Former Ballarat teacher Scott Williams accused of founding abusive religious cult

The Courier, Australia/July 29, 2014

By Fiona Henderson

Horrific claims of sexual and physical abuse by a former Ballarat teacher who founded religious cult Christian Assemblies International (CAI) have been unveiled by the ABC's Four Corners program.

Pastor Scott Williams, now 70, is also accused of misusing vast amounts of money donated by CAI members and building up a worldwide multi-million dollar property portfolio.

Mr Williams taught at Ballarat East High School in the 1970s before heading to Germany, where he worked in Feldafing as a pool attendant at a military school for young men.

In the late 70s, he began recruiting German teenagers and young adults to CAI, claiming he was The Anointed One, filled with the Holy Spirit and a gifted healer.

However, Four Corner's four year investigation showed Williams also carried out bizarre sexual rituals on males, including mass massage sessions and forcing men to perform sex acts on him, while financially, physically, verbally and spiritually abusing his members, particularly women and children.

Former members also said they were regularly denigrated and humiliated while women were told they were swines, dogs, Jezebels and satanic beings and children were beaten with iron rods.

Women were also regularly excommunicated and their children given to other people to temporarily raise, while widows and pensioners were pressured to hand over inheritances.

CAI, which is a registered charity and religious group, is now based in Coffs Harbour, with Williams and senior church people refusing any Four Corners requests for interviews.

Williams now lives with his wife Ree in a luxury apartment in Coffs Harbour, with other properties all over the world renovated to luxurious standards by church members, who said they were punished for any slight mistakes they made.

The Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission had pledged to investigate the CAI following the Four Corners report.

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