A former member of the Exclusive Brethren Church has told TV One she knows of multiple cases of child sex abuse which were covered up by the sect.
TV One reported tonight the woman had given it the names of seven men she says were involved in acts of sexual abuse, and she was prepared to co-operate with any police inquiry.
The sect is embroiled in political controversy because of the way it tried to covertly help National win last year’s election, and a private detective has said he was hired by the Brethren to dig up dirt on senior government ministers.
TV One identified the woman only as Phillipa, and did not show her face during the interview.
It said she fled the sect with her seven children six years ago after being a member for 40 years.
“She is talking about sexual abuse,” a TV One reporter said.
TV One said Phillipa alleged the church dealt with the sexual abuse “underground”.
Phillipa said there were multiple offenders.
“If I went and asked them now they would try and deny it because in there it’s a huge guilt and fear thing,” she said.
“A lot of people who perhaps have this problem with being involved with that sort of thing would not go outside the church for help.”
TV One said Phillipa had told it the victims were now in their 20s, 30s and 40s, and all remained members of the church.
It said no Exclusive Brethren members contacted were prepared to comment on her claims.
“But she has given us the names of seven men she says were involved in acts of sexual abuse and she’s now prepared to co-operate with any police investigation.”