As a pastor he actually had to kick her out of the church because she had an extramarital affair. That’s how it goes at the evangelical community De Deur in Zwolle. But instead Evert V. (60) started a relationship with the church member himself. It was mutual, he says. No, says the woman. You exploited and manipulated me. You blessed my breasts so they would give breast milk. With the laying on of hands.”
The former pastor of De Deur stood before the court in Zwolle on Tuesday for lewdness with the woman in 2015. A few years later she filed a report and V. himself had to resign from De Deur, where he had a high position. First he ran the Amersfoort branch of the gospel church, later he became the pastor in Zwolle and the Dutch point of contact for the Christian Fellowship Ministries (CFM), to which De Deur belongs.
The church was known in the past for its noisy evangelism campaigns. Nowadays the tone has moderated, but the church has a strict hierarchy. The pastor is considered the direct representative of God and strict rules of life apply to church members.
Madly in love
V. entered into a conversation with the woman because she had started a relationship in addition to her marriage. According to the rules she had to leave the church, but he could not get that through. They became friends and eventually they had sexual intercourse.
It was mutual. I felt guilty because we were both unfaithful. That’s a sin, of course. But I didn’t feel guilty in my role as pastor, because I never forced her into anything. When she wanted to quit, I regretted it because I was madly in love, but I resigned myself to it.”
The woman who filed the report painted a completely different picture in her victim statement. She says she was manipulated and abused for years within the stifling church culture. I had to perform plays that he filmed, but then I had to change clothes first. Later I had to slaughter fish, which was a fetish of his. He also often talked about cannibalism in sermons.”
,,Within the church there is a shame culture and a man culture. As a woman you get your value from assisting your husband and bearing children. I couldn’t do that. One of the things you did was bless my breasts so they would produce breast milk, with the laying on of hands, of course.”
,,Yet the sexual acts were not the worst. That was the mental abuse and manipulation. How could I be so stupid and say yes to his crazy requests? Because he was the leader. I thought: if I open my mouth, the church of God cannot continue to grow and people will go to hell.”
‘Now you can live the way you want’
According to the victim, her story is not an isolated one. “There are Facebook groups and websites of women within the CFM who have had the same thing happen to them.” She says she’s glad she broke away from the church. “When I reported it, the officer said, ‘Now you can live the way you want.'”
V. called the woman’s account “a story full of lies. Still, he says he realizes he was wrong in his role as a pastor. “It’s embarrassing. I should never have done this.” He no longer has any contact with The Door; his wife and one of his children still visit the church.
According to the prosecutor, the relationship was all about inequality and fornication is proven. ,,The defendant had been her pastor since she was 9 years old. He was 28 years older and in fact her social worker.” She demanded 180 hours of community service and a restraining order. He would also have to pay the defendant more than 9,000 euros in damages.
V.’s counsel stated that his client is emotionally damaged by the case. He was wrongly portrayed as a power-hungry person. She came to his home on her own initiative and on foreign trips she herself came to his hotel room to have sex with him.”
Ruling May 31.
Source: De Stentor