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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 May, 2003, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
Preacher 'preyed on congregation'
Douglas Goodman
A preacher has denied a series of sex offences against women at his church in north London.

Douglas Goodman, 46, pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of indecent assault and one rape at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.

The charges involving four women were said to have taken place between 1997 and March 2002 while he was head of the Victory Christian Centre in Finchley and in Kilburn High Road.

Mr Goodman, of Collingtree, Northampton, also denies perverting the course of justice during the police investigation.

Prosecutor Nicholas Corsellis said Mr Goodman used his position as a spiritual leader and father figure to prey on young and vulnerable members of the congregation.

He was supposed to be their pastor - their shepherd - but in reality he became their sexual predator
Prosecutor Nicholas Corsellis

After indecently assaulting one woman, known as Miss A, in a hotel bedroom, Mr Goodman asked her to pray with him to repent their sins, said Mr Corsellis.

A year later, they began a sexual relationship and in January 2001 he summoned her to the Churchill Hotel, central London, where he allegedly raped her.

The court was also told about 19-year-old Miss B, who attempted suicide after allegedly being assaulted by Mr Goodman after he took her to the cinema.

He apologised and said they should put themselves "in the path of temptation" again to prove they could beat it.

Douglas Goodman
Mr Goodman was a founder of the Victory Christian Centre

Miss B told police the 46-year-old later assaulted her twice in the church office.

The court heard that Mr Goodman offered to pay for her wedding dress to remain quiet when others began to complain.

Miss C, who first met Mr Goodman when she was 17, said he had abused her in his car.

He later bought her an A-class Mercedes but ordered her to return it after she complained to the elders, the jury heard.

Miss D, her teenage friend, said Goodman had made passes at her in his car and at his office.

She decided to complain to the elders because Goodman was "out of control".

Women 'cynically groomed'

The court heard that Mr Goodman, a married father-of-four, had been the most important person in the church.

When the women concerned complained to church elders about the pastor they were ordered to leave.

"He was supposed to be their pastor - their shepherd - but in reality he became their sexual predator," Mr Corsellis told the jury.

"Mr Goodman abused his standing and authority within the church. He targeted women who were vulnerable to is advances.

"He was cynically grooming them by gaining their trust."

The trial continues.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC London's Gareth Furby
"The court was told he abused his position"



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