Calgary rapist used victim's phone to record sex assault, posted video to Facebook
Drayton Dwayne Preston broke into the bedroom of a 17-year-old Calgary girl who was passed out after partying with friends, raped her and then returned an hour later to sexually assault her twice more, while using her phone to take photos and video, which he posted to Facebook.
By The Associated Press
VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican has removed the suspended Guam archbishop from office and ordered him not to return to the Pacific island after convicting him of some charges in a sex abuse trial. The Vatican didn't say what exactly Archbishop Anthony Apuron had been convicted of, and the sentence was far lighter than those given high-profile elderly prelates found guilty of molesting minors.
It amounts to an early retirement anywhere in the world but Guam, a remote U.S. Pacific territory where almost everyone is Roman Catholic. Apuron is 72, while the Vatican retirement age is 75.
The Vatican spokesman would not elaborate on the announcement. Calls placed to the tribunal judge weren't answered.
Apuron's whereabouts weren't immediately known, but his Guam attorney, Jacqueline Terlaje, released a statement from him: "While I am relieved that the tribunal dismissed the majority of the accusations against me, I have appealed the verdict. God is my witness; I am innocent and I look forward to proving my innocence in the appeals process."
Pope Francis named a temporary administrator for Guam in 2016 after Apuron was accused by former altar boys of sexually abusing them when he was a priest. Dozens of cases involving other priests on the island have since come to light, and the archdiocese is facing more than $115 million in lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by priests.
Apuron strongly denied the charges and said he was a victim of a "calumny" campaign. He wasn't criminally charged. The statute of limitations had expired.
A statement from the tribunal in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Friday (March 16) said Apuron had been convicted of some of the accusations against him. The congregation is the agency that handles sex abuse cases.
Under an appeal, the penalties could be suspended until the case is resolved. However, it's not clear whether that has happened now that Apuron has indicated he has appealed.
In the past, when an elderly or infirm priest has been convicted by the Vatican of sexually abusing minors, he has often been removed from ministry and sentenced to a lifetime of "penance and prayer." Younger priests convicted of abuse have been defrocked, removed from ministry or forbidden from presenting themselves as priests.
Francis, however, has intervened in a handful of cases to lower sentences. Several high-ranking Vatican prelates oppose defrocking convicted molesters and have long lobbied for more lenient sentences.
In the case of Apuron, no restrictions on his ministry as a priest were announced. An ailing Apuron greeted Francis at the pope's Feb. 7 general audience.
Apuron is one of the highest-ranking churchmen to be convicted by a Vatican sex abuse tribunal. His rank as archbishop might have played a role in his seemingly light sentence.
Assuming the evidence against him was grave and credible, the Vatican might still have been reluctant to remove him from the clerical state, as it has done in hundreds of cases of defrocked priestly abusers, because Apuron would still remain a bishop theologically speaking, said Kurt Martens, professor of canon law at Catholic University of America in Washington. That means he could continue ordaining priests -- ordinations that would be considered illicit but still valid -- a schismatic conflict the Vatican would want to avoid.
Catholics on Guam have been convulsed by the Apuron scandal, with weekly protests demanding his ouster. One of the former altar servers who accused Apuron of molesting him said he felt relieved by the Vatican's announcement.
"The verdict was what we were hoping for," Roland Sondia said from Guam. "I think the fact that he won't be able to return to the island is justice." While The Associated Press doesn't typically name victims of sex abuse, Sondia has come forward publicly identifying himself as one of Apuron's accusers.
The attorney for the victims said he was overjoyed with the outcome. "We're ecstatic. It's a justified verdict," David Lujan said.
Archbishop Michael Byrnes issued a statement early Saturday afternoon, also praising the decision. "It is a monumental marker in our journey toward healing as one church, one people in God. I pray that all people would embrace this call for healing," Byrnes said.
The accusations against Apuron also involved grave financial problems in the archdiocese and the purchase of a valuable property by Apuron for a diocesan seminary that he actually turned over to a controversial Catholic movement.
A lay group that agitated for Apuron's removal, Concerned Catholics of Guam, pushed for an investigation into the archdiocesan seminary, which Apuron opened in 1999 and moved to an 18-acre property thanks to a $2 million anonymous donation. A Vatican-backed inquiry found the property's control had effectively been transferred to Neocatechumenal Way administrators without Vatican approval.
