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Exclusive Brethren sex trial hears why son chose to live with rapist dad

A member of the Exclusive Brethren Church is on trial in the Palmerston North District Court for allegedly raping his ...

STUFF

A member of the Exclusive Brethren Church is on trial in the Palmerston North District Court for allegedly raping his son (file photo).

A man allegedly raped countless times by his Exclusive Brethren father as a child says the church gave him no option but to move back in with his dad as a teenager.

He also gave insight into how the church deals with those who stray from its path, ranging from being “shut up” to excommunicated.

The man’s father, who cannot be named without identifying the complainant, is on trial in the Palmerston North District Court, accused of sexually violating and indecently assaulting his son, as well as hitting him with a wooden spoon.

Some of the rapes are said to have happened at the father’s workplace, in the sand dunes of a nearby beach, and on his son’s 6th birthday.

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The trial has been told the father was jailed for raping his wife.

The son, now in his 20s, spent most of Wednesday being cross-examined by his father’s lawyer, Fergus Steedman.

The son chose to live with his dad about the time of his 16th birthday.

“You had the freedom to choose anywhere to live… and you choose this man who did terrible things to you,” Steedman said.

“Why choose him?”

The son said the Exclusive Brethren church “really gave me only one option”.

“Growing up in the church, you do what you are told or you end up like I was – excommunicated.”

He said there was an expectation in the church for males older than 16 to “stand by” their fathers.

He also wanted to sit by his father in church because he was “seeking a father”.

“I still have a love for my father as a father figure.”

Steedman  said the complaints to police came soon after the son tried to get his father to help him get back into the church.

“You wanted your dad to help you get right with the Exclusive Brethren, but your dad didn’t help.”

The son denied that, saying he wanted justice.

“I was scared to admit it. I don’t know why I did it then, but it was time to come out with my story.

“It was incredibly painful, breaking open that vault.”

The son also explained various ways the church would discipline members – “shutting up” and “withdrawing from”.

Shutting up meant the church member could not attend church meetings, and could only have contact with designated elders, until they are found to have repented sufficiently.

Being withdrawn from was the same as excommunication, with the member having all ties cut to the church and its members, including family.

The son said his grandfather cried when he was excommunicated, as the pair would not be able to eat together.

The trial continues.


 – Stuff

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