Former ‘conversion therapy’ pastor charged with child sex abuse

ron brookman uniting church living waters conversion therapy
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NSW Police have charged former Sydney pastor and “conversion therapy” leader Ron Brookman with the alleged indecent assault of a 13-year-old in the 1980s.

The 70-year-old is accused of the indecent assault of a person under 16 years of age while in his care. He allegedly “kissed and rubbed his groin against” the boy while a minister at the Uniting Church in Newtown in 1989.

Brookman’s lawyer entered a plea of not guilty at Newtown Local Court on Tuesday. NSW Police received reports of the former pastor’s alleged abuse in October 2018. Police arrested him at Newtown Police Station on January 14 after a subsequent investigation.

Mr Brookman was the Senior Pastor at the Uniting Church’s Newtown Mission in inner-west Sydney from 1984 until 1998.

Then, from 1999 to 2014, Brookman was director of notorious and now-defunct Christian organisation Living Waters. Living Waters ran Australia’s longest-running programs offering debunked “gay conversion therapy” to “cure” homosexuality.

In 2012, Brookman told a Senate committee into same-sex marriage he was “homosexual for over 30 years”. However, he claimed he had experienced a “transformation to heterosexuality”.

Brookman later retired from his religious duties to become a director of a sex addiction and recovery support program in Sydney, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Uniting Church responds to Ron Brookman sex charge

A Uniting Church spokesperson said the church had removed Brookmn “from all forms of ministry”.

“The Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of NSW and ACT takes its responsibility for the protection of children and vulnerable people very seriously,” they said.

“The Uniting Church will be assisting NSW Police with its investigations and asks anyone with information to contact the police directly.”

Brookman remains out on bail and will return to Newtown Local Court on March 31.

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