Man molested as boy says church 'utterly failed' him

A YOUNG man molested as a boy at a Sunshine Coast church has described the past 10 years of his life as a "living hell".

In the decade since a youth pastor began abusing him at 13 years old he has endured his perpetrator's criminal trial, a civil hearing and now a royal commission.

But the church was never there for support, the young man wrote in a statement his parent's lawyer, Peter O'Brien, read on the final day of the Royal Commission into the ACC and its affiliated Pentecostal churches.

"I want to be clear that my position is that Ian Lehmann, the Sunshine Coast church leaders and the Australia Christian Churches' leaders completely and utterly failed to acknowledge, take responsibility, support and help my family and I to anywhere near an acceptable level," the statement read.

"They failed to detect the abuse, they failed to prevent the abuse, they failed to support us through the criminal trial process, they failed to support us after Baldwin was convicted, they failed to support us (to) achieve early and fair compensation."

Jonathan Baldwin was a youth pastor at the Pentecostal church between 2004 and 2006 when the sexual abuse occurred on and off church premises.

Ian Lehmann, the church's senior pastor at the time of the abuse, was Baldwin's father-in-law when he was jailed in 2009 for 10 child sex offences.

Baldwin has since been released from jail.

Mr O'Brien read out the statement after ACC national president Wayne Alcorn testified Baldwin had no ministerial credentials despite his pastoral role.

But Mr Alcorn said youth pastors commonly did not to have credentials in the 1000 ACC-affiliated churches.

ACC Queensland president John Hunt(correct) agreed with Justice Jennifer Coate's query that the lack of credentials was a "dangerous omission".

"Yes, because the term carries with it an implied level of trust," Mr Hunt said.

"There should be a greater level of responsibility."

He testified he had discussed the issue, but any move to meddle in local church decisions was considered "out of bounds".

"Historically in the context of our movement the sacred cow, for want of a better term, is the autonomy of the local church," Mr Hunt said.

"In other words, we are not a denomination we don't want to be told what to do by a central body."

Mr Hunt went on to say there was no mandatory requirement for affiliated churches to comply with ACC's child protection policies.

"Well short of standards we would ask for" was how Mr Alcorn described the Sunshine Coast's church policy.

The young man accused ACC's national and state levels of "passing the buck and blaming someone else" over his abuse.

"Our prayer was to bring our three sons up in the way of the Lord," that young man's parents said through a statement.

"Unfortunately, we have had this horrendous event in a place we believed was a safe and good environment."



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