Jan 29, 2024

CultNEWS101 Articles: 1/29/2024 (The Abuse, Child Abuse, Canada, Southern Baptist, Cameron Black)

The Abuse, Child Abuse, Canada, Southern Baptist, Cameron Black

"Robert Corfield, a man who abused a boy in Canada in a secretive Christian Church in the 1980s, has spoken publicly about what happened for the first time.

He was confronted by the BBC as part of a wider look into claims of child sexual abuse spanning decades within the Church, known as The Truth.

His name is one of more than 700 given by people to a hotline set up to report sexual abuse within the Church.

The sect says it addresses all abuse allegations.

The Church, which has no official name but is often referred to as The Truth or The Way, is believed to have up to 100,000 members worldwide, with the majority in North America.

The potential scale of the abuse has been captured through a hotline - set-up last year by two women who say they were also sexually abused by a Church leader when they were children. People have phoned in claiming they too were abused, with testimonies stretching back decades through to present day.

The highly secretive and insular nature of the Church has helped abuse to thrive, say former and current insiders who spoke to the BBC. It has many unwritten rules, including that followers must marry within the group and keep mixing with outsiders to a minimum.

The Church was founded in Ireland by a Scottish evangelist in 1897 and is built around ministers spreading New Testament teachings through word-of-mouth.

One of its hallmarks is that ministers give up their possessions and must be taken in by Church members as they travel around, spreading the gospel. This makes children living in the homes they visit vulnerable to abuse, the insiders said.

Warning: This article contains details some readers may find upsetting

Former Church member Michael Havet, 54, told the BBC he was abused by Robert Corfield in the 1980s, from the age of 12.

"People called me 'Bob's little companion' - I just felt dirty and still do," says Mr Havet, speaking from his home in Ottawa.

After abusing him, Mr Havet says Mr Corfield would force him to kneel beside him and pray.

"I had to work hard to get past that and find my prayer life again," he says.

When confronted about the child abuse allegations by the BBC, Mr Corfield admitted that they had taken place for about six years in the 1980s.

"I have to acknowledge that's true," he said."

"Revelations about the decadeslong abuse by a prominent SBC leader have led to fears that the denomination's sex-abuse reforms are doomed to fail."

"Gene Besen, a lawyer for the SBC, called Pressler, 93, a "monster" and "a dangerous predator" who leveraged his "power and false piety" to sexually abuse young men even as he was building his reputation as a conservative reformer."
"'Based on what I've been through, I should be in prison or dead,' Cameron Black '25 said.

Born into a cult led by his father, who proclaimed himself to be God, Black's early life in Sedona, Ariz. was anything but ordinary. This familial cult consisted of nine people and operated under unconventional religious and sexual practices, deeply entangled in manipulation and abuse, Black said.

"Don't try to make sense of it because it doesn't make sense," he said as he explained the cult's philosophy. "It's like my father combined the Bible, sci-fi books and 'The Matrix' into one big ball of crazy."

Describing his childhood, Black recounts harrowing experiences of physical and psychological torture at the hands of his father.

"Starting at 7 years old, for a few years, I would wake up at 2 a.m. to my father standing over me with a 45 caliber pistol or his machete, and he would 'fake' kill me," Black said.

Black's childhood was a continuous battle for survival. His father's abuse included being left outside naked in below freezing temperatures for hours, forced to exclusively eat smoothies made up of food from the trash and being routinely drowned starting at age 4.

During periods of forced starvation and isolation, Black would escape into other worlds through books. He would reread scenes where food was described in vivid detail, imagining himself eating the meals and becoming full.

"I didn't know any different, but I knew something was wrong," Black said."

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