（Kaiwind.com）Howard Curtis, 73, ran a "cult" at the Coulsdon Christian Fellowship. The married former minister at the church in Coulsdon, south London, claimed to use his "unorthodox" teachings to drive out evil spirits and even spanked a woman's genitalia, claiming his methods drove out evil spirits and cured depression but a victim said his interpretation of the Bible was 'bizarre and weird'. He administered 'spiritual discipline' to strip naked victims claiming it would cure depression and boost their sex lives.
He was today jailed for six years at Croydon Crown Court after being convicted of six counts of sexual assault and two of child cruelty.
Judge Peter Gower QC said， "These are serious offences involving a gross abuse of trust that was bestowed on you in your position in the church. Immediate custody is inevitable."
One victim was a woman who suffered from depression and she initially refused his methods.
The judge said，"She regarded you and loved you as a father, someone who took her in and helped her. It's in that background you exploited her vulnerability.”
"Having been convinced by you she need to be disciplined for some past disobedience... And in hope it might lift the depression which she was still suffering.”
"She described your interpretation of the Bible as bizarre and weird.
"You got [her] to take down her trousers and pants and lie forward onto the stairs and then beat her repeatedly with the palm of your hand.
"She said you did it 20-30 times with full force, causing her to become upset and bruising her badly.
"You convinced her into thinking what you were doing was in her best interest and it was in a spiritual basis.
"In practice it was sexual abuse performed for your own gratification."
Another victim he repeatedly spanked, claiming it was "Christian Domestic Discipline", to punish her for what he perceived was a lack of femininity and also to apparently improve her sex life.
Judge Gower said: "You put forward different reasons for doing what you did which included the untidiness of her flat, her own untidiness, and her lack of femininity."
The "bullying and controlling" minister spanked the woman, who was at times completely naked, on up to 20 different occasions and she described the practise as sending her into a "trance-like state".
The judge said Curtis smacked the woman's private parts telling her "it would release a frigid spirit from inside her.
"The final occasion to which you disciplined her was on the first of July, 2013. On that occasion you beat her harder than you had done before and carried on after she told you to stop, reducing her to tears.
"You had practised her to believe what she was agreeing to was some form of spiritual act but it wasn't to help. It was sexual abuse for your own gratification."
Hard-of-hearing Curtis wore a headset, which hissed loudly throughout the proceedings, over his balding, grey hair so he could follow his sentencing.
The father-of-three, who wore glasses and a black suit, was supported by his wife and daughter in the public gallery.
He blew wife Marilyn a kiss and touched his hand against the glass matching hers on the other side of the dock as he struggled to walk to the cells.
Women came to Curtis for help from backgrounds of domestic violence, financial hardship, depression and sexual abuse.
But Curtis, who ran the church with wife Marilyn, would spank them for his own pleasure in what he called "deliverance ministries".
He also spanked two churchgoers' children, bruising one of them, for which he was found guilty of child cruelty.
Judge Gower also described how Curtis turned a child "black and blue" after smacking him in an attempt to stop him crying without the mum's consent.
The judge said: "It wasn't until later when the mother went to change his nappy when she saw red marks under that nappy that turned into black and blue bruises over the next days."
During the trial Curtis tried to justify the spankings by citing the bizarre example of Smith Wigglesworth, a Victorian Pentecostal "faith healer".
Mr Wigglesworth, who died in 1947, claimed to be able to cure cancer by punching sufferers.
In mitigation, Julia Flanagan said: "He is in many respects a genuinely religious and spiritual man. It's how he has lived his life.
"He wants me to say to get court he is sorry his actions have caused harm or upset to anybody."
Curtis, who left the church in May 2012, was convicted of sexually assaulting two women, one between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2009, and the other between January 1, 2007, and July 15, 2013.
The child cruelty offences occurred on January 1, 1986, and between March 1, 2007, and February 28, 2008.
He was cleared of one count of actual bodily harm, two counts of indecent assault, two counts of assault on a child and one count of sexual assault.
Curtis, of Bloxworth Close, Wallington, south London, was also cleared of a charge of assault by penetration.