Church Sex Ring Uncovered in a Coffs Harbour Court Case

NSW Courts, Australia/August 13, 2014

By Ugur Nedim

During a four-year-long investigation, a complex and organised church sex ring has been uncovered.

The pastor, Scott Williams ran his own church, the Christian Assemblies International but preyed on members of the congregation for his own gratification.

Former members have now spoken out against the behaviour of Pastor Williams, stating that the organisation was a cult and not a church.

Pastor Williams ran a secret homosexual sex ring, starting with mass massage sessions after which he would pick a man to spend the night with, the ABC reported.

One former member described it as a web, one that those trapped in it were too scared to leave.

The pastor had convinced his congregation that he had a direct line to God, could sidestep Biblical commandments, and that it would be he who judged his congregation on judgment day.

For a long time, many members were too embarrassed and ashamed to come forward.

The levels of emotional and spiritual dependency that existed within the Christian Assemblies International were attested to by the fact that when a group of members finally got together and realised they needed to do something about it, the rest of the church didn’t believe them.

Instead they were demonised.

They took the matter to the police who have been investigating ever since.

In 2009, Pastor Williams was charged with 14 counts of aggravated indecent assault, sexual assault and sexual intercourse without consent.

He appeared in the local court division of the Coffs Harbour court and the four year-long investigation that ensued uncovered an astonishing amount of information about his unsavoury background.

Yet this is not the first time that pastor Scott Williams has been in trouble with the law.

Back in the 1970s he was a schoolteacher and it was alleged that he had indoctrinated children at a school where he was a teacher.

After he left Australia under suspicion, he went to Germany where again he came to the attention of authorities and was investigated.

Again in Scotland he was investigated and he returned to Australia, after already indoctrinating hundreds in Europe.

The church, Christian Assemblies International, has also been investigated by authorities around the world.

One remarkable feature of this investigation is that the victims of Scott Williams were often straight, adult men.

Abusive relationships such as domestic violence or religious cults may often seem clear-cut to people on the outside, but for the people being abused the situation is often very unclear.

Just leaving is often not seen as an option as the amount of spiritual abuse or pressure to stay can be paralysing.

Some relationships inherently contain an unequal balance of power.

These can include doctor/patient relationships as well as lawyer/client, parent/child and of course those between a religious leader and members of their congregation.

This case that came before the Coffs Harbour court is an example of how exploiting a person’s religious belief can be so devastating.

The law recognises that in these circumstances where the capacity of a person to consent may be diminished or even completely lost.

According to section 61HA of the NSW Crimes Act, which came into operation on 1st January 2008, it may be established that a person did not consent to sexual intercourse if they engaged in the act due to an abuse of a position of authority or trust.

However, the rules that apply to any particular sexual offence will depend on laws in force when the events allegedly occurred.

The investigations that took place revealed not only that sexual abuse had taken place but also spiritual, financial, verbal and physical abuse had been inflicted.

It was uncovered that the pastor had been using millions of dollars of member donations to build a large international property portfolio.

Christian Assemblies International, registered as a charity, had never come to the attention of the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission until now.

Members were encouraged to donate substantial amounts of money, and the property where Williams now lives was allegedly paid for by church donations.

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