Robert Corfield, ex-minister of secretive sect, admits to child sex abuse

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Robert Corfield, a man who abused a boy in Canada in a secretive Christian church in the 1980s, has spoken publicly about what happened for the first time.

He was confronted by the BBC as part of a wider look into claims of child sexual abuse spanning decades within the church, known as The Truth.

His name is one of more than 700 given by people to a hotline set up to report sexual abuse within the church.

The sect says it addresses all abuse allegations.

The church, which has no official name but is often referred to as The Truth or The Way, is believed to have up to 100,000 members worldwide, with the majority in North America.

The potential scale of the abuse has been captured through a hotline – set-up last year by two women who say they were also sexually abused by a church leader when they were children. People have phoned in claiming they too were abused, with testimonies stretching back decades through to present day.

The highly secretive and insular nature of the church has helped abuse to thrive, say former and current insiders who spoke to the BBC. It has many unwritten rules, including that followers must marry within the group and keep mixing with outsiders to a minimum.

The church was founded in Ireland by a Scottish evangelist in 1897 and is built around ministers spreading New Testament teachings through word-of-mouth.

One of its hallmarks is that ministers give up their possessions and must be taken in by church members as they travel around, spreading the gospel. This makes children living in the homes they visit vulnerable to abuse, the insiders said.

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