Quote# 127752

A North Carolina minister "directed and participated in" the beating of a congregant who says the assault was meant to expel his "homosexual demons," a prosecutor said Thursday.

Prosecutor Garland Byers gave his opening statement in the trial of Brooke Covington, a 58-year-old a minister at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina.

Covington is the first of five church members to face trial in the case. Each defendant will be tried separately.

Covington is charged with kidnapping and assaulting former church member Matthew Fenner. If convicted, she faces up to two years in prison.

Fenner, 23, has said he was leaving a prayer service Jan. 27, 2013, when nearly two dozen people surrounded him in the sanctuary. He said they slapped, punched, choked and blasted him - a church practice that involves intense screaming - for two hours as they tried to expel his "homosexual demons."

During the assault, Fenner "thought he was going to pass out," Byers told the jury. "He was severely beaten."

Covington's lawyer, David Teddy, painted a different picture.

Teddy said the congregation gave Fenner routine prayer that lasted no longer than 15 to 20 minutes. When the prayer was over, Fenner "hugged everybody and left the church," Teddy said.

As part of an ongoing, two-year investigation into abuse of Word of Faith Fellowship congregants by church leaders, The Associated Press interviewed four former church members who say they witnessed Fenner being attacked.

Based on interviews with 43 former members, documents and secretly made recordings, the AP reported in February that Word of Faith Fellowship congregants 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.

Fenner said he joined the sect with his mother and brother in 2010. He fled after he said he was attacked.

"You can't imagine the emotional toll this has taken on my life. I had to put a lot of things on hold because of this. ... I can't do anything until this is over," Fenner previously told AP.

The defense had filed requests to move the trial out of Rutherford County, located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains midway between Charlotte and Asheville, due to years of negative publicity about the church's practices. As an alternative, the defense asked to have a jury brought in from another area.

Superior Court Judge Gary Gavenus denied those requests.

The AP's investigation also revealed that congregants were ordered by church leaders to lie to authorities investigating reports of abuse and that two assistant district attorneys and a veteran social worker were among those who coached congregants and their children on what to say to investigators. After the AP report, the prosecutors, including one who is a son-in-law of a church founder, left their jobs, and the social worker resigned.

The sect was founded in 1979 by Jane Whaley, a former math teacher, and her husband, Sam, a former used car salesman. Under Jane Whaley's leadership, Word of Faith Fellowship grew from a handful of followers to a 750-member congregation in North Carolina, and another nearly 2,000 members in churches in Brazil and Ghana. It also has affiliations in other countries.

Word of Faith Fellowship, EDGE Media Network 14 Comments [6/2/2017 12:40:11 AM]
Fundie Index: 7
Submitted By: Demon Duck of Doom

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Poofter bashers for the Lord. UGGGHH!

6/2/2017 1:16:01 AM


"Sam, a former used car salesman"

He just started selling a different type of snake oil.

6/2/2017 2:18:14 AM


Yeah, yeah "beating out the devil". You're not convincing anyone that you tried to help this man by "curing" him! You did that because you HATE homosexuals and want them do die! At least be honest!

6/2/2017 4:16:25 AM

Doubting Thomas

These people are just a bunch of superstitious fucking barbarians living in the 12th century who haven't yet realized that you can't just beat the gay out of someone.

Teddy said the congregation gave Fenner routine prayer that lasted no longer than 15 to 20 minutes. When the prayer was over, Fenner "hugged everybody and left the church," Teddy said.

Careful, Teddy, lying is one of the big no-nos.

6/2/2017 5:07:54 AM


Someone needs to expel the demons of homophobia.

There is no excuse or place for this kind of superstitious barbarism in the twenty-first century. Charge every single one of the people who participated in this with first-degree assault with a hate-crime enhancement, and charge every onlooker who did nothing with aiding and abetting a crime.

6/2/2017 5:23:06 AM

Mister Spak

But we don't hate sodomites.

6/2/2017 5:46:19 AM


Well, I suppose it could be worse. The guy's alive, at least...

Sad that I have to say that. These people are royally screwed up.

6/2/2017 5:55:25 AM

The Crimson Ghost

What a peaceful, tolerant religion.

6/2/2017 7:54:36 AM

Thinking Allowed

I started to wonder why nobody who wasn't directly involved in the beating said "Stop!". Then it occurred to me that due to cult thinking, if someone did, they themselves risked going through the same thing. This wasn't to "expel demons", it was a form of control of the group.

6/2/2017 8:04:05 AM


See, this is why I hate organized religion. It's just a means for the strong, manipulative ones to control the weak, numerous ones for their own selfish desires. And should you try to break from the collective, this happens.

Doesn't mean I hate religion per se, but where can you truly draw the line between organized religions and dangerous cults these days? 'Cause honestly, I don't think I can anymore.

Also, on a side note, aren't they in court supposed to swear on their bible to tell the truth? Says how much they truly value their commandments and holy book...

6/2/2017 9:05:37 AM

Demon Duck of Doom

Fuck it, shut 'em down. The cult is a danger to society.

6/2/2017 10:06:29 AM


6/2/2017 10:10:47 AM


I think this answers my question on why a lot of exorcisms are violent when they shouldn't be....they're horrible acts of violence with "exorcism" as an excuse/cover story.

This story proves it.

I used to be one of those "Charismatic Christian" types and "Deliverance Ministries"....as bogus and hair-brained as they are....never involved violence. Just a lot of "laying on of hands", praying, chanting, singing, etc.

Then you have idiots like this who beat people up!

These guys in the above story just wanted to beat up Gay people.

I hope these bashers get beat up with THE LAW!

6/2/2017 10:14:23 AM

So basically he wanted to assault homosexuals and used this as a cover. Not too different from other groups known for being homophobic. I wouldn't be surprised to find out he would want them killed not unlike Daesh wants

6/2/2017 9:02:54 PM

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