An evangelical pastor ordered a student nurse to strip and spanked her bottom until it was bruised in an effort to “cast out evil spirits”, Croydon Crown Court has heard.
Reverend Howard Curtis, 73, from Wallington, also spanked other female members of his Coulsdon Christian Fellowship congregation for so-called offences including “lacking femininity,” it was claimed in court. The former senior minister’s alleged beating of the student nurse took place in front of her husband.
Toby Fitzgerald, prosecuting, told the jury how Curtis ran Coulsdon Christian Fellowship as a cult. The spankings were described as his “Christian domestic discipline”.
Mr Fitzgerald said the student nurse “trusted him completely as a man of God”.
“She pulled down her trousers and underwear and lay across his lap. He hit her hard about twelve times until she ended up on the floor. She’d become, in effect, a rag doll in the defendant’s hands.”
“He said he was going to cast out evil spirits from people and that discipline had to be administered by striking bare flesh with the bare hand.”
Curtis was a senior minister at Coulsdon Christian Fellowship in Surrey from the early 1980s until July 2013.
Curtis pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault and one count of assault of one woman between January 2009 and July 2013. He also denies charges of sexually assaulting a second woman and the indecent assault of a third woman. The trial continues today.