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Monstrous Christian accused of abuse at N Carolina church

Monstrous Christian accused of abuse at N Carolina church

Jane Whaley, 77, above, who runs the Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina, with her husband Sam, stands accused in AP investigative report of running the church like a sadistic dictator.

Congregants, according to the AP’s Mitch Weiss, were regularly punched, smacked, choked, slammed to the floor or thrown through walls in a violent form of deliverance meant to “purify” sinners by beating out devils.

As part of its investigation, the AP reviewed hundreds of pages of law enforcement, court and child welfare documents, along with hours of conversations with Whaley.

The AP also spent more than a year tracking down dozens of former disciples who scattered after leaving the church. Many initially were reluctant to break their silence because they had hidden their pasts from new friends and colleagues – and because they remain afraid of Whaley.

Those interviewed – most of them raised in the church – say Word of Faith leaders waged a decades-long cover-up to thwart investigations by law enforcement and social services officials, including strong-arming young victims and their parents to lie. They said members were forbidden to seek outside medical attention for their injuries, which included cuts, sprains and cracked ribs.

Victims of the violence included pre-teens and toddlers – even crying babies, who were vigorously shaken, screamed at and sometimes smacked to banish demons.

Said Katherine Fetachu, 27, who spent nearly 17 years in the church.

I saw so many people beaten over the years. Little kids punched in the face, called Satanists.

The church responded yesterday by calling victims liars.

In a press release it said:

We are shocked and saddened to learn of the false allegations made against our church and its pastors by certain former members and reported in a recent Associated Press article authored by Mitch Weiss.

We do not condone or allow abuse – in any form – at our church. Period.

These false allegations were predominantly made by members of an extended family, with one of its members currently facing several legal battles, both civil and criminal.

We believe these allegations are carefully targeted and timed to prejudice the jury pool, put pressure on the judges and elected officials, and otherwise influence the public in an attempt to gain advantage in these legal cases …

False allegations have been made against our church in the past. Investigations at several levels of government have been conducted. We have been exonerated at every point … We remain hopeful that the public will see through these fabrications and see them for what they are.

Word of Faith Fellowship, an evangelical church with hundreds of members in North Carolina and branches in other countries, also subjected members to a practice called “blasting” – an ear-piercing verbal onslaught often conducted in hours-long sessions meant to cast out devils.

The former members said they were speaking out now due to guilt for not doing more to stop the abuse and because they fear for the safety of the children still in the church, believed to number about 100.

Several former followers said some congregants were sexually abused, including minors. In one recorded conversation, Whaley admits to being aware of the sexual assault of three boys but not reporting it to authorities.

Ex-members said the violence was ever-present: Minors were taken from their parents and placed in ministers’ homes, where they were beaten and blasted and sometimes completely cut off from their families for up to a decade. Some male congregants were separated from their families and other followers for up to a year and subjected to the same brutal treatment.

Teachers in the church’s K-12 school encouraged students to beat their classmates for daydreaming, smiling and other behavior that leaders said proved they were possessed by devils.

Said Rick Cooper, 61, a US Navy veteran who spent more than 20 years as a congregant and raised nine children in the church.

It wasn’t enough to yell and scream at the devils. You literally had to beat the devils out of people.

Word of Faith was founded in 1979 by Whaley, a petite former math teacher with a thick Southern accent, and her husband, Sam, a former used car salesman.

They are listed as co-pastors but all of those interviewed said it is Jane Whaley – a fiery Christian Charismatic preacher — who maintains dictatorial control of the flock and also administers some of the beatings herself.

She has scores of strict rules to control congregants’ lives, including whether they can marry or have children. At the top of the list: No one can complain about her or question her authority. Failure to comply often triggers a humiliating rebuke from the pulpit or, worse, physical punishment, according to most of those interviewed.

Under Jane Whaley’s leadership, Word of Faith grew from a handful of followers to a 750-member sect, concentrated in a 35-acre complex protected by tight security and a thick line of trees.

The group also has nearly 2,000 members in churches in Brazil and Ghana, and affiliations with branches in other countries.

Looking back, some former members told the AP they that consider Word of Faith a cult.

The church’s obsession with controlling sexual thoughts and “ungodly” carnal pleasure – especially lengthy interrogations of pre-teens and teens about masturbation – spilled into every aspect of congregants’ lives, the former members say.
And, they say, when allegations of sexual abuse arose within the church, Whaley not only didn’t report it but tried to hide it.

In 2012, in a three-hour conversation with a former congregant recorded without her knowledge, Whaley acknowledged she was aware of several instances of sexual abuse at Word of Faith.

In one case involving two boys, she said she failed to report the incident:

Because it had all stopped, and they were serving Jesus, and I found out about it way later.

She also said that:

Because of ministerial confidentiality, I don’t have to.

In this 2012 photo provided by a former member of the church, Word of Faith Fellowship leader Jane Whaley, centre, holds a baby with others during a church ceremony.

One of the former members interviewed by the AP said he was sexually assaulted by a church member in 2009, when he was 15. The man, whose name is not being used because the AP does not identify victims of sexual assault, said Whaley convinced him not to go to the authorities by telling him he would be forced to relive the terrible details in court.

Another former member said he was molested by a male church leader but was “too ashamed” and scared how Whaley would react to tell anyone. He said he saw the same leader inappropriately touch several male teens living in the minister’s house, but did not report those incidents for the same reasons.

According to court records, a church leader was convicted in 1995 of molesting a 13-year-old girl placed in his home. Of that victim, Whaley said on the 2012 recording

She was 13, but she looked 20.

Whaley recounted telling the local district attorney that the girl was partially responsible for the abuse because she previously had been sexually assaulted by a family member and others.

