Police Implicate ’Ex-Gay’ Christian Cult Leader in Wife’s Murder
Police from Kansas City, Mo., said on Tuesday that the young leader of a Christian prayer group, which has been compared to a cult, is behind the murder of his wife, the Examiner reports.
On Oct. 30, Bethany Deaton, 27, was found dead in the back of her van with a suicide note left in her car. But not long after she was buried, one of the group’s members, 23-year-old Micah Moore, came forward and told police that he killed the young woman and that her husband, 26-year old Tyler Deaton, convinced him to commit the act.
Members of the group told the Kansas City Star news that Tyler Deaton "struggled" with his homosexuality but "overcame it" calling the alleged transformation "a victory."
Moore also told the authorities that the group lived together and used "sex [as] part of their religious experience" and that several male members sexually abused Bethany Deaton over a period months.
Tyler Deaton and Bethany Deaton were only married four months when she died. Tyler Deaton reportedly allowed members of the group to drug the young woman in order to take advantage of her. When Tyler Deaton found out that his wife was planning on talking about the alleged attacks with a therapist, Moore said he became concerned she would expose him and the clan.
That’s when he allegedly convinced Moore to murder her and make it look like a suicide.
According to police, Bethany Deaton’s body was found in the back of her van with a plastic bag over her head and a suicide note left on the dashboard. Moore said that Tyler Deaton convinced him to kill the newlywed by telling him that he "had it in him to do it."
The Star notes that Tyler Deaton, who is regarded as the group’s "spiritual leader," while he was a student at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. In 2009 the couple joined the International House of Prayer’s school ministry and the group has ever since been connected to the evangelical organization.
Clerical leaders from IHOP have been trying to separate themselves from the scandal. They recently released a statement saying Tyler Deaton was mistakenly added to a list of small groups that are connected to the organization. IHOP’s religious leaders said they "Deeply regret" failing to "Discern the nature of Deaton’s alleged secretive, perverse, cultic practices."