Sunday, 27 July 2014



By Caro Meldrum-Hanna and Janine Cohen

Updated July 25, 2014 10:25:00

Cult of Horrors

Monday 28th July 2014

He is a self-styled evangelist who told his followers he was The Anointed One, chosen by God to convert the world to his beliefs.

Anyone who didn't follow his word was told they would burn in hell, that he held the key to their salvation on judgement day.

In reality, Scott Williams was a cult leader who used his own brand of religion to warp biblical scripture in the pursuit of sex, money and power.

Scott Williams left Australia 38 years ago, converting hundreds of young people throughout Europe. On the outside, life appeared happy. But now, former cult members reveal to Four Corners a lifetime of secretive abuse, misplaced worship and horrifying punishments carried out under the guise of obedience to 'The Overseer', Scott Williams. Their stories are so shocking, their brainwashing so profound, it is almost unbelievable. As one former member explained:

"It's not simple to walk out. No. I wish I could. I tried. I tried a few times. It's a curious web and it was like he's the spider and he's got you there and you can't get out of the bloody spider web."

This week, reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna investigates the rise of Scott Williams and his incredible path around the world and back to Australia, exposing how he created a hell on earth for many followers. Controlling almost everything they did, members say they were threatened, beaten, subjected to horrifying and bizarre sexual rituals - and even their children were taken away and given to others to raise for a time.

All the while, Scott Williams amassed a fortune from his members.

Finally, the police caught up with him - but would Scott Williams be brought to justice? And how can his Assembly still be operating in Australia?

Following a four year investigation by Meldrum-Hanna, the story of Scott Williams can be told thanks to a group of courageous, key former members. Brutalised and abused, they eventually broke free from the cult. And now they break their silence publically for the first time and tell of their tormented years following the book according to Scott.

CULT OF HORRORS, reported by Caro Meldrum-Hanna and presented by Kerry O'Brien, goes to air on Monday 28th July on ABC at 8.30 pm. It is repeated on Tuesday 29th July at 11.00 am and 11.35 pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00 pm, at ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.

Tags: charities-and-community-organisationschild-abusedomestic-violencefamily-and-childrengriefreligion-and-beliefs,sexual-offencesleadershipcharitiescommunity-organisationsmenwomenrelationshipscultsregionalemotionsaustralia,nswgermanyscotland

First posted July 24, 2014 14:20:00


  1. What a shocking article.

    I am a Christian and deeply saddened each time I hear of a supposed Christian group abusing the Bible (The Word of God), to suit its own twisted, immoral and illegal agenda resulting in devastating harm and detriment to the poor unfortunates who are sucked into, or, born into such a group.

    The parallels between the Exclusive Brethren and Christian Assemblies International are striking -

    - Twisting the Bible and taking verses completely out of context to attempt to justify shocking abuse, harm and detriment

    - A self proclaimed “man of God” who wields ultimate power supported by a clique of henchmen

    - Brainwashing and delusions of “we are the only pure church and the only right place” for true Christians

    - Introducing extra biblical rules not found in, or authorised by the Bible

    - Difficulty in leaving without incurring punitive measures

    - Those outside of “us” are wrong

    - Divided families

    - Authorities in Tax and Charity hoodwinked by deceit, cover-ups, misinformation and the plausible “religious” aspect

    - Through underhand devious deceit, playing the tax and charity system for maximum financial gain, while in the background creating harm, detriment and little if any public benefit

    - Building a property portfolio controlled by the “man of god” and the clique, by using members money and tax and charity concessions

    - Being brainwashed into submitting to abuse by using “The Lord” and “The Bible” as the threat and weapon !

  2. Excellent summary of the modus operandi of this deceitful, non Christian cult.