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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dept. of Clubs that Would Have Me as a Member: Exclusive Brethren, Religion of Love and Tolerance

A FAMILY Court judge has denied a father any role in the parenting of his Exclusive Brethren children, in part because of his "continuing criticism" of the controversial Christian sect.

In the judgment, judge Sally Brown ruled that, while there was a legal presumption that both parents should share parenting, this was "contrary to the children's best interests" in this case.

The father, who cannot be identified because of restrictions on reporting of Family Court cases, is "devastated", particularly as a previous court judgment had awarded him frequent access to two of his eight children. Justice Brown's judgment means he has no right to see or even communicate with the children, in a reversal of those previous court orders.

"I am a broken man -- I've lost so much that I am totally beaten," he told The Australian. "I've got to accept that I'll never see my children again. What have I done wrong? I've lost the children because I've left the church. They (the Brethren, supporting the mother) had two Melbourne QCs, an assisting lawyer and a junior counsel. I was representing myself. I trusted the legal process, but this has cost me $100,000 and I can't afford to appeal."

The man separated from his wife in 2003 and left the sect, which has a history of bitterly shunning ex-members.

His ex-wife, the mother of his eight children, remains in the church, which bars members from socialising or even eating with non-members, including family members.

link: Father loses access to his Brethren children | The Australian


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