Today, after a lengthy legal battle against suppression, the Herald can reveal that a second senior member of the Gloriavale Christian community has been convicted of child sex offending. In August, following a similar fight against suppression orders, we reported that another man had pleaded guilty to representative charges that he indecently assaulted and had unlawful sexual connection with a young person under the age of 16. Now, Herald senior journalist Kurt Bayer can publish details on both cases.
Just Standfast was a well-respected man around Gloriavale, known for his toughness.
Even when a drink-driver crashed into his motorbike in his early 20s, causing him to lose a leg, and leaving him with a badly mutilated arm, he soldiered on.
With a prosthetic leg, the remote West Coast commune's primary school teacher often needed help around the classroom. He had his eye on a 9-year-old girl in his class. She was "something of a favourite" and so Standfast often called on his number one pupil.
After one designated task, he asked her for a kiss and she gave him one. Nothing was said.
And then some time during mid-2012, things took an even darker turn. The teacher opted for a nap during a playtime break. There was a room adjacent to the classroom where he grabbed forty winks. He asked the girl to wake him up before class resumed.
A bit later, when she came into the room, he wanted a cuddle. Edging closer, he grabbed her, placed a hand on her bottom, and planted hard kisses on her face and mouth. Terrified, she tried to get away and in doing so noticed that his penis had become exposed
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The girl told her mother what happened. Standfast, a court heard earlier this year, soon apologised and coughed up to a senior member of his community.
But nobody from inside Gloriavale, including the then-leader and group founder, Neville Cooper aka Hopeful Christian the "Overseeing Shepherd", himself a convicted sex offender, went to the police.
That was seven years ago.
"They don't believe in going to the police," the girl's father told the Herald.
"They think it all has to be handled in-house, which isn't even biblical. Jesus said, 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's'.
"In other words, if you've sinned against God, then you've got to square it up with him, and if you've sinned against Caesar, against the law of the land, then you've got to square it up with them too.
"But the Gloriavale leadership will protect their perceived image in the world at large at all costs.
"The senior leadership goes to a lot of effort to cover things up so they can appear to be different and hold the moral ground.
In March this year, Standfast was convicted at Greymouth District Court after pleading guilty to one charge of sexual conduct with a child under 12.
He was sentenced to six months of community detention and will be subject to two years of extensive supervision with special conditions.
He has not been placed on the Child Sex Offender Register.
It is the second case of a member of Gloriavale Christian Community being convicted of child sex abuse this year.
The Herald revealed in August that a man, who has permanent name suppression, pleaded guilty earlier to representative charges that he indecently assaulted and had unlawful sexual connection with a young person under the age of 16.
He sobbed in the dock at Christchurch District Court on May 16 as he was sentenced to six months home detention.
His lawyer told how he was "deeply ashamed" by his actions. The defendant had himself been subjected to abuse in the past, and knew his victim faced a long healing process.
Up till then, the man had been making a name for himself inside Gloriavale. After turning heads with his performance on of the community's businesses, turning around a struggling entity, he was promoted and on the rise. But a source said the job was burning him out.
The workload was proving too much of a burden. He became visibly stressed.
The sex offender is now out of Gloriavale - living in a small community in the South Island.
In a harrowing court statement, the victim, who also cannot be named for legal reasons, wondered how she would ever be close to someone in the future.
She feels lonely and suspects she is not experiencing life in a full and positive way. She suffers flashbacks, nightmares, and a "deep shame".
The court heard how she was never encouraged to have her own thoughts while growing up, and now requires counselling to "try and talk about the abuse".
The perpetrator too needs psychological help, Judge Jane Farish noted, especially now that he's living outside Gloriavale.
He was referred to a sex offenders' treatment programme but was not placed on the Child Sex Offenders' register.
Sex offender Standfast still living at Gloriavale
The 68-year-old Standfast is no longer teaching but still lives at Gloriavale, working on its sprawling dairy farm at Haupiri, some 45km inland from Greymouth.
A pre-sentence report hinted at some "minimisation" by Standfast, claiming he never meant to expose himself to the young girl, rather saying it was an accident involving the commune's distinctive light blue/dark blue clothing.
Judge Raoul Neave said his offending, which involved a "significant degree of abuse of trust", had placed a good deal of pressure on his wife.
It also had a "clear psychological impact" on the victim. The court heard how she has suffered guilt and "confused feelings" after what happened and the judge thinks it's probably contributed to some of her subsequent struggles at school.
Gloriavale's financial controller Fervent Stedfast, described by one source as "The hatchet man", accompanied Standfast to court the day he was sentenced.
He strode him to an awaiting car and shepherded him away. Stedfast, a Cooperite faithful since 1970, is "one of the most powerful men there", the source said.
"He was Hopeful Christian's right-hand man ... I don't know anyone who likes him."
John Ready, who was kicked out of Gloriavale on Christmas Eve, 2017, leaving behind a wife and children who he's battled to gain access to, says Gloriavale is run with an iron fist.
He says he was booted out for "having a brain" and questioning things he didn't believe were right.
