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[Exclusive Brethren] Ex-sect leader tells of money-running

The Age, Australia
Sep. 25, 2006
Michelle Grattan and Michael Bachelard • Sunday September 24, 2006

The former Australian leader of the Exclusive Brethren has said he was given “wads of money” to carry across international borders for the group’s one-time world leader James Symington.

Ron Fawkes, Australian leader from 1976 to 1984, alleges Mr Symington avoided customs regulations by transporting large amounts in this way.

On the ABC’s Four Corners tonight, Mr Fawkes says the amount of money transferred was “absolutely horrific. Tens and tens and tens of thousands of dollars in cash … I hate to think what would have happened if I’d been … arrested or caught. It was totally illegal.”

Mr Fawkes was excommunicated for speaking out.

Former member Joy Nason, who left in 1968, also accuses the Brethren of covering up child molestation.

“I have heard people confess to molesting children,” she says. But these acts were not reported to the police.

“They were forgiven, if the person was sorry.”

Victorian Nationals leader Peter Ryan yesterday distanced himself from the sect, saying he had nothing to do with it, except having met members recently, as he met many groups.

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