For several years, men and boys perceived as the worst sinners were kept in a four-room former storage facility in the compound called the Lower Building. They were cut off from their families for up to a year, never knew when they would be released, and endured especially violent, prolonged beatings and blastings, according to more than a dozen of those interviewed.

Two former members said a 20-year-old woman was repeatedly smacked and punched by a church leader who blamed her late menstrual cycle on pregnancy, when she hadn’t obtained church permission to have a child. In fact, the victim said she’d never had sex with her husband; they’d only kissed – once.

Said Rachael Bryant, 28, who left the church last year:

That was one of the worst beatings. She started punching her in the chest, punching her in the stomach, slapping her in the face. It went on and on.

Sixteen of the former members said they were hit or beaten by Whaley, including two who said she banged their heads against a wall repeatedly. Another 14 said they saw her smack or assault others – including grabbing crying babies at services and aggressively shaking them to drive away the demons.

Tim Cornelius, 44, a nurse who left in 2013 after more than 20 years in the church, said that in the eyes of Word of Faith leaders:

The baby isn’t hungry or needs to be changed. The baby is crying because they’re possessed by a devil.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

17 responses to “Monstrous Christian accused of abuse at N Carolina church”

  1. The truly monstrous Ms Whaley looks like a tranny. If she tried to ‘blast’ me for giving myself a quick hand job I’d bite the old bag’s fingers off!

  2. Cali Ron says:

    I pity the children who are raised by their deluded parents isolated from society and indoctrinated into this cult. As barriejohn can attest, when you grow up in a cult like this breaking free can be almost impossible and the psychological damage can never be undone. Jane Whaley needs to be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law possible.

  3. Luv the blue suit and bouffant hair. She looks like Maggie Thatcher. If found guilty of these heinous misdemeanours, this disgrace to her sex should be banged up in clink and the key thrown away. If ever she were to be released, she may–who knows?– attempt to imitate the Reverend Jim Jones! The risk is too great.

  4. L.Long says:

    Other than the helpless kids, I hope they all are in blissful joy over the pain for jesus. And may they suffer more so as they are all capable of leaving !

  5. Angela_K says:

    But, but, this repellent hag is doing god’s work and “bringing people to Jesus” and making millions of dollars, so that’s OK then – if you are a knuckle dragging, gun toting, religious nut of a Trump supporter.

  6. I think I may have seen Jane a few years’ ago on the Jerry Springer Show….”Tranny Lover Reveals All”, an episode ending in such total mayhem and grotesque violence that poor old Jerry shat his pants in terror. Cor blimey, she hasn’t aged well, has she?–now resembling nothing so much as the mummified remains of Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile. She’ll probably be featured soon on the Oprah Winfrey Show: “My Tranny Hell–A Survivor’s Story”. Lawks!

  7. Paul says:

    I can’t see anything wrong at all in her actions or in this statement.

    “(She) stands accused ……. of running the church like a sadistic dictator.”

    As that’s what the babble is full of.

  8. barriejohn says:

    Paul: The phrase “control freak” might have been invented for the Christians whom I knew. I’m just waiting for another goon to tell us that this is “just an isolated example” of such behaviour, after all that has been published on this site and others like it, just as I have been told over and over again that I have had “unfortunate experiences” at the hands of people who are in no way typical of the lovely Christians that one finds in the world. And, of course, only a teeny, weeny minority of Catholic priests ever abuse children. There’s nothing like ignoring all the evidence, but then if they looked at evidence they’d see that the “spiritual realm” doesn’t even exist anyway.

  9. Tom Bombadil says:

    She is clearly a balrog.

    http://wallpapercave.com/balrog-wallpaper

  10. Paul says:

    Barriejohn
    I’m not so sure they will say it’s ‘isolated’ as (for christianity) the incidents are too great and too voluminous to now make such a statement.
    I would predict :- is “well she’s a really wonderful person so I don’t believe that”.
    If they don’t won’t or can’t believe the evidence they won’t believe the truth.
    And if you click on their link – that’s more or less what their lawyers have said!

  11. barriejohn says:

    Paul: I know that that is what the guilty parties will say, but I was talking about all the apologists for these monsters, who know that the abuse goes on but continually assert that “faith” is a wonderful thing that could not possibly be responsible for such horrors. Just take a look at my link in the comments here to Bill Donohue’s statement, which alleges that only 0.01% of Catholic priests are abusers, IN FACE OF ALL THE EVIDENCE!

    http://freethinker.co.uk/2017/02/06/rcc-spokesman-in-tears-over-australian-abuse-revelations/

  12. Brian Jordan says:

    @MIss FR
    The truly monstrous Ms Whaley looks like a tranny.
    Luv the blue suit and bouffant hair. She looks like Maggie Thatcher.

    When I first saw her, my bleary eyes thought it was “Tarzan” Heseltine with a new hair do! Can’t you just imagine her crying “Aah-eeh-ah-eeh-aaaaaah-eeh-ah-eeh-aaaaah!” as she swings her victims through a wall?

  13. Broga says:

    Sadist obsessed with sex.

  14. remigius says:

    Why do little old ladies suddenly seem to be wearing big hair? It isn’t right. I remember when they preferred a more natural look – either pink or blue.

  15. Cali Ron says:

    remigius: Where have all the blue bouffant do’s gone? Hair fluffed out to enormous proportions and frozen in place with half a can of hairspray. I wonder how much ozone has been destroyed by women’s obsession with the “perfect” hairdo.

  16. Cali Ron says:

    Tom Bombadil: Love the name and the Balrog reference, but why do you insult Balrogs like that?. Tolkien fan.

  17. 1859 says:

    My heart goes out to the poor babe-in-arms, who doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance of growing up untainted, unbrainwashed by the oh-so-sanctimonious piety of the many adults around it. A really creepy picture.

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