The Jesus Fellowship Church Trust (JFCT) also known as the Jesus Army was founded in 1969 by Noel Stanton in a small chapel in Bugbrooke, Northamptonshire. It was an ultra-evangelical sect, attracting many members from the homeless to the devout Christian families.
In 2017 an inquiry was held into the cover up of abuse allegations and pending the inquiry five senior leaders known as the Apostolic Group were asked to step down.
In 2019 the BBC exposed allegations of abuse on a prolific scale which included sexual, physical and psychological abuse.
Following the inquiry a report has been conducted by Vicki Lawson-Brown, Independent Investigator, to focus on the actions of the senior church leaders over the past two decades. Whilst the report has not identified the males involved, the BBC can name them as Ian Callard, John Campbell, Mike Farrant, Mick Haines and Huw Lewis who all ‘must take responsibility for their in-action.’
Within the report there is reference to one significant case where all of the men, by their failure to act, protected a convicted paedophile who had been allowed to continue in his role as an elder by Mr Stanton. There were numerous complaints against him however he ‘remained a risk within the community household until 2016 when Social Services threatened to take action.’
Surviving members have described an intense bullying regime in which children were severely disciplined and forced to sit through long worship sessions involving speaking in tongues and exorcisms.
The BBC has spoken to more than 25 former members of the Jesus Army who claimed to have experienced abuse within community houses and that their complaints to the leadership were ignored.
Last year, the Jesus Army dissolved after the BBC revealed hundreds of former members were seeking damages for alleged sexual, physical and psychological abuse.
Following its dissolution, the Jesus Army apologised to anyone who had experienced harm in the past and recognised over a sustained period of time, there have been faults and failures in the Church.
Ten people from the church have now been convicted for sexual offences, and a total of forty three people who were active in the Church have been named as alleged perpetrators, including founder Stanton.
It is reported that over the past year the JFCT has been disposing of properties and assets totalling tens of thousands of pounds and it is expected some of the funds raised will be used to compensate abuse survivors.
Unfortunately, those who were survivors of abuse will have and most probably will undoubtedly still suffer significant psychological harm due to the failures of JFCT. For these survivors we realise there is unfortunately no getting away from what happened to them however pursing a claim often helps our clients to bring closure to their ordeal following the sentence to provide the resources to fund medical treatment and therapy they may require.
The JFCT has now opened registrations for a Redress Scheme, which is intending to recompense those who suffered abuse or poor treatment.
Here at Farleys we already represent a number of survivors through the Redress Scheme.
If you or someone you know has been directly involved in the abuse at the hands of the JFCT, we appreciate that it is often difficult to talk about what has happened, however our team is experienced and dedicated to speak with you in the strictest of confidence on 0330 134 6430 or alternatively you can email me on Katie.firstname.lastname@example.org.