Prosecutor: Minister 'directed' beating of gay congregant
Thursday, June 1st 2017, 11:47 am EDT
By MITCH WEISS and HOLBROOK MOHR
RUTHERFORDTON, N.C. (AP) - A prosecutor says a North Carolina minister "directed and participated in" the beating of church member who says the assault was meant to expel his "homosexual demons."
Prosecutor Garland Byers gave an opening statement Thursday in the trial of Brooke Covington, a 58-year-old minister at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina.
Covington is the first of five church members to face trial. They will be tried separately.
Covington is charged with kidnapping and assaulting former church member Matthew Fenner. If convicted, she faces up to two years in prison.
Her lawyer, David Teddy, disputes the allegations.
The 23-year-old Fenner says he was slapped, choked and screamed at for two hours in January 2013 as members tried to expel his "homosexual demons."