Sect secrecy 'may have hid sex crime'

WA Today, Australia/October 1, 2009

An alleged sexual predator said to belong to the Exclusive Brethren religious sect is on trial for raping a younger male relative in Tasmania.

Prosecutor Tim Ellis told a Tasmanian Supreme Court jury on Thursday that a relevant factor in the crime not being discovered could be the family's membership of the Exclusive Brethren.

They keep to themselves and do not socialise with people who were not sect members, with a smaller range of friends and experiences than non-sect members, Mr Ellis said.

The alleged victim has told the Launceston court that he thought the sex, which started when he was aged six, was normal behaviour.

He's now aged in his 30s and was regularly sodomised between 1976 and 1984, when a child.

The accused relative, now aged in his 40s, has pleaded not guilty to maintaining a sexual relationship with a person under the age of 17 between those eight years.

Neither man can be named for legal reasons.

The trial before Justice Alan Blow continues.

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