Evidence from leaders of the Pentecostal movement about their handling of a child abuse case in Queensland has left the victim even more angry.
A young man abused as a boy by a Pentecostal pastor says attempts by leaders of the movement to justify themselves at a royal commission have made him even angrier.
His statement was read on the fifth day of a hearing into how a Queensland church and the Australian Christian Churches (ACC) handled allegations youth pastor Jonathan Baldwin sexually abused the boy for two years from 2004 to 2006.
“The past 10 years of my life have been a living hell,” he said.
The young man, given the pseudonym ALA, said the local church and the ACC “utterly failed to acknowledge, take responsibility, support and help my family and I anywhere near an acceptable level”.
“It appears to me they were more concerned about the reputation and financial position of the ACC above all.”
He said the way local senior pastors and others associated with the ACC “attempted to justify their failings and minimise their responsibilities in this royal commission has made me more angry about what happened to me and how it was dealt with”.
In a statement read by the family’s lawyer, the father of the young man said “our prayer was to bring our three sons up in the way of the Lord”.
Instead, in a place he thought was safe and good, this “horrendous event” happened.
As the father gave evidence at the commission hearing, ALA followed it on webcast because it was too painful to appear.
Evidence was given that Baldwin was hired by his future father-in-law, senior pastor Ian Lehmann, who failed to act on concerns raised by church workers about the intensity of the relationship between the youth pastor and the 13-year-old boy.
Baldwin was jailed for eight years in 2009, with a four-year non-parole period, for indecent treatment of a child under 16 and for one count of sodomy.
Church insurers reached a $225,000 settlement with ALA in 2012, out of which he paid a $145,000 legal bill.
President of Queensland ACC John Hunt said on Friday that the organisation credentialled senior pastors who were expected to comply with a code of conduct, but ACC had no power to enforce compliance.
While they offered seminars and information on robust ACC child protection policies, they were not obliged to adopt them, he said.
ACC national president Wayne Alcorn said a mandatory and enforceable child protection policy for the 1000 affiliated churches would be considered at the next national conference.
He apologised to the victims of child abuse and their families.
“We do commit to doing more, to creating places where children and young people are encouraged and helped in life in churches where policies and procedures are best practices,” he said.
Mr Alcorn asked the commission to consider recommending a standardised child protection policy across all states to help national organisations such as the ACC.