Tyler Deaton, the “ex-gay” leader
of a Christian prayer group in Kansas City, is accused of ordering
his wife's murder.
Bethany Deaton's body was found in a
van next to a lake on October 30. By all appearances, the
27-year-old newlywed had taken her own life.
But ten days later, Micah Moore, 23,
told investigators that he killed Bethany and that Tyler, 26, ordered
him to do it.
Tyler and Bethany met at Southwestern
University, a small liberal arts school in Georgetown, Texas
affiliated with the Methodist Church. After graduation in 2009, the
couple moved to Kansas City, along with Moore and several other
students involved in a prayer group Tyler started at the university.
In Kansas City, they joined the
International House of Prayer (IHOP), part of C. Peter Wagner's New
Apostolic Reformation (NAR), which believes the “end times” are
According to KCTV 5 News, friends said
that Tyler bragged about being very involved with IHOP, saying that
he was “training IHOP members for overseas missionary work.”
However, IHOP leaders have distanced
themselves from Tyler and his group, saying they “deeply regret our
failure to discern the nature of Deaton's alleged secretive,
perverse, cultic practices. We further regret his admission to IHOPU
[IHOP University] four years ago and all connection he had with our
Moore told investigators that the group
used sex as a means of spirituality and that the group repeatedly
drugged and sexually abused Bethany. He said Tyler was worried his
wife would tell a therapist about the assaults.
Members of the group told the Kansas
City Star that Tyler had “struggled with being gay.”
“He struggled with it, but he
overcame it,” a member said. (A video report is embedded on this
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