Society

Church Members Accused of Kidnapping, Beating Gay Man (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Five members of the Word of Faith Fellowship church in Rutherford County, North Carolina, were recently indicted for allegedly kidnapping and assaulting a gay church goer, Matthew Fenner, in 2013.

"My head was like being flung back, my vision was going brown and black," Fenner told WSPA (video below). "I couldn't breathe and I'm sitting here thinking if I don't get out of this, I'm probably going to die."

The Rutherford County Sheriff's Office announced on Tuesday that Sarah Covington Anderson, Adam Bartley, Brooke Covington, Justin Covington and Robert Louis Walker Jr. were charged with simple assault and kidnapping. Anderson was also charged with assault by strangulation.

The Daily Mail reports that Fenner stated in an affidavit that Anderson told him that he was "disgusting," and that the five church goers engaged in the assault because they wanted to "break me free of the homosexual demons."

"They are innocent of the charges leveled against them and we look forward to proving their innocence and to their complete vindication before a trial court," Word of Faith Fellowship lawyer Josh Farmer told WSPA via email. "We are adamant that no one ever physically harmed Mr. Fenner ... The church does not target members who are gay."

In an unusual twist, Fenner claims that his mother and brother, who are members of Word of Faith Fellowship, testified against him in front of a grand jury.

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According to WSPA, another gay young man claimed that he was held against his will by Word of Faith Fellowship in 2011.

Sources: Daily Mail, WSPA