Solicitors approached by 100 people about Northamptonshire's Jesus Army compensation scheme

Dedicated lawyers say they have gained “dreadful insight into the scale of abuse” within the organisation
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A solicitors firm has been approached by 100 people after launching a compensation scheme for survivors of abuse connected to Northamptonshire-based religious fellowship, Jesus Army.

The Jesus Fellowship Community Trust published its long-awaited compensation scheme for survivors of abuse within the now-defunct religious sect in September this year.

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Lime Solicitors, which is handling the scheme, is now reporting that it has been approached by its 100th client. Dedicated lawyers say they have gained a “dreadful insight into the scale of abuse”.

A compensation scheme has opened for survivors of abuse linked to the Jesus Army.A compensation scheme has opened for survivors of abuse linked to the Jesus Army.
A compensation scheme has opened for survivors of abuse linked to the Jesus Army.

The scheme promises to include a written apology, funding for counselling and monetary compensation, as well an invitation to meet with a trustee of the church closing team for some survivors.

What happened

Originally set up by founder Noel Stanton in Bugbrooke in 1969, the Jesus Army was a cult-like religious movement, which attracted thousands of members who lived together in close-knit, rural communes. Mr Stanton remained at the helm of the organisation until 2009 when he died.

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More allegations of financial, emotional, physical and sexual abuse from both children and adults have surfaced. In 2019 Chronicle & Echo reported some 200 claims had been made, mostly by those who had lived and worked in one of the dozens of communal houses operated by the sect around the country.

A number of people have been convicted of carrying out abuse at the Jesus Fellowship Church, which has since issued an apology.

Malcolm Johnson, head of Lime Solicitors’ abuse department has set up a dedicated team of lawyers to help survivors who are coming forward.

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He said: “Our team has now helped over 100 people with their claims. During the course of taking their statements, we have gained a dreadful insight into the scale of the abuse within the Jesus Army.

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“This was a cult that actively encouraged misogyny and we have seen how girls and young women were treated as targets for abuse by men within the Church.

“We have also seen how vulnerable adults were repeatedly exploited for financial gain and abused, before being thrown out when the cult had no further use for them.

“We know that there are many more survivors out there. Many will be understandably fearful about making a claim.

“Here at Lime Solicitors, we have a dedicated team of lawyers, all of whom are familiar with the history of the Jesus Army and the compensation scheme itself. We will listen to you with sensitivity, make your claim quickly and take it to a conclusion. We can also reassure you about any concerns that you might have.

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“We’re hoping to conclude all of our current claims within the next six months.”

Survivors now have until December 31, 2023 to apply to the compensation scheme. Email [email protected] or call 0207 264 4352 for assistance.