|Posted by Natacha Tormey on 28 July, 2014 at 9:20|
Thank you for using your ‘right of reply’ to issue a statement to ITV's 'This Morning' show, prior to my appearance on it.
"Regarding any allegations of institutionalised abuse, TFI has expressed its apologies on a number of occasions to any members who feel that they were hurt in any way during their membership. The TFI has a zero tolerance policy regarding the abusive treatment of children and permanently expels and excommunicates any members who violate this policy."
I will now exercise my own right of reply.
Firstly, may I clarify that although TFI has issued an apology (under duress during the UK court case), they have never accepted full responsibility with regards to the fact that the abuse many children suffered was directly caused by the teachings of their leader, David Berg, Teachings which were transcribed and approved by his 2nd wife / secretary / current leader of the movement, Karen Zerby (aka Katherine Smith / Maria Fontaine), and which were distributed to all communes by the leadership team. Additionally, TFI has never taken any action to help those who suffered abuse. At the very least, they should have offered to pay for professional psychological assistance for those who suffered during their reign of terror.
Secondly, I did not have a “membership” in your movement. I was born into it and hence had no say as to what environment I was brought up in, or the abuse that came along with it. Kindly remove me from any membership lists.
Thirdly, TFI banned child abuse in 1986...14 years after it was formed. I was sexually abused in 1987 and was subjected to harsh physical discipline well into the mid 90s. I appreciate that the organisation (if I must call it that) has cleaned up its act and I do hope that abuse no longer takes place (Update in 2018 - I have read witness accounts that suggest sexual abuse took place long after and into the late 90s). However, that is no reason to forget what did happen in the ‘early days’.
And lastly, although I cannot mention names, I know of several members who were exposed for sexual abuse and who were never excommunicated. There was also a male cult member in Asia who was excommunicated for molesting his daughter, but who was allowed to return to the cult (and to his wife and daughter) a couple of years later (with approval from you, the leaders).
I fully expect that you will deny all knowledge of the above and hence I will not waste any more time on this response.