FBI Investigates Coast Sex Cult
A cult that preaches pedophilia, incest and rape
flourishes on the Gold Coast despite international
efforts to shut it down.
THE FBI is investigating an international cult with
strong links to the Gold Coast after a barrage of
affidavits from second-generation members who say
their lives were ruined by sexual abuse and mind control.
The Family, formerly known as The Children of God, claims it has
changed, no longer promotes sex between children and adults and
has apologised to past victims, but former members warn it
is still recruiting in Queensland.
********, a Gold Coast resident who quit the cult in 1989
but monitors its activities, estimates it has hundreds of
members on the Gold Coast despite its own claims of just a few dozen.
"They're still recruiting and they're still going
strong," ******* said.
******* has compiled an assortment of literature
that showed children involved sexually with adults.
Heaven's Girl, a book given to home-schooled children, shows
a pre-teen girl consenting to rape by several men, exclaiming
it was an act of God's love.
Redlands resident **********, who was born into the cult,
said she was forced into sex at the age of 10 when she was living
in a cult house in Poland.
"It was expected that if anyone touched you, you just went with
it," she said. "If you didn't want to do it, they'd punish you."
Young women were taught to dress seductively and engage
in "flirty fishing" – getting money and favours for sex.
******** said she has received death threats by telephone
for speaking out against the cult, which has several hundred
members in Australia.
The Courier-Mail attempted to speak to two alleged members of
the cult at Nerang and Burleigh Waters on Thursday. One hurled
profanities at a journalist and the other ran into a supervisor's office.
Taskforce Argos, a pedophilia unit of the Queensland Police, is
aware of The Family's activities, but will not comment on any
The Australian Federal Police is interested in whether cult
members are gaining access to child pornography online.
Family International spokeswoman Claire Borowik said the
"Christian fellowship" adopted a policy for protecting minors in 1986.
"We regret that prior to the adoption of this policy,
cases occurred where minors were exposed to sexually
inappropriate behaviour," Ms Borowik said.
She said sexual contact between adults and children was
banned, and questionable literature had been "officially
renounced and expunged".
But the Australian Cult Awareness and Information Centre
continues to brand The Family as perverted. "The danger
this network sees in The Family is not what they now believe
but how in the past they believed the things they did believe," it said.
The Watchman Fellowship, an international group that monitors
cults, said The Family had intensified its efforts in Australia
and "has begun a massive PR campaign to create a new public image".
Meanwhile, hundreds of former cult members are urging cult
leaders to help authorities track down former child molesters
within their ranks.
"Now is the opportunity to come clean and take responsibility
for their actions and the harm they caused," reads an open
letter sent to Family administrators.
Richard Hutch, a professor of religion at the University of
Queensland, said The Family was a "new religious movement"
that has pushed social norms.
"It represents an experiment by human beings to reframe their
everyday lives," he said, adding The Family was "about as good
as any other" religious organisation.
While there were "perhaps pockets of abuse", he said it was a
matter for the police and courts and The Family should not be
made into scapegoats.
*********, a former soldier, learned of the cult in 2002
when he was working at a Gold Coast club where some of the
strippers were cult members.
He developed a relationship with Ms *******, who left the cult
five years ago, and became active in helping her expose its
"It was quite strange. I couldn't believe a girl like her could
be mixed up in something like this," he said.
In August, his car was damaged with a brick in the middle of the
night and his house was hit with rocks and eggs.
********* said cult members were clever and well organised,
avoiding prosecution by keeping their literature exchange and
activities more secretive than they did in the past.
"They've gone underground with the way they do things," he said.
The cult recruits at liberal "new wave" churches, according to
"They change your name, they isolate you from your family
and friends. They won't let you think. They take over your
life and mind so every single thing in your life is controlled."
Ms Borowik said that since 1993, The Family had issued "seven
official apologies" to people with grievances, but other
claims were unsupported.
The Courier Mail (19-11-2005)