9 Marzo 2015
Pervert grandfather made to pay for his sins: Sex abuser’s $830,000 compo
JANET FIFE-YEOMANS AND NEIL KEENE
A GRANDFATHER has been ordered to pay more than $800,000 in compensation to five family members over his sexual abuse in a “religious cult” that he ran in mid-northern NSW.
The grandfather, 65, is already behind bars for 15 counts of sexually assaulting three granddaughters as young as seven — crimes he blamed on being possessed by the devil after a blood transfusion.
The revelations of sexual abuse drove one of his sons, whose daughter was one of the children abused, to commit suicide by throwing himself from a moving car in front of his family.
What was going on inside the self-imposed sect, where the 22 grandchildren were home-schooled for years, has been revealed in a series of court cases.
The grandfather, an engineer, set up the church 17 years ago on a semi-rural property just outside a major country town after “hearing the voice of God calling him to do so”.
The family built a substantial brick church, a children’s playground and series of demountable cabins intended to provide “emergency accommodation”. Locals swelled the congregation to as many as 60 at its height.
The District Court has been told one of the son-in-laws alerted the police anonymously when his daughter, then nine, said the children had decided they did not want to stay at their grandfather’s house any more because he slept naked with the girls.
Last month, Judge Judith Gibson ordered the grandfather to pay a total of $830,000 in compensation to the three granddaughters, one of his sons and the widow of the son who killed himself.
The judge said there was evidence that the grandfather had been “in total control” of the family and its strict religion. He was a strong-willed and dominant person. One psychiatrist told the court that there “was probably sexual abuse throughout the family” and the grandfather was “very controlling and aggressive” while his wife was “very quiet and meek”.
The grandfather was jailed in 2012 for seven years with a non-parole period of four years. The judge said the family’s therapist and bereavement counsellor had noted “this was a family already at risk, living in a religious cult headed by the sex abuser (the grandfather) where the rest of the family were controlled and had very little autonomy”.
Last week, one of the sons denied the church was a cult.
“It’s a beautiful environment for our children and that’s why we bring them here,” he said.
“It’s all legit. We come here to worship on Sundays. We believe in God and that’s what we do.
“The pastor stuffed up but we can’t change that. We have just carried on.”
FONTE: Daily Telegraph