More than 100 people come forward to accuse Christian ‘cult’ leader of abuse

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More than 100 people have come forward to accuse the Christian “cult” leader Mike Pilavachi of abuse, the Telegraph can reveal.

Rev Canon Mike Pilavachi, 65, founded the Soul Survivor Watford church and its namesake youth festivals which ran from 1993 to 2019 and attracted tens of thousands of teenagers from around the world.

The vicar was first unmasked by this newspaper in April after being accused of giving “inappropriate massages” to young adults. Just weeks later, the Telegraph published interviews with victims and former staff members who spoke out for the first time detailing how he ran “a cult” in which a “conveyor belt” of attractive young men – usually around aged 18 to 21 – were encouraged to receive full-body oil massages on his bed, engage in vigorous wrestling matches and endure psychological torment and spiritual abuse.

Rev Canon Pilavachi is currently suspended from Soul Survivor Watford while the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team (NST) and the Diocese of St Albans carry out an investigation into the allegations.

However, the scale of his alleged abuse can be revealed for the first time as it is understood that more than 100 people have come forward with information regarding the vicar and that the allegations are believed to concern physical, emotional and spiritual abuse.

Sources have also said that the complaints range from the 1980s to the present day.

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