4 Jan 2011

Pentecostal internet cult leader in Australia faces trial for multiple counts of sexual assault

Ballina Shire Advocate - Australia October 13, 2010

Cult leader trial for sex assault

THE leader of a religious group based at Upper Orara has been committed to stand trial facing multiple sexual assault allegations.

Anthony Scott Williams, the local overseer of Pentecostal group Senior Christian Assemblies International, has pleaded not guilty to 23 counts of aggravated sexual assault, indecent assault and sexual intercourse without consent.

Police allege the 66-year-old pastor committed the acts against former male members of the church between 1982 and 2007 in Coffs Harbour, Upper Orara, Sandy Beach, Bondi, Tweed Heads and Byron Bay.

Since his arrest in June, last year, Williams has been granted conditional bail to reside at the Upper Orara church headquarters on Wayper Creek Road.

His case has been referred to the district court for hearing.

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For more details on this story see the following article archived on this site:

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    By Caro Meldrum-Hanna and Janine Cohen, ABC News Four Corners, Australia July 28, 2014

    He is a self-styled evangelist who told his followers he was The Anointed One, chosen by God to convert the world to his beliefs.

    Anyone who didn't follow his word was told they would burn in hell, that he held the key to their salvation on judgement day.

    In reality, Scott Williams was a cult leader who used his own brand of religion to warp biblical scripture in the pursuit of sex, money and power.

    Scott Williams left Australia 38 years ago, converting hundreds of young people throughout Europe. On the outside, life appeared happy. But now, former cult members reveal to Four Corners a lifetime of secretive abuse, misplaced worship and horrifying punishments carried out under the guise of obedience to 'The Overseer', Scott Williams. Their stories are so shocking, their brainwashing so profound, it is almost unbelievable. As one former member explained:

    "It's not simple to walk out. No. I wish I could. I tried. I tried a few times. It's a curious web and it was like he's the spider and he's got you there and you can't get out of the bloody spider web."

    This week, reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna investigates the rise of Scott Williams and his incredible path around the world and back to Australia, exposing how he created a hell on earth for many followers. Controlling almost everything they did, members say they were threatened, beaten, subjected to horrifying and bizarre sexual rituals - and even their children were taken away and given to others to raise for a time.

    All the while, Scott Williams amassed a fortune from his members.

    Finally, the police caught up with him - but would Scott Williams be brought to justice? And how can his Assembly still be operating in Australia?

    Following a four year investigation by Meldrum-Hanna, the story of Scott Williams can be told thanks to a group of courageous, key former members. Brutalised and abused, they eventually broke free from the cult. And now they break their silence publically for the first time and tell of their tormented years following the book according to Scott.

    CULT OF HORRORS, reported by Caro Meldrum-Hanna and presented by Kerry O'Brien, goes to air on Monday 28th July on ABC at 8.30 pm. It is repeated on Tuesday 29th July at 11.00 am and 11.35 pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00 pm, at ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.


  2. ABC investigation reveals claims of abuse in NSW cult

    by Alexandra Back, The Sydney Morning Herald July 28, 2014

    Self-appointed religious guru Pastor Scott Williams used his NSW-based pseudo-Christian cult to run a homosexual sex ring and steal money from his followers, a four-year ABC investigation has revealed.

    Four Corners spoke to more than a dozen men who say Williams compelled them to perform sex acts.

    Former member Gunther Frantz says he was 12 year-old when he first started to be indoctrinated in Williams' organisation, the Christian Assemblies International.

    He told the ABC how Williams would be in the centre of a group being touched by a male member of the cult.

    "I think the biggest one I ever remember was 80 males in rooms covered only in naked bodies, and everybody giving massages," he said. "And Scott always had his personal private room with one or two at the end of any of those sessions. And then at two o'clock he sends everybody out of the room and out of everywhere else and he usually picks somebody to stay with him, to get more training."

    Mr Frantz said Williams had brainwashed him, telling them that "anyone who is not within the church is a heathen who is going to burn in hell, and they either convert or die, and you have nothing to do with them".

    He and other former members say the group is not a religion, but a shocking cult that abuses its followers and that does not deserve its charitable status in Australia.

    Members were also told to donate 10 per cent of their income to the Assemblies as part of their membership in the group.

    The group is a registered charity in Australia.

    It started in the German town of Feldafin in the 1970s, its headquarters are now in Coffs Harbour.

    Williams and other senior members of the group declined the ABC's requests for interviews.

    The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, the national charity regulator, has pledged to investigate the allegations.

    see photo at:


  3. Four Corners cult case highlights need for charity watchdog: Senator Nick Xenophon

    BY DANUTA KOZAKI Yahoo!7 News Australia July 29, 2014

    The case of a registered charity under investigation for alleged misuse of funds and sexual abuse shows the need for an independent regulator, independent Senator Nick Xenophon has said.

    The comments followed the ABC's Four Corners program on the Christian Assemblies International organisation in Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales mid-north coast.

    Mr Xenophon said the case showed the "foolishness" of the Federal Government's plans to abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

    "It would mean that organisations that are behaving unethically, that are dodgy, would still be getting taxpayer funding in effect due to [their] tax-free status," he said.

    The Federal Government's options paper for the future of Australia's Charities and Not-for-Profits said the Government was "committed to introducing effective replacement arrangements to reduce the burden of regulation on the civil society sector".

    That could include "self reporting requirements and returning determination of charitable status to the Australian Tax Office", the paper said.

    ACNC commissioner Susan Pascoe said she could not comment on specific cases, but the commission had dealt with about 900 complaints in its 18 months of operation.

    "About 60 of those have translated into very serious cases that we've followed through," she said.

    Reverend Tim Costello, from the Community Council for Australia, said some charities could slip through the cracks if the national watchdog was abolished.

    The council represents about 80 major charities, including the RSPCA and World Vision Australia, of which Rev Costello is chief executive.

    He said most of the sector was dismayed by the proposal, which he said would generate more red tape.

    "For the first time, the charitable sector, which is worth $100 billion and is second only in employment to retail in Australia, actually has a one-stop shop where they can investigate," he said.

    "They can compare apples with apples, rather than being [managed by] the Australian Tax Office, which is where we'll go back to if [the commission] is abolished."

    No-one was available for comment from Christian Assemblies International.