The seminary controversy came to a head when the Carmelite order of religious sisters disclosed it had provided the $2 million donation. The order said the money had been intended for an archdiocesan seminary to train diocesan priests, not a Neocatechumenal Way seminary to train missionaries. In a remarkable 2016 news conference to denounce the transfer, Carmelite Mother Superior Dawn Marie announced that her small community of nuns had left the island after a 50-year presence because of the "toxic environment" created by the controversy.
Melinda Burke, a parishioner of Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica -- Guam's mother church where Apuron is pastor-- said she was worried about Apuron's health when she heard he was found guilty. "I love him very much," she said. "Archbishop Apuron has a very beautiful, Christ-like side."
Mark Mendiola, 41, said news of Apuron's verdict spread like wildfire on social media overnight. "I was glad a decision was made," he said. "It will bring closure for some people."
Mendiola, who is not Catholic yet attends Mass at a nearby village church and also attends occasional rosary prayers for families and friends, said he's never seen the Catholic Church this divided. "Somebody needs to bring it back together."
Not until the swamp is drained!
Twelve new victims of child sex abuse have come forward in Telford after it emerged over 1,000 young girls could have been targeted there since the 1980s.
West Mercia Police confirmed a 'small number of victims' have come forward after wide scale reports of child sexual exploitation in the Shropshire town.
One of them was picked up off the street and passed around so many men, when she fell pregnant at 13, she didn't know who the father was, reports The Mirror.
It comes after the force claimed the scale of child sex crimes there had been 'sensationalised', despite Prime Minister Theresa May insisting on a full inquiry into the scandal.
Assistant Chief Constable Martin Evans confirmed 56 people have been arrested in Telford since 2016 in relation to 29 child sex charges.
Victims who came forward this week have reported non-recent crimes, he added.
One of the 12 victims told the Mirror she had a hard home life and was raped by a Pakistani man who was 'charming at first'.
She told the newspaper: 'I tried to fight him off but not long afterwards he passed me to his friends. By 13, I was pregnant and the father could have been any one of 20 men.'
'The abuse didn't stop when I gave birth, in fact it got worse.'
'Being abused by gangs of men just seemed part of teenage life in Telford.'
He said yesterday: 'Following the recent media coverage in relation to child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Telford, a small number of victims have contacted West Mercia Police.
'We are pleased they have had the confidence to come forward and we are ensuring their reports are thoroughly investigated and the appropriate support is in place for them.
'In Telford alone, the dedicated Child Sexual Exploitation Team based in the town, have since 2016, arrested 56 people, resulting in 29 charges, with a number of these investigations still ongoing. We invest a significant amount of resource in trying to identify offenders and bring them to justice for the crimes they commit.'
'The CSE reports we have received this week relate to non-recent child sexual exploitation offences and we will be reviewing them alongside any other available information, ensuring those reporting abuse are fully supported.'
New victim testimonies come after Conservative MP for Telford Lucy Allan demanded a comprehensive Government inquiry into child sex abuse in her constituency.
She brought the issue up at Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday and said she had been 'inundated' with emails from potential victims saying it had happened to them.
Speaking yesterday, she said: 'All parties are now agreed that an inquiry is necessary and this can now go ahead.'
'While it would be expected that such an inquiry will take the form of a 'Rotherham style' inquiry, as this is a tried and tested model, there may well be alternative models that would work just as well.
'What really matters is that an independent inquiry is going to take place. This is vital for the victims, their families and our community. It will enable us to find out why this happened.'
The Home Office has said its overall inquiry into child sexual abuse will look at Telford, but it is down to local council and police whether a further review on the town itself is necessary. Ms Allan is pushing Telford and Wrekin Council to commission a separate report, but the local authority wants it approved by the Government first.
One victim, who was conceived when her mother was just 14 and her father 26, this week called for him to be banned from Telford when he gets out of prison.
Azhar Ali Mehmood was jailed for murdering the mother of his child, Lucy Lowe, her mother Eileen and sister Sarah by setting fire to their house in 1997.
