Exorcisms and exploitation: Uxbridge church under scrutiny

Fox News 25, Boston/November 8, 2012

At first, it was a new beginning.

Samantha Bonin-Derry not only had a new boyfriend, she had, for the first time in her life religion.

She found religion at her boyfriends place of worship, the Church of the End Times, a tiny church in Uxbridge run by the charismatic Stanley brothers, David and Dennis.

The pair, who ran a driveway paving business, had no formal religious training but their unconventional preaching resonated with Bonin-Derry.

"I loved it at first. I never believed in God or Jesus before or anything, so coming there, it was believable," she said.

But then things changed.

"I had to get rid of Facebook. I wasn't allowed to talk to any of my friends unless I brought them to the church," she said. "I got cut off from everything."

Soon she lost her paycheck and title to her car, taken, she said, by her boyfriend acting on church teachings.

"Anything I had I had to give it all. Just to prove to him that I wanted this and I loved him," she said.

She also had to give up almost all contact with her two children.

"And this was somehow proving what?" FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet asked her.

"Basically rebuild me to be a better mom," Bonin-Derry replied.

"What was it really doing to you?" Beaudet asked.

"Tearing me apart," she said, wiping a tear from her eye.

Disagreements with church teachings, she said, were seen as proof that she was possessed by demons. She underwent numerous exorcisms.

It eventually all became too much, and she left.

"I was just so sick of getting exorcisms done on me and nothing I did was ever good enough," she said.

Now, Bonin-Derry says she'll never go back to what she and numerous other former church members call a cult.

"When you're on the outside looking in its a cult. When you're there you're so brainwashed you do whatever your told because you feel like you have nowhere else to go," said Sandy Dolbec, another former member.

"If I was against anything that they did I was demon possessed. You know, it was just so nuts," said former member Beth Stanley.

Stanley not only belonged to the church, she was married to Dennis Stanley, the number two pastor. The two are now in divorce proceedings.

She too says she was pressured to turn over assets to her husband, recently signing over the deed to her house.

But she's most disturbed by what has become a highly-charged sexual atmosphere in the church involving young, single women who attend and the men, especially the pastors.

"The women get on their laps and bounce on my husbands lap and they bounce on Pastor David and they have orgasms on his lap. So they say," Stanley said.

"This is during a church service?" Beaudet asked.

"Right after, like right when we're eating and stuff," she said.

Bizarre, sexually-charged behavior played out right in front of FOX Undercover's camera recently when some the female church members first left provocative notes on Dennis Stanley's truck, then two of the women began rubbing their breasts and buttocks against the vehicle.

Church members also maintained a website filled with hundreds of pornographic pictures. It's since been shut down, but there was a link to the church's website and the words, "These pictures are proof that God loves us" on the webpage.

Dennis Stanley kept quiet when FOX Undercover caught up with him outside court last week

"Dennis, is the church really a cult?" asked investigative reporter Beaudet. "Why do you think people are saying that, Dennis? Why does the church have a porn site? How does that fit into your teachings?"

Dennis didn't respond as he was led away in chains. He was being held without bail on a charge of resisting arrest that arose out his refusing to accept a restraining order from his wife which police were trying to serve him.

Pastor David Stanley did agree to speak with us, and he maintains the church is not a cult.

"A cult is something where people worship the man or something. It's not like that. I always bring people to Jesus," Stanley said.

"Some of the people we've talked to say the church is controlling," Beaudet asked him.

"No, it's actually the opposite of that," Stanley replied.

"You don't cut people off from their families?" Beaudet asked.

"No. We don't cut anyone off. Why would I do that?" Stanley replied.

As for turning over money and assets, those former members who did that chose to do so, Stanley said. And he says the pornographic website, titled "End Times Angels," wasn't actually a church website.

"The website didn't come from me. It didn't come from the church. It was a guy who was in the church, and things are great with his wife," Stanley said.

"It had the church's name on it?" Beaudet asked.

"Yeah, well that was him," Stanley said.

We also asked about the young women rubbing their bodies against his brother's truck.

"Looking at it, it seemed pretty strange," Beaudet said.

"You realize Dennis is single. If I was single, I wish I could roll like that," Stanley said.

"Were those church members?" Beaudet asked.

"Well, they were friends. Believe it or not, it's nothing perverted. I know that seems hard to believe. But there is nothing. Dennis has never slept with any of the girls. It is all in fun. It really, really is. It is completely clean," Stanley said

Harmless is not what cult expert Steve Hassan says the church seems to be.

"It seems to me based on the information that I have about this group that this is a quintessential mini cult," Hassan said.

"People have a right to believe whatever strange or unorthodox beliefs that they may have but when it comes down to lying to people, manipulating people, exploiting them and basically using what the law calls undue influence...I think that the authorities should go in and gather information and hopefully prosecute," he said.

The authorities are concerned.

"I'll give you a quote that I use probably everyday, it's not illegal to be crazy," said Uxbridge interim police chief Peter Emerick. "When does a ritual become an act of inducement? When does it become an act of brainwash? When does it become something more than a ritual?

Emerick is also disturbed by the video we recorded of the young women rubbing themselves against Dennis Stanley's truck.

"That warrants some serious attention," Emerick said.

"Is that concerning?" Beaudet asked him.

"Concerning because the individuals that were involved in that. The act of displays as presented. It's alarming," he said.

Especially as more young women like you just saw join the church, scrutiny from law enforcement is increasing. FOX Undercover has learned that the FBI has asked to interview former members. A spokesman for the FBI cited agency policy in not confirming or denying ongoing investigations but added that the bureau responds to concerns by the public without necessarily launching an investigation.

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