Dozens of new victims of Children of God sex abuse cult come forward after leader convicted

Derek Lincoln, a senior member of the cult, was jailed last year after pleading guilty to the rapes of Hope Bastine and another victim in cult centres around Scotland.

Daily Record, UK/December 10, 2021

By Annie Brown

Dozens of new victims of the sex abuse Children of God cult have come forward since the conviction of one of its leaders, the Daily Record can reveal.

Derek Lincoln, a senior member of the cult, was jailed for 11-and-a-half years in 2020 after pleading guilty to the rapes of Hope Bastine and another victim more than three decades ago in cult centres around Scotland.

Hope, who was instrumental in bringing the predator to justice, said up to 30 victims who fell prey to Lincoln had reached out following his sentencing last year. And now she hopes a fresh investigation will lead to more jail time for evil cult leader Lincoln.

Hope said: “It is a shocking amount of people who were abused by Lincoln as children. It is devastating the way these people are affected.

"I am in awe of these people that they are still alive. Rightly most of us should be in sort of mental health institution or have come close to taking our own lives.”

The Children of God was founded by David Berg in 1968 in America and was a doomsday cult which actively encouraged child sexual abuse.

Berg preached “God is love and love is sex” which facilitated the exploitation of children in communes across the world – including in Scotland.

At one point there were more than 30,000 members in 100 countries and almost half were children.

Hollywood stars Rose McGowan and Joaquin Phoenix were born into the cult.

Hope, 42, said: “That’s a lot of children being mistreated.”

Hope was abused by Lincoln for more than a decade including two years while they lived in Scotland. But it took her 16 years of fighting for justice to finally see him convicted in Glasgow High Court last year.

Lincoln was a “house shepherd” in the cult, meaning he had unfettered access to children. His offences took place at cult homes he ran in Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire during the late 1980s and early 90s but he abused children in communes dotted around the globe.

One former cult victim said Lincoln had raped her aged seven and did the same to her friend who was so traumatised she killed herself as an adult.

Hope said she was abused almost daily in Scotland and was molested by Lincoln from the age of four, with the full knowledge of other members of the cult.

Lincoln was eventually tracked down to the south of France, before he was extradited to Scotland to face charges.

He pled guilty to rape and sexual assault charges against Hope and another woman and was sentenced to 11 years and six months at Glasgow High Court.

On his conviction Det Sgt Neil Wilson from Police Scotland’s National Rape Task Force said: “Lincoln used his position within the Children of God to perpetrate violent sexual abuse against two young children. I hope Lincoln’s conviction and sentencing sends a clear message to sexual offenders that time and borders are no barrier to justice.”

Now Hope has told the Daily Record that other victims of the cult have approached her and want to see further action taken against Lincoln.

She has asked Lincoln’s victims who have now come forward to take their allegations officially to Police Scotland so he faces more criminal charges.

She said: “My hope is that he gets a truer sentence that reflects the magnitude of his crimes over the course of his life. For a victim of sexual assault and victims who grew up in cults like me, there is a lot of shame and guilt, inappropriately.

“I was able to get justice because other people were able to corroborate my story but people have to find the courage to fight for themselves. The more people who speak out, the stronger our voice will be.”

Hope is writing a book to chronicle how she navigated the justice system and how she ultimately saw Lincoln punished as she had long dreamed he would. She hopes her story will act as an inspiration to other abuse victims.

Hope took part in the Children of the Cult – a Discovery+ docu-series.

She said: “It took me 16 years to fight this, but now he is in jail. So I would tell them to keep fighting and trying, if you think that is what is going to set you free.”

Hope finds it galling that Children of God organisation, known as Family International, has refused to admit there was a culture of abuse embedded in the cult.

She said: “There are thousands of us from across the world who have never met yet are telling the same story.

“There are pictures and footage as evidence. Yet they still won’t admit it. The only way to deal with their denial is to bring them to justice.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “We are aware there may be other complainers but have had no further reports. If and when people feel ready to report, then we will investigate.”

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