During the first full year of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s term in office, reports of child sex offenses jumped by over 30 percent, recently released figures revealed.
Overall, approximately 3,200 reports of child exploitation or sexual abuse, including reports of children “feared to be at risk,” were made in London last year, according to the London Evening Standard.
The numbers came out even as Barnardo’s, the largest children’s charity in the U.K., launched a new program aimed at assisting child victims of rape and serious sexual assaults in two London boroughs, the Evening Standard reported.
The pilot program, called “TIGER,” has already come to the aid of 22 young victims, and the organization hoped to expand the outreach throughout London.
The program seeks to assist victims by helping them “learn how to cope with traumatic memories instead of avoiding them,” the Evening Standard reported.
“It’s not enough just to teach children about child sexual abuse and exploitation,” Jessica Juon, assistant director of children’s services at Barnardo’s London, told the Evening Standard. “They need to feel safe.”
“Children who have been sexually exploited can feel completely powerless,” she added, “and being raped or sexually assaulted often causes debilitating levels of trauma.”
The U.K. has been rocked in recent years by scandals involving “child grooming” in Telford and Rotherham, but police said they had found no evidence of such behavior in London.
But then, if you are not looking for it, you will surely never find it.
That said, London police were said to be investigating “child sexual exploitation linked to gangs.” They had also noted a “grooming gang preying on girls” near a McDonald’s restaurant in Stratford.
“Child sexual exploitation is a real priority for us and we are getting better at looking for it and dealing with it and we are encouraging people to come forward,” Detective Superintendent Steve Ellen said.
Barnardo’s and London’s Metropolitan Police Service held a conference Friday to raise public awareness of the problem of child sexual exploitation, but Scotland Yard could not explain why the number of reports was rising.
A representative was unsure as to whether more crimes were occurring, or whether a larger percentage of them were being reported to authorities.
Or, most likely, both explanations are true.
There was no immediate word as to whether Mayor Khan attended the conference.
By Geraldine McKelvie; Nick Sommerlad; James Cartledge
A woman has lifted the lid on her horrific abuse as a teenager - and said she was raped by nine men in just one night as a 14-year-old.
The victim, now in her 30s, was among those caught up in the Telford abuse scandal, revealed by the Mirror .
She said she went to school "like nothing had happened" the day after the multiple attacks and was later trafficked to Birmingham for more abuse.
The unnamed victim was snared by evil paedophile Shahzad 'Keith' Khan, who operated a child sex ring from an empty council property where he subjected dozens of youngsters to terrifying ordeals, the Mirror reported.
According to police statements and the victim's testimony, Khan made up to £2,000 a night selling her for sex with scores of men.
She was even sexually abused within hours of having an abortion.
She said: "I was already being abused and I didn't understand what was happening to me. "No one talked about grooming back then, or showed us how to spot the signs.
"I first met Keith in the street and he told me because I had a reputation anyway I might as well get paid for it. He told me about all of these older girls I knew from school and how they were doing it too and making loads of money."
It was the beginning of a three-year ordeal which left the young victim suicidal and broken.
She described being forced to have sex with multiple men in restaurants, houses and fast food joints and even being trafficked to Birmingham for more abuse.
The girl said: "One night, I was taken to a takeaway and forced to have sex with nine men in a row. I just switched off. As one man raped me, the next one would be queueing up on the stairs.
"The next day, I went to school like nothing had happened."
She told how Khan would loiter in betting shops looking for men who had won cash before offering his teenage sex slave to them for money. He charged "clients" up to £200 for sex but, after taking his cut and charging expenses like petrol, would leave his victim with £30.
Khan would punish her if the men did not finish quickly while he waited outside in his black Mercedes.
Eventually, when she was 18, the girl escaped to Birmingham after she overdosed in an unsuccessful suicide bid.
Police were tipped off about Khan as far back as 1996 but he was allowed to run his 'Rape House' for years. He regularly picked up one sex slave outside a local police station.
Mirror investigators discovered Khan was reported to police over sex abuse fears in the mid 1990s. Officers were tipped off by a female neighbour who believed he was selling young girls in the town for sex. She had seen him take a 12-year-old girl from a children’s home into a car.
