Christian youth festival founder who was once given an award by the Archbishop of Canterbury is suspended over claims he gave inappropriate massages to young men
- Mike Pilavachi, 65, has been suspended from Anglican church Soul Survivor
- It comes after he stood down from the ministry pending an investigation
A Christian youth festival founder who was once given an award by the Archbishop of Canterbury has been suspended over allegations he gave full-body massages to young men.
Mike Pilavachi, 65, who established Soul Survivor Anglican Church in 1995 and a religious camping festival, was last night formally suspended from the organisation over allegations he wrestled with young men and gave them ‘oil massages’ while they were in their underwear.
It comes after he stood down from the ministry and resigned from all related charity boards pending an investigation by the Church into the allegations.
The Church of England national safeguarding team and the St Albans safeguarding team in Hertfordshire are investigating the claims.
Soul Survivor said: ‘It is clear that this more decisive action should have been made earlier and we have acted to correct this now.’
Mike Pilavachi (pictured), 65, who established Soul Survivor Anglican Church in 1995 has been suspended from the organisation over allegations he wrestled with young men and gave ‘oil massages’ in their underwear
The Church of England national safeguarding team and the St Albans safeguarding team in Hertfordshire are investigating the claims
The Church was asked to explain why there had been a meeting between Mr Pilavachi and Dan Goodwright, a musician and associate worship pastor a Soul Survivor.
The pair were seen near Mr Pilavachi’s home in Watford, Hertfordshire, when they weren’t supposed to be with eachother during the investigation. There is no suggestion that Goodwright is implicated in any of the allegations.
David Gate, a former member of Soul Survivor who says he felt emotionally manipulated by Pilavachi, told The Sunday Times last week: ‘There is an investigation by the Church of England. But I have little faith in the process. The report does not have to be published.’
‘Sometimes I’d wrestle with him before events, sometimes it would be backstage, but always fully clothed in the company of others.
‘He did that a lot with young men. It was a sign that he liked you — you were one of “Mike’s boys”.
‘There seemed to always be a favourite — usually athletic, always male teenagers or young men — no older than 23.
‘If he’d win — and often he was a lot bigger than us — he might sit on top of you.
‘Looking back, it must have appeared strange, a 45-year-old, well-built man wrestling on the floor with a 16-year-old boy.’
Source: Read Full Article