"That place is held together with fear," says the 41-year-old father of nine, who was born into the community.
"The standard negotiating currency in the world is money. But if you remove that from a society, something else becomes the negotiating currency and in Gloriavale it's status.
"To be on the good side of these people, then your quality of life and life outcomes can be hugely affected. So it's kind of important to do what they want.
"It's a very controlling environment. No one is allowed to think for themselves.
"That is written down in one of their documents - the leadership expects obedience in every area of your life, both spiritual and practical. The end.
"I've heard one of the leaders repeatedly preach that you have no right to an opinion on the decision that the leaders make. You have no right to even say, 'Hang on, that doesn't seem quite right'."
Dr Heather Kavan, a Massey University expert in extreme religion, agrees. She says people who are born into isolated religious communities "experience challenges that most of us can only imagine".
They're immersed in the community's worldview in their first years of life when the brain develops and neural pathways are formed.
Therefore, she says, the indoctrination is entrenched, and their deepest feelings and thoughts are linked to experiences of having to submit to unassailable leaders.
"This makes them easy prey for sex abusers, especially if grooming is involved," Kavan told the Herald.
"It's normal for followers to behave submissively. As those in power control the rewards of every situation, followers become emotionally dependent on them, and they may mistake this dependency for love."
Ready is adamant that other historical sexual offending has been "covered up" by Gloriavale leadership dating back decades.
He talks of "coercion at a psychological level" and "pressure applied to victims not to talk".
"It's always the females who are at fault. The senior leadership has always pushed really strongly that if anything goes down, it's their fault; it's in their hands; males just can't help themselves; we're not going to hold them responsible," he explained.
"That's the general vibe of the place. That was definitely the vibe of the late Neville Cooper – that was totally his message."
While isolated religious groups may appear joyful on the surface, there's often "an undercurrent of fear that makes them a hotbed of sexual abuse", Kavan says.
"The fear is spread by those at the top of the hierarchy who have the power to intrude into and dominate every aspect of members' lives. Sexual abuse is the ultimate extension of this," she told the Herald.
"Females are especially affected because the groups tend to have conservative views on sex roles, seeing women's bodies as breeding grounds to supply more people to dominate and exploit."
The hardest thing for outsiders to understand is victim responses to sexual assault, Kavan says.
In the outside world, people have four main reactions to sexual assault: fight, flight, freeze or appease.
But fighting doesn't come naturally to people who have been indoctrinated into submission, at least not initially, she says.
"Fleeing isn't a readily available option when a victim is in an isolated community," Kavan says.
"So that mainly leaves freezing (being immobilised) or appeasing (giving in) – responses that non-members may not fully comprehend."
Religious organisations "typically cover up sexual abuse", Kavan says, citing the example of the Catholic Church.
Religious sexual predators, generally, have more victims and commit more offences than non-religious sexual predators, Kavan says, because their communities often afford "extraordinary opportunities" for offenders to have intimate, unobserved encounters with vulnerable people.
They can also see themselves as being "spiritually superior to secular authorities".
"They don't want to tarnish their reputation of being called by God to save the world. This is where ideas of martyrdom and persecution are convenient – leaders reframe the situation as the 'evil' secular authorities thwarting the religion's sacred mission," Kavan says.
From Cooperites to Gloriavale - a sordid history
To understand Gloriavale, you have to go back to the start: Neville Cooper aka Hopeful Christian.
The Australian-born Christian, evangelical preacher and convicted sex offender founded Gloriavale in 1969.
He set up the idealistic community on a terraced piece of land at Cust in North Canterbury, overlooking picturesque farmland stretching to the jagged Southern Alps.
Known then as Springbank Christian Community, families lived according to a strict interpretation of Christianity, working unpaid in community farming and aviation businesses.
Quietly, they beavered away, sticking to themselves while the congregation steadily grew. Christian, who died last year aged 92, had 16 children from his first marriage to Gloria.
Gloriavale now boasts more than 500 members, made up from around 90 families. Members of the church and community still wear standardised modest dress and the women wear scarves covering their hair.
In 1991, they moved across the Alps, to the isolated, sandfly-ridden shores of Lake Haupiri.
The rich, soggy farmland was tended and operating as the tax-exempt Christian Church Community Trust - run by four church leaders and overseen by Hopeful Christian up until his death - income prospered through dairy and deer farming and the manufacture of meat meal.
They now have assets worth $36.6 million, including their farm businesses and an aircraft repair firm.
The community is totally self-contained, with limited contact with the outside world.
Access to media and the internet is heavily restricted.
Limits are placed on clothing and diets, marriages are arranged informally, and if anyone decides to leave, they are ex-communicated.
Fervent Stedfast has previously told the Herald that people are free to leave Gloriavale whenever they want.
"No one is here against their will. We only want people who want to be here," he said.
But in the mid-nineties, the sect was rocked by scandal.
Its leader, Christian spent 11 months in prison on sexual abuse charges after being convicted on the testimony of his son Phil Cooper - who would write an explosive book on the commune called Sins of the Father after escaping in 1989 - and some young women who had fled the compound.