The neighbour said: "I told a police officer at Donnington Police Station what Khan was doing. I even told them that he’d offered my brother sex with an underage girl. Nothing was done. They told me they couldn’t prosecute him as they’d never have enough evidence. I got the feeling they were brushing me off."
He was later reported to officers by a child sex victim whose police case files have been seen by our team. But no charges were brought against Khan.
Khan died in 2015 aged 61 without ever having faced justice over the sex abuse ring.
He had targeted girls as early as 1981, shortly after moving to Britain from Pakistan.
Khan, then in his 20s, was known to have prowled the streets with a fellow alleged sex offender. He targeted a 15-year-old girl and went on to have children with her.
The girl sold for £2,000 a night never saw justice. In 2010, she spoke to a team of officers linked to Operation Chalice, which had identified around 100 victims and almost 200 suspected abusers. But despite the scale of the probe a group prosecution in 2012 led to the jailing of just seven men.
Khan's victim gave so much detail on her ordeal at the hands of more than 100 men that she was given her own investigation team under Operation Signal.
But this collapsed before charges could be brought before a court.
Good police work!
A group of young Egyptians launched a graduation project that turned into a public campaign on sexual abuse of children in Egypt.
The students, who are studying at the Integrated Marketing Communications department, were asked last November to work on a social project for their graduation thesis. After many discussions, the group of seven decided to select child sexual abuse as the theme of their project. Believing that such abuse can occur within just a moment, they named their project "Lahza,” Arabic for “moment.”
"Other colleagues decided to work on various topics such as animal abuse and the rights of the disabled. But we decided to make our mission harder by tackling a topic that is considered taboo," Alia El Goan, the co-founder of Lahza, told Al-Monitor.
Lahza has several targets. It aims to raise children's awareness on what constitutes abuse and to offer support for the children who have been abused. The project also trains parents and teachers on how to detect this abuse early and how to deal with abused children.
After organizing some events inside and outside the university campus and analyzing the public response, the founders realized that the project filled a need and attracted public interest. Therefore, they decided to turn their project into something that would continue after they submitted it in December.
Goan said early in the project, they searched official statistics about the prevalence of child sexual abuse not only nationwide but worldwide. “Frankly speaking, we failed to come up with accurate figures in Egypt since the victims and their families do not report such sexual abuse," she added.
Therefore, the campaign founders resorted to international statistics. According to the US Department of Justice's National Sex Offender Public Website, as many as one out of four girls and one out of six boys have experienced some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18. "After conducting our local surveys, we found out that these figures are close to [the situation on the ground in Egypt]," Goan said.
Lahza surveyed 300 people, all of whom replied on condition of anonymity. "We found most of the victims were exposed to sexual abuse between the ages of 7 and 13. They were sexually assaulted during their childhood by family members, close friends, personal drivers and others," she said.
The campaign’s official Facebook page posted the story of one of the female victims, now in her 20s. She wrote, "I can't remember how old I was at the time. But I remember coming back from school. I went into the bedroom where my grandfather was sleeping. But I never would have expected what came next. I was scared, I kept quiet because I couldn't denounce my grandfather. I feared no one would believe me."
Besides the survey, the campaign founders interviewed four victims whom they know personally. "After such research, we found out that child sexual abuse has nothing to do with social class. It took place at both public and international schools and all social brackets," Goan said.
After finishing the required research, the campaign team launched their first event on Nov. 27, called "Education Makes a Difference," at their university to highlight education's essential role in combating sexual abuse.
"The aim of this event was to know our colleagues' reactions toward talking in public about this issue. After getting a huge response, we decided to take to the streets and shopping malls to approach the public," Goan noted. “We targeted both parents and children for multiple reasons: to defy social norms that always blame the victims and to teach parents how to protect their children and how to deal with their children if they are exposed to such horrible experiences."
On Dec. 13, they went to one of Egypt's major shopping malls. Under the theme “Narrate Your Story,” the founders gave passersby copies of the stories of child sexual abuse narrated by those who had responded to the survey. Their aim was to see whether the public would ignore or deny the existence of sexual abuse.
“To our surprise, people reacted positively to the event and admitted the existence of this phenomenon with some of them saying, 'Yes, I experienced that,'" Goan said.
