Oct 5, 2017

'False prophet' pervert pastor jailed for 21 years for sexual abuse of parishioners

John Wilson, Mary Wilson and Laurence Peterson
Bradford Telegraph and Argus
September 28, 2017

A church pastor who told six female worshippers he would 'rid them of evil spirits' before sexually abusing them has been jailed for 21 years.

Evil John Wilson, 70, assaulted his victim during "deliverance" sessions at a Pentecostal church while hiding "behind a mask and cloak of godliness".

A court heard he was a 'wolf in sheep's clothing' and had abused women over a 26 year period from 1984 to 2010 in the church's prayer room and at his home.

The women were emotional and vulnerable at the time and had turned to the Liberty Pentecostal church in Keighley, West Yorks, for comfort and guidance.

During the sentencing, one of the victims attended to personally face Wilson and his wife Mary and read her victim impact statement in person.

Bravely, the victim recounted losing her "faith and identity" and feeling like she wasn't "worth the air" that she breathed.

Dramatically the victim forgave the pastor in court and hoped that god would "have mercy" and let him "rewrite his life".

She said: "Never in a million years did I ever think what happened in Keighley would come out.

"The effects of what you did and said to me have been long lasting.

"Who am I not to forgive you?

"My hope and prayer for you is that you will come back in the right way and let god's mercy rewrite your life."

Statements from other victims were read to the court and revealed anxiety, flashbacks and nightmares as being common issues faced by the victims.

Many had undergone counselling and therapy since the abuse, the court heard.

Sentencing John Wilson, Judge David Hatton QC said: "As apparent students of the teachings of the gospel, you will have been aware that on the sermon on the mount in St Matthews gospel we were informed to be aware of false prophets who would come as wolves in sheep's clothing and by their fruits we shall know them.

"During the course of six weeks this jury came to know you by your fruit and concluded you are false prophets and indeed wolves in sheep's clothing.

"You sexually assaulted women who attended your church for worship, the majority of which were vulnerable.

"You brainwashed them into the belief that they were possessed of spirits at that heart of their problems and their extraction would assist them.

"Your method of ridding the spirits involved the touching of these women.

"A screen of deceit concealed your motive.

"None of these women were remotely cured.

"The three you abused frequently are likely to retain metaphorical scars for the rest of their lives.

"They are to be commended for exposing you as the charlatan you are and have been found to be."

John Wilson, of Shann Avenue, Keighley, was sentenced to 21 years imprisonment.

He was also made subject of a sexual harm prevention order and will be on the sex offenders register for life.

Mary Wilson, also of Shann Avenue, was sentenced to 22 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.

She was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and will be on the sex offenders register for ten years.

Sentencing Mary Wilson, Judge David Hatton said: "You have now lost the care and support provided by your husband possibly forever.

"You will bare the stigma that attaches to your activities by right minded people."

John Wilson was found guilty of 14 charges of indecent assault, three of conspiracy to commit indecent assault and one of sexual assault following a six-week trial.

He was earlier cleared of two counts of rape, 11 counts of indecent assault and one allegation of conspiracy to commit indecent assault made by a total of seven women.

His wife Mary was found guilty of two charges of aiding and abetting indecent assault.

She had earlier been cleared of one charge of conspiracy to commit indecent assault.

Laurence Peterson, a church minister, of Eric Street, Keighley, was found guilty of three charges of conspiracy to commit indecent assault and two charges of aiding and abetting indecent assault and will be sentenced separately on October 16.

All three defendants had denied the charges.

Seven members of the jury returned to court to hear the verdicts.

John and Mary Wilson, who both needed hearing assistance, sat motionless throughout the sentencing.

The judge concluded proceedings by acknowledging the work of the police in bringing the convicted to justice.


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