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 and sinful.”

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 happened.”

Anderson did not disclose why she decided to work with prosecutors.