After this successful event, the founders focused on raising children's awareness on abuse by working with Safe, an Egyptian nongovernmental organization (NGO) that provides the required support for victims of child sexual abuse. “We visited private schools with Safe to raise kids' awareness of this issue through interesting activities," she said. At the schools, Goan tells parents and teachers, "You can either choose to let sexual abuse leave its mark on your children or educate them. The choice is yours.”
The founders of Lahza also published tips for parents to enhance their awareness. "There are certain signs that parents should take into consideration to recognize their child has been sexually assaulted. Depression, increased nightmares and children's refusal to stay alone with certain individuals are the key signs," Goan said.
Randa Fakhr el-Din, the head of the Union Against Harmful Practices on Women and Children, said there is no accurate number of victims of child sexual abuse in Egypt since many families do not report the abuse.
"We received many miserable stories about this issue at the union. Most of the cases we have dealt with took place within families. The youngest victim was only 2 years old. This is very alarming," Fakhr el-Din told Al-Monitor.
Regarding the steps taken by the NGOs to combat this problem, Fakhr el-Din said that the penalties for child abuse were increased. Last January, the Egyptian parliament approved new amendments to the Egyptian Penal Code on child abuse, imposing heavier penalties for sexual abuse of children and the death penalty or life imprisonment for child abduction if the kidnapped child was also sexually abused.
"Deterrent penalties, of course, are very important. But what is more important is to combat ignorance and raise public awareness of this issue. In my opinion negligence is the key reason for exposing children to sexual abuse. Therefore, teaching parents how to take care of their children is a top priority. I hope more initiatives and campaigns would be launched to combat this phenomenon," she added.
After launching many events at private schools and shopping malls, Goan said they hope to address lower income classes in the upcoming period. "Surely, these brackets must be targeted since cultural stereotypes are deeply rooted there. This requires more efforts and funds," Goan added.
Presently, the campaign is funded by the seven founders. "We have prepared TV and radio ads. But as we have no financial means, the broadcast of these ads was delayed. But soon, we will broadcast them. We will complete our mission and never lose hope."
Great work, you guys. Keep it up. God bless you!
DETECTIVES have launched an investigation into a religious sex cult operating in Scotland, we can reveal today.
Police Scotland confirmed an inquiry into the Children of God cult, which operated around the country in the 1980s and ’90s.
The inquiry can be revealed just weeks after Alexander Watt, the first British member of the cult to stand trial for child sex abuse, was convicted in Scotland.
In a harrowing interview, his daughter Verity Carter today breaks her silence to reveal her years of abuse in Children of God communities around Scotland.
The cult was founded in 1960s California by David Berg, whose teachings encouraged sexual relations between children and adults. He died in 1994 while on the run from the FBI.
Detective Chief Superintendent Lesley Boal yesterday confirmed an “ongoing investigation” into the Children of God.
My Hell on Earth
A sex cult survivor has spoken for the first time about the abuse she suffered while growing up in the notorious Children of God sect. Verity Carter was repeatedly raped and abused, forced on to the streets to trick people into donating money and taught how to conceal her torment from social workers and teachers.
Verity, now a 38-year-old Edinburgh mum, said: “My earliest memories are from the age of four, being abused by my own father. He would touch me and kiss me in a way that made me feel so uncomfortable. I would cry and beg him not to.
“If I complained, I was told that I must have a demon inside me because sex was love, and love was what God wanted us to show each other. I was not even old enough to go to school at that point but there was far worse to come.”
Verity was brought up until the age of 15 in the Children of God, which was started by David Brandt Berg in California in 1968. By 1972, there were 130 communities scattered throughout the world, and in Scotland operated in Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Edinburgh.
Hollywood actors Rose McGowan and Joaquin Phoenix were among those born into the cult. They have talked about their early childhood experiences in the sect which has since changed its name to The Family International.
Berg, who went on the run after the FBI launched an investigation into sex abuse, liked to be called Moses, or Mo, and preached a distorted Biblical rhetoric which, they claimed, justified their abuse of women and children.
Verity said: “My father, at least, did not rape me and would often even be ‘kind’ to me."
“The worst abuses, the rapes and numerous sexual assaults, came from others within the communes we were forced to live in around Scotland, right under the noses of the authorities."
