One of Australia’s most notorious anti-gay pastors, who once headed the country’s most popular gay conversion clinics, has been charged with underage sex crimes.
The retired Rev. Ron Charles Brookman, 70, appeared in court on Tuesday February 4 to address accusations that he sexually assaulted a 13-year-old boy between September and October 1989.
Brookman was a senior pastor at Newtown Mission Church during the time of the alleged assault, where he worked from 1984 to 1998. He is charged with indecent assault of a person under 16 years of age under authority. His lawyer entered a plea of not guilty.
The former pastor served as the director of Living Waters Australia, an antigay organisation that aimed to “cure” people of homosexuality, from 1999 to 2014.
According to his LinkedIn profile, he was also the director of a sex addicts support group and involved with other groups to “support men wanting
freedom from internet addictions and other forms of broken sexuality”.
In 2008, he told an interviewer that he joined the Presbyterian Church at the age of 17 and that it caused his homosexuality to be “driven inward, but it was always just under the surface”.
“When I was 26 I discovered homosexual pornography,” Brookman continued. “I got married when I was 29 for all the wrong reasons. I wanted to keep up appearances as a happily married minister but it was a very sad and dysfunctional marriage”.
In 1990, he claims he was finally able to rid himself of his homosexual urges thanks to Christian psychiatrist John White.
“That began a three-year journey of meeting fortnightly with another pastor and confessing my sins,” Brookman recalled. “He prayed for the pain in my heart and asked that the Holy Spirit bring healing. Slowly but surely I was transformed”.
Bookman was arrested at Newtown Police Station on Tuesday January 14 after police received reports of the alleged abuse in October 2018.
The Uniting Church of Australia said it has removed Mr Brookman “from all forms of ministry”.
“The Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of NSW and ACT takes it protection of children and vulnerable people very seriously. The Uniting Church will be assisting NSW Police with its investigation,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.
Brookman remains on bail and will reappear in court on Tuesday March 31.