“Several individuals” have contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigations about abuses by the Christian group that Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett has been a lifelong member of.
That’s according to The Guardian, which cited “sources familiar with the matter” to report the bureau has interviewed complainants alleging “they were abused by members of the People of Praise,” which the newspaper described as a “secretive Christian sect” — the left, to include many in the media, have long attacked the group for supporting traditional gender roles in families.
“The individuals were contacted following a years-long effort by a group called PoP Survivors, who have called for the South Bend-based sect to be investigated for leaders’ handling of sexual abuse allegations. The body, which has 54 members, has alleged that abuse claims were routinely mishandled or covered up for decades in order to protect the close-knit faith group,” the UK newspaper reported.
The article stopped short of reporting that a formal investigation into People of Praise had been launched, but said “at least five individuals were contacted by the FBI and four gave detailed accounts to agents of abusive behavior they allegedly experienced or witnessed.”
A woman interviewed by agents from Minneapolis, Minn., told the Guardian she was told by agents last week the investigation into her claims involving sexual abuse by a teacher had been closed. The news reportedly left the woman disappointed and full of “a lot of questions”, because she believed the agents were motivated to pursue the matter.
“We urge the FBI to use their power to unearth the long-standing pattern of child sexual abuse and coverup in the People of Praise. All perpetrators and their enablers must finally be held accountable. We must ensure that no child is victimized and silenced by a People of Praise member ever again,” a spokesperson for PoP Survivors said.
Citing a PoP handbook, the Guardian said members “are expected to be obedient to male authorities.”
Here’s more on the group from the liberal newspaper:
The PoP was founded in the 1970s as part of a Christian charismatic movement. The group is led exclusively by men. Like other charismatic communities, it blends Catholicism and Protestant Pentecostalism – its members are mostly Catholic but include some Protestants. In meetings, members are encouraged to share prophecies and speak in tongues. One former member said adherents believe God can speak through members to deliver messages, sometimes about their future.
A PoP handbook states that members are expected to be obedient to male authorities, or group heads, and are expected to give 5% of their earnings to the group. Heads are influential decision-makers in members’ lives, weighing in on issues ranging from dating to marriage, and determining where members should live.
Newsweek reported during Barrett’s confirmation process in 2020 that a former People of Praise member said women in the group are expected to be “absolutely obedient” to their husbands and other male members and those who didn’t comply are “shamed, shunned, humiliated.”