“I can remember all their faces still, but the cult was very clever. Most did not use their real names, but the names they were given, usually Biblical.
“I was called Rejoice, although I had little to rejoice in.”
Berg, a bearded Californian preacher, demanded women go into communities as “bait” to engage men in sex to draw them into the cult, a former practice known as “flirty fishing”.
Verity said: “Those women would get pregnant and their children would be known as ‘Jesus babies’, and growing up I met a number of them. The outside world was referred to a ‘systemites’ and we were taught as soon as we could talk that they were not to be trusted.
“Our homes were filled with pornographic pictures and teachings from Grandpa David, and the systemites were never to see them or we were warned we would all be taken away from our families, put into children’s homes and probably murdered."
“We were just children, but we were told it was our responsibility if our cover was blown. We had to present ourselves to the public at all times as happy smiley children who loved God, nothing else. If anyone asked questions, we were told to say we loved God and we wanted to be missionaries.
“The truth was that unspeakable things were being done to us in the name of a perverted old man cashing in on the money we’d be sent out to collect most days.
“On a good day, I could collect up to £400 by smiling and just asking people if they loved God. I was too young and naïve to question it, but I wonder where all the millions of pounds collected all over the world ended up.”
Verity was only briefly sent to school – cult leaders feared teachers would discover what was going on – and if an inspector was to call at their community, incriminating evidence would be hidden in advance.
She said: “I was taken out of school because the elders thought I might blurt out something and bring unwanted attention. My mother taught me and we’d get home visits from inspectors, but they were woefully inadequate. We’d know when the inspectors were coming, all the pornographic books were hidden away and we’d be cleaned up and rehearsed what to say until we were word perfect."
“The school inspectors, social workers, and doctors who all saw us, were all fooled. Nobody seemed to want to ask questions and risk asking something that might ‘upset’ our religion. None of us dared say anything that would cause concern or we’d be beaten and punished for weeks.”
Berg’s teachings were often issued in the form of comic style books, with topics such as “The Woman Who Wouldn’t”, a tale warning of dreadful punishment for a women who refused to have sex. Other teachings included ‘God Loves Sex … The Devil Hates It’, and Berg would state that Hitler was an ‘avenging angel’ helping rid God of ‘bad people.’
Verity added: “I was told I wouldn’t live beyond 10, that I was an End Time Soldier, and it would be our glorious destiny to be raped and tortured in the name of God.”
She said other cult members would regularly visit, and they were “drilled” to be able to evacuate a home within minutes, with a bag ready packed, leaving nothing behind for the “systemites” to use against the cult.
Sandy Brindley of Rape Crisis Scotland, who has supported Verity, said: “Changes to the law which allow child abusers to be pursued by UK authorities in other jurisdictions represent a step forward. However it’s important to recognise such crimes occur much closer to home on a regular basis.”
In 1989, Verity’s father, Alex Watt, left the cult, leaving his children with their mother, who remained a member. Verity said she continued to suffer years of abuse until, at the age of 15, she could stand it no longer.
She said: “Something inside me snapped. I refused to allow the sexual abuse to continue. I had a huge row with my mother and the elders. I was terrified. But I knew I could not continue living like that.”
“I sincerely hope that by speaking out others may find the courage to come forward too and shine a light on what really happened. It cannot happen again.”
Her father Alexander Watt, 68, of Ayrshire, was sentenced at Paisley Sheriff Court last month after admitting four charges of sexually abusing Verity and another child. The father of 10 was given 240 hours of community work, ordered to attend a rehabilitation course and placed on the Sex Offenders Register.
Prosecutor David McDonald said: “Publicly available information of the organisation, which is also supported by the complainers and witnesses in this case, suggest this was a ‘sex cult’. The organisation believed in ‘free love’. There appears to have been no strictures on sex, regardless of age or relationship.”
Defence lawyer Joe Barr said: “His plea of guilty is sincere, regretful, and apologetic. He left the cult in 1989.”
But he left his wife and children there!!!
Expert Ian Haworth, of the Cult Information Centre, said: “This is the first criminal prosecution of the Children of God members I have heard of but hopefully not the last.”
