New role for Amy Coney Barrett’s father inside Christian sect sparks controversy

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Survivors of alleged childhood abuse inside the People of Praise, a secretive Christian sect that counts Amy Coney Barrett as a member, are voicing concerns that the supreme court justice’s father, who was recently promoted to a new role, may seek to block information about the group’s historic handling of sexual abuse becoming public.

Barrett, a conservative justice who was appointed by former US president Donald Trump, has never publicly disclosed her participation in the covenant Christian community, which some former members have compared to a cult.

Her father, Michael Coney, a Louisiana-based lawyer who worked for Shell and has been a longtime member of the PoP, was this month appointed to serve as the group’s new legal counsel. Coney is also taking the helm of a “consultation team” that, internal correspondence seen by the Guardian shows, has been dealing with “issues of concern” to the group’s 1,100 members, including “misuse of authority” inside the PoP, “lack of accountable leadership”, and “mistrust of the board”.

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