Church member who was taught that homosexuality is a sin found guilty of molesting seven men
A former member of a West Australian church who was taught as a child that “homosexuality is against God’s law” has been found guilty of molesting seven men.
Morris Leonard Deale was found guilty after a three-week trial in the District Court of Western Australia, after being accused of unlawfully and indecently assaulting the complainants over a period of years, ABC News Australia reported.
The men, all aged between 17 and 23 at the time of the incidents, were molested after they had been drinking. They accused Deale of assaulting them after they had fallen asleep, waking to find him touching them.
The court heard that, at the time of the incidents, Deale was a member of a regional Christian church group that viewed homosexuality as a sin.
During his testimony, Deale told the court that during his childhood he went to Sunday school, where he was taught that homosexuality is sinful.
Deale, who said he is bisexual, added that while he is still religious, he is no longer a member of the church.
The court was told that, after the allegations were made, Deale was confronted by a senior pastor. He went on to contact the complainants and apologise to them.
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He denied any wrongdoing, claiming that he “honestly and reasonably” believed he had touched the men with their consent.
Deale was charged with sexually assaulting 10 men, but was acquitted on three counts. He was released on bail and will appear at a sentencing hearing next month.
The trial comes just weeks after an Australian man was sentenced to 22 years in prison for beating a man to death in a gay-hate fuelled attack.
Stanley Bruce Early, aged 77, was handed the prison sentence on 20 October for the 1987 killing of Raymond Keam, with the attack thought to have been motivated by the defendant’s belief that his victim was gay.
The judge said that her sentence reflected “the abhorrence with which the court views violent acts motivated by an offender’s hatred and prejudice against another individual for no other reason than that person’s sexuality or perceived sexuality”.
Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of sexual violence. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.
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