A North Carolina minister is on trial
for the assault and kidnapping of a gay church member.
Word of Faith Fellowship minister
Brooke Covington is one of the five people charged with the January
2013 beating of Matthew Fenner.
Fenner, 23, testified that roughly 30
church members participated in holding him against his will as they
beat, choked and screamed at him for two hours. Fenner said that his
attackers said that they wanted to “expel his homosexual demons.”
One of the five people charged with the
assault, Sarah Anderson, testified Friday in Covington's trial. She
said that Covington started the confrontation but that she was the
first to strike Fenner, whom she said she believed to be “unclean
According to the AP, Anderson testified
that church leaders instructed them to lie to authorities.
“Anderson says church leaders
including two state prosecutors at the time met with the roughly 30
people present when Matthew Fenner was beaten in January 2013,” the
AP reported. “She says then-associate district attorneys Frank
Webster and Chris Back told them to tell authorities that nothing
Anderson did not disclose why she
decided to work with prosecutors.