Website: Northampton Chronicle and Echo
Link : https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/people/jesus-army-in-northampton-long-awaited-compensation-scheme-announced-for-victims-of-sexual-and-financial-abuse-3858741
The scheme promises to include a written apology, funding for counselling and monetary compensation
A compensation scheme for victims of sexual and financial abuse at the hands of the Jesus Army founder in Northampton has finally been announced.
The Jesus Fellowship Community Trust has published its long-awaited compensation scheme for survivors of abuse within the now-defunct religious sect.
Originally set up by founder Noel Stanton in Bugbrooke in 1969, the Jesus Army was a cult-like religious movement, which attracted thousands of members who lived together in close-knit, rural communes. Mr Stanton remained at the helm of the organisation until 2009 when he died.
However, in 2017 the new leader Mick Haines said, in a speech, he had become aware of “serious allegations” about Mr Stanton including “financial abuse of individuals and spiritual and sexual abuse”.
More allegations of financial, emotional, physical and sexual abuse from both children and adults have surfaced. In 2019 Chronicle & Echo reported some 200 claims had been made, mostly by those who had lived and worked in one of the dozens of communal houses operated by the sect around the country.
A number of people have been convicted of carrying out abuse at the Jesus Fellowship Church, which has since issued an apology.
Now Malcolm Johnson, head of Lime Solicitors’ abuse department, is advising the Jesus Fellowship Survivors Association, which has been set up to support victims of abuse in the church, and acting for more than 50 abuse survivors.
He said: “What happened to many people in the Jesus Army is appalling. Moreover, if these vulnerable people tried to tell anyone what happened to them, they were not believed.
“However, thanks to the many survivors who found the courage to come forward, they have now been given the apology and justice they deserve.
“I would encourage survivors of abuse to apply to the settlement scheme. While no amount of money can change what happened to them or make up for how they have suffered since, the compensation can provide closure and enable them to move forward.
“We know there are many people out there who can corroborate other people’s allegations and this evidence is going to be crucial to the success of a compensation application. The scheme really represents what may be a final chance for survivors to tell their story.”
The main features of the Jesus Army Compensation Scheme are:
- A written apology acknowledging what has happened to survivors, providing acceptance of responsibility and an assurance that lessons of the past have been learned and shared with relevant authorities.
- For sexual, physical or emotional abuse, an award of compensation for the harm a survivor has suffered, aligned with common law compensation awards.
- For sexual, physical or emotional abuse, an invitation to meet with a trustee of the church closing team.
The solicitors say compensation will be awarded according to the severity of the abuse suffered. Typically, court-awarded payments for the “pain, suffering and loss of amenity” element of abuse range up to £80,000.
The deadline for applying to the scheme is December 31, 2023.
If you were affected by Jesus Army, email (contact details within article) or visit www.limesolicitors.co.uk.