Police Scotland’s senior child abuse officer, Detective Chief Superintendent Lesley Boal, said: “Due to an ongoing investigation into reports linked to the Children of God group we are unable to make any specific comment. We would encourage anybody who has been the victim of abuse to contact the police.
“Within our local and national child abuse investigation units we have specialist officers who will listen and robustly investigate reports of child abuse no matter who was involved, where it took place or when it happened.”
Self-styled guru died on run from FBI
The Children of God cult was the creation of Californian David Berg in the late 1960s.
By the 1980s the cult claimed to have 10,000 full-time members in 130 communities around the world.
Hollywood stars Rose McGowan, River and Joaquin Pheonix were born into the cult.
McGowan’s parents Terry and Daniel, were involved with the cult in Italy but quit when the sect began openly advocating sexual relations between children and adults.
The actress, 44, spent her first nine years in the cult and has described how she began to rebel against them.
“Like in most cults, you were cut off. There were no newspapers, no television. You were kept in the dark so you would obey. It was not a wealthy existence."
“I remember watching how the cult’s men were with the women, and at a very early age I decided I did not want to be like those women. They were basically there to serve the men sexually.”
The cult eventually came to the attention of the FBI and Berg, under investigation for incest and child abuse, went on the run. He was still a fugitive from the FBI when he died in 1994 in Portugal.
Berg’s own daughter Debbie also escaped, revealing she had been abused by her father. Bad publicity forced the cult to repeatedly change its name, first to The Family and later to The Family International. After Berg’s death, one of his wives, Karen Zerby, took over the running of the organisation.
They say the organisation is now an online network of approximately 1900 people in 80 countries.
A spokesman said: “Although the Family International has apologised on a number of occasions to former members for any hurt, real or perceived, that they may have experienced during their membership, we do not give credence to tales of institutionalised abuse.”
Of course you don't. You don't believe child rape is abuse!
Police officers investigating the child sex abuse scandal in Telford have revealed that courts orders against more then 20 suspects were discarded.
The victims of the abuse were failed because the cases were allegedly 'too much trouble'.
The horrified officers also believe that more convictions would have been made if the abuse cases in Telford were linked to each other at the time.
The officers revealed the 'huge' scale of the abuse, coming forward after Superintendent Tom Harding, of West Mercia Police, cast doubt on reports that victims could number 1,000.
It comes as West Mercia Police confirmed a 'small number of victims' have come forward in the wake of the reports.
One whistleblower told the Sunday Mirror: 'I don't think it's beyond the realms of possibility at all. I wouldn't be surprised. It was the tip of the iceberg.'
The officers said police were overwhelmed by the scale of the abuse and that, in one case, a derelict building near Birmingham was filled with women that were abused by men brought in by mini buses.
They also said that they were frustrated that so few of the predators, predominantly from the town's Pakistani Muslim community, were jailed.
The officer said: 'At one point we had 70 cases and one victim had close to 100 offenders.
'Many officers were frustrated because the CPS was treating the cases as separate when we knew they were linked.'
The mother of an abused girl who died supported the officers' claims after she revealed that she had given police a three-page list of suspects. She also claimed that nothing was done with her list.
She said that her daughter and 13-year-old were in a car driven by abusers that was allegedly stopped by police before being allowed to continue.
In response, Assistant Chief Constable Martin Evans denied court orders were stopped because they'd be too much work. However, one of the whistleblowers said that police had 'lots' of people they suspected of abuse but didn't put them before court.
They said that the Sexual Risk Orders, which would cause suspects to be tightly monitored, were considered too much work.
The officer said: 'It would have been a lot of work but what price do we put on protecting these kids?'
The court orders were considered for suspects identified by cops as part of a 2012 investigation called Operation Chalice which saw just seven people jailed.
West Mercia's Assistant Chief Constable Martin Evans explained that the orders were not pursued because they didn't want the victims to face their abusers in court, among other reasons.
These latest claims come after the mother of Becky Watson, 13, said she gave police a list of more than 10 abusers months before her daughter died in a car accident.
But she says the police handed the list back to her, leaving her angry and frustrated. One staff member allegedly told her 'she's not being battered or anything like that'.
Becky Watts was among five people linked to the abusers who has died, including Lucy Lowe who died in a house fire alongside her mother and sister.