Mar 25, 2016 by Will Maule

Pastor Spanked Female Congregant To 'Cure Her Depression'

"A pastor who "didn't see any harm" in spanking one of his congregation in an attempt to rid her of depression has been found guilty of sexual assault," reports The Telegraph. Howard Curtis, 73, allegedly claimed the 'deliverance counselling' sessions had to be done "flesh to flesh" on the bare bottom to cast out evil spirits.

He also spanked one woman between her legs to "cure her frigid spirit", and performed a sex act on her with his finger, the court heard. Curtis, who ran Coulsdon Christian Fellowship in Coulsdon, south London, insisted it was consensual and had denied sexual assault. Judge Peter Gower QC said: "An immediate custodial sentence is inevitable in this case. I'm granting bail as a matter of mercy so he can put his affairs in order."

Curtis said that one incident was intended to help a woman with her depression. "She wondered if it could help with her depression. I thought it could. It depends if you see depression as an illness or an evil spirit. If you smack somebody it could free an evil spirit," he said.

Julia Flanagan, defending, said Curtis was not a "charlatan or a megalomaniac" but a busy pastor just trying to do his job.

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