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Crime Second sex abuse trial begins for Oregon church founder Michael Sperou

17:55  17 january  2020
17:55  17 january  2020 Source:   oregonlive.com

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As Sperou ’ s second trial began , about a dozen of his followers gathered in the courtroom. Sperou sat with his lawyers wearing a gray suit jacket and tie. He faces the same accusations as before: three counts of first-degree sexual penetration of a person under the age of 12.

Find reporter and more accounts in our lists. Portland, Oregon .

Shannon Clark replayed disturbing details of what she described as years of sexual abuse by a man she trusted during the opening day of a new trial for the leader of a religious sect whose 2015 convictions for sex crimes were tossed out by the Oregon Supreme Court.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: This file photo shows Mike Sperou being taken into custody after he was found guilty in Multnomah County Circuit Court on April 30, 2015, and sentenced to 20 years in prison for abusing a girl who grew up in his church.© The Oregonian/OregonLive/oregonlive.com/TNS This file photo shows Mike Sperou being taken into custody after he was found guilty in Multnomah County Circuit Court on April 30, 2015, and sentenced to 20 years in prison for abusing a girl who grew up in his church.

Clark, 33, testified Thursday that Michael Sperou, 69, was the spiritual leader of a small nondenominational congregation that he established in the early 1980s and operated out of two homes in Southeast Portland.

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Sperou , a co- founder and pastor of the North Clackamas Bible Community, denied any abuse occurred and said the accusations were lies that followed Sperou was indicted based on that case. A jury found him guilty of first-degree unlawful sexual penetration. The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld

The Oregon Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a pastor sentenced in 2015 to 20 years in During the trial , the witnesses called by Multnomah County prosecutors included the woman Sperou was Sperou was a co- founder and pastor of the North Clackamas Bible Community in Happy Valley.

Sperou’s original conviction came after a two-week trial that included testimony from Clark and six other women who also accused him of abuse. He was sentenced to 20 years and imprisoned at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem.

Last year, the Supreme Court ordered a new trial for Sperou after concluding that witnesses had improperly referred to the accuser as a victim. The court found that the reference may have undermined Sperou’s presumption of innocence and affected his right to a fair trial. Sperou has been out of custody since he posted $75,000 bail shortly after the ruling.

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Michael Sperou , 69, must follow conditions set by Multnomah County Circuit Judge Karin Immergut, including having no contact with children and submit to GPS monitoring. Sperou raised 10 percent of the total bail amount for release. Sperou had been serving a 20-year sentence in the Oregon State

Pastor Mike Sperou was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing a girl who grew up in his Happy Valley church . Two sheriff' s deputies led Sperou away in handcuffs while several supporters sobbed. He didn't address the court. A Multnomah County jury of six women and six men

As Sperou’s second trial began, about a dozen of his followers gathered in the courtroom. Sperou sat with his lawyers wearing a gray suit jacket and tie.

He faces the same accusations as before: three counts of first-degree sexual penetration of a person under the age of 12.

Prosecutors depicted Sperou as a powerful leader who presided over the lives of his followers. Members of the North Clackamas Bible Community lived in a communal arrangement and sought to please him, said Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Melissa Marrero.

“He controlled who they lived with, how they decorated their bedrooms, how they raised their children, how they spent their money,” Marrero told the jury.

“Shannon Clark was born into this environment,” she said.

Sperou’s defense centered on what his lawyer Steven Sherlag called Clark’s unreliable memory. He characterized her child sexual abuse allegations as “11th hour claims” intended to beat the statute of limitations, which had run out for other women who alleged Sperou had abused them.

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Mike Sperou is being held in the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, and The other six women were allowed to tell the jury about their own experiences with Sperou , who' s now 67, during the trial . Defense attorney Steven L. Sherlag previously said he intended to appeal Sperou ' s conviction to the

The trial of the first sexual abuse suspect in the 2005 Hosanna Church case is scheduled to begin Tuesday in Amite.

Sherlag did not dispute Clark’s poor treatment by Sperou’s followers, who she alleged beat her and were otherwise cruel. He said he also would not contest Clark’s allegations of “sexualized touching” by Sperou.

But he questioned what he described as an inconsistent account of sexual abuse, suggesting Clark has a poor memory, is exaggerating or that she lied to help the prosecution. He questioned why Clark had offered different accounts of how often Sperou had abused her.

“The ends justify the means,” Sherlag said. “She had to come up with something new whether it was true or not and what does it really matter?”

Clark described a grim childhood with rampant physical abuse and neglect. She said Sperou was the unquestioned ruler over the families who followed him.

“Where would you rank yourself in the hierarchy?” asked Marrero.

“The bottom,” Clark said. “All the way at the bottom.”

Clark said she was routinely isolated, beaten and was once forced to eat her own vomit. She said she was ordered to sleep in a cold and unfinished basement; she said her only comfort on those terrifying nights was the sound of another child’s voice through a vent in the wall.

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It was other men in the sect who beat her, she said. Sperou, she said, groomed her for sexual abuse with affection and attention she so longed for.

“It’s hard to describe because it was so awful,” she said, losing her composure on the stand. “I honestly felt like I was all alone the whole time.

“The only time I got focused on was with (Sperou),” she said. “That was the only attention I got from anybody. including my parents.”

She said Sperou sexually abused her countless times from the age of 3 until she was about 10. She described aggressive hugs and kissing that made her uncomfortable as well as penetrating her with his finger.

She could not identify the number of times she was abused, saying it became so ordinary that it was “like eating breakfast in the morning.”

“I never knew a time when it wasn’t happening,” she said.

The trial continues Friday and is expected to last for one to two weeks.

-- Noelle Crombie; ncrombie@oregonian.com; 503-276-7184; @noellecrombie

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French trial exposes how church covered for predator priest .
LYON, France (AP) — One of the first people to notice Bernard Preynat's unhealthy obsession for young boys was the supervisor at the seminary where, still a teen, the future priest started training for his career in the church. "At 14, 15 years old, I became interested in the youngest boys and the supervisor summoned me to tell me that I was abnormal and sick," the self-confessed child abuser said at his trial in France this past week. “I explained this to the bishop.

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