The Evening Standard attempted to contact Erica Goodman but a spokeswoman for the church refused to make contact. The spokeswoman refused to comment on the Charities Commission report and refused to state what revenues are used for.

She said: "There is no comment. We do not do interviews for newspapers."

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