An evangelical pastor administered “spiritual discipline” by spanking female members of his congregation on the bottom, a jury was told.
The spankings were to satisfy self-styled Reverend Howard Curtis’s “desire for power and sexual satisfaction,” Croydon crown court heard.
Former pastor Curtis, 73, from Wallington in south London, ran the Coulsdon Christian Fellowship as a cult, prosecutor Toby Fitzgerald said.
The father of three ordered one woman, a student nurse, to strip naked before putting her over his knee to slap her. He continued the beating when she collapsed to the floor. One of the dozen sessions took place in front of her husband.
He introduced the woman to his version of “Christian domestic discipline”, following Bible teachings of keeping women in their place. Her “offences” included untidiness and “lacking femininity”, the jury was told. Mr Fitzgerald said: “She trusted him completely as a man of God.”
Curtis has pleaded not guilty to two sample counts of sexually assaulting the woman between January 1, 2009 and July 15, 2013 and one count of assault.
He has pleaded not guilty to further allegations of sexual assault against a second woman, and of indecent assault against a third. He denies all the charges against him.
The trial, which is expected to last four weeks, continues.
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