Christian's victim applied to have her name suppression lifted by the courts.
In 2015, Yvette Olsen went on national TV to say that Christian sexually assaulted her on three occasions in 1984 when she was 19-year-old.
She called him a man of "unbridled lust", "lies" and "absolute power", and a "dirty old man".
Olsen said Christian had tried to break her spirit, forcing her to call herself a "harlot" after she became involved, aged 16, with a 14-year-old boy at Gloriavale.
A former member said most of the families living in Gloriavale were unaware of Christian's sex abuse conviction and believe he was jailed for preaching the gospel.
Elijah Overcomer was evicted from Gloriavale after questioning leader Christian over his conviction for indecent assault on young women.
"Most people in there believe that it's because he was preaching the gospel," he told NZME in 2015.
"Most people would not have any idea, and if you told them why he went to jail [they'd say], 'you're a liar, you're just accusing our leader'."
Overcomer was banished from Gloriavale in 2013 after questioning Christian over his ability to lead with such a conviction on his record.
There have been other episodes of concern in recent history too.
Two years ago, it was revealed that convicted sex offender Brent John Carpenter moved to Gloriavale and changed his name to Courageous Sojourner after being imprisoned for sexually assaulting a Levin teenage boy in 2010.
In June 2015, 14-year-old Prayer Ready choked to death in an isolation room at the commune. Prayer, who had Down syndrome, died in what a coroner ruled was a tragic accident after choking on her dinner inside the room, which had its door handles disabled to prevent people getting in and out.
And last year, it was revealed that Prayer Ready's father Clem Ready was convicted of assaulting Prayer, and another daughter Connie, over a period of 13 years.
Ready was sentenced to 12 months supervision at Greymouth District Court in May last year after a court heard how he meted out physical discipline by painfully striking the girls on their lower back and buttocks throughout their childhoods. With the help of Gloriavale leaders, Clem Ready also fought to keep his name suppressed, but he was eventually named after the Court of Appeal refused his final appeal.
Christian's granddaughter Lilia Tarawa, who with her parents Perry and Miracle Tarawa, fled Gloriavale more than 10 years ago, wrote Daughter of Gloriavale - My life in a Religious Cult.
In her book, she wrote of her 18 years in the commune, her relationship with her maternal grandfather "Grandad Hopeful", and the day her family eventually fled the community.
Tarawa revealed the level of power her charismatic and controlling grandfather had. Even when Christian was found guilty of three charges of sexual assault in 1995 and served a jail sentence he was held in high regard and gave religious instruction from his prison cell.
One of 10 children, Tarawa said she was "brainwashed" while at the same time constantly struggling with the restrictions placed on her.
Women were expected to serve and "submit to men" and anything else was seen as "ungodly", she said.
Tarawa claims arranged marriages were decided by Cooper, who also believed girls were ready for marriage, and sex, as soon as they began their menstrual cycle.
It was only the New Zealand law that stopped marriages before the age of 16.
Her grandfather, Tarawa said, "would have happily married off children of 10 or 12 years" of age if the law had permitted it.
The Christian Church Community Trust, which governs the cut-off West Coast community, has been the subject of a Charities Services investigation.
The probe began in April 2015 after media reports about an increase of people leaving Gloriavale and allegations of sexual and physical abuse, the Newsroom website reported.
It included allegation that of the 18 former Gloriavale members interviewed, five of the females claimed they were victims of sex crimes.
"Any and all complaints received by police are treated seriously," the acting area commander for the West Coast, Inspector Dan Mattison, said last year when cases were being investigated.
West Coast Area Commander Inspector Mel Aitken has also said police had an "ongoing positive relationship and commitment" with the Gloriavale Christian Community and visited them regularly.
"A multi-agency approach to safety within the community has been adopted at Gloriavale, and regular visits are made to the community by police, and also in a multi-agency led approach which includes Oranga Tamariki, District Health Board and the Ministry of Education," she said.
They continued to work with the Gloriavale leadership to assist in providing advice and support, she said.
Oranga Tamariki's Greymouth site has a "working relationship" with Gloriavale, it confirmed in a recent Official Information Act response, adding that its local site manager meets with the community's Shepherds approximately four times a year "as part of a multi-agency approach to offer support around community education and engagement".
Ex-US Navy engineer Howard Temple took over from Hopeful Christian when he died. Formerly called Howard Smitherman, he visited New Zealand during his naval service, prompting a move here and a marriage to a Kiwi woman.
Temple heads a group of senior shepherds that includes Hopeful Christian's son Mark Christian, Samuel Valor and Enoch Upright.
More than 30 people have left Gloriavale over the past year.
Before the sexual assault cases could be legally reported by media, Stedfast told the Herald the allegations were "just nonsense".
"The stories are getting out of hand," he said.
"There's no such thing at Gloriavale. It's not the case."
Asked whether he was satisfied claims of sexual assault were dealt with appropriately, Stedfast said: "Yes, absolutely."