Preacher faces sexual charges

By David Fisher

A lay preacher and marriage guidance counsellor is facing claims he sexually abused and stalked two of his ex-wives and a stepson.

Evidence given at a district court depositions hearing includes claims that church elders told one of the wives that her body belonged to her husband and that she should bow to his will.

The man, whose name, job and church role is suppressed, is facing trial early next year on seven counts of sexual violation, six counts of indecent assault and 11 other charges relating to his former wives. There are also two indecency charges relating to his stepson.

He said this week the charges were false. "My ex-wife has been a right pain, has been for years. It will be thrown out, she will get exposed. She's obviously not getting what she wants."

He said the charges came from a conspiracy between the two ex-wives.

The case was sent to trial after a district court depositions' hearing found there was a case to answer.

Both women described the man as "sexually demanding" and abusive through the course of their marriages, which lasted for about a decade.

The first wife woman alleged years of abuse during which he would not take 'no' for an answer. "I was not allowed to sleep until he did. There was no way out."

The couple were heavily involved in the church and had sessions with elders to try to ease problems in the marriage. At one meeting the wife claimed she was told "my body belonged to my husband". There were other instances of "pressure from church people", she told the court.

When demanding sex, she alleged the man put his hands on her and said: "Be healed in Jesus' name." If sex did not result, he was alleged to have repeated the action until it did.

Throughout the alleged abuse, her husband preached at the church they attended and carried out marriage guidance counselling.

After separating, she claimed he apologised for the sexual assaults, saying his problem stemmed from a sexual relationship with his mother as a teenager.

The accused's second wife alleged that among the assaults was a rape in a spa pool in front of another family member, her son, who also claimed to be abused by the man.

She also said she went through church-led marriage counselling, and claimed she was told that if she refused her husband sex then he was free to perform a sex act with her against her will.

- Herald on Sunday

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