US minister revealed as sexual abuser attended sect’s NZ gatherings

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Warning: This story discusses details of sexual abuse

An American minister of a secretive global sect who was outed as a paedophile and sexual predator after his death visited New Zealand multiple times to attend the religious group’s annual gatherings.

The FBI is working with international law enforcement partners to investigate abuse within the group known as the Two by Twos or The Truth, and police here are investigating at least one former minister for historical abuse.

The sect said it was not aware of any victims of the American minister in New Zealand but it had received one historical sexual abuse complaint arising from its annual gatherings.

The closed sect has many unspoken rules, no official name or church buildings, and its itinerant ministers are volunteers who are celibate and stay in members’ homes.

The sect’s faithful gather in their hundreds on rural properties across the country where rows of canvas tents are set up for the annual conventions, usually held over four days.

Elliot* recently left the sect but attended the conventions every year – often listening to ministers who had come from overseas.

“The point of concern that’s become apparent is that there’s been people who visited here that now there’s allegations against… It’s not clear that there’s ever been any kind of vetting or the country of origin letting us know.”

Those who had faced allegations included an American minister, Dean Bruer, whose sexual abuse of children and young people was revealed after he died in 2022 – and was the catalyst for hundreds of victims disclosing abuse at his and others’ hands.

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