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Title Community of Jesus - Community of Jesus leader implicated in 1990s abuse probe

Community of Jesus - Community of Jesus leader implicated in 1990s abuse probe October 16th, 2007

Sep 20, 2007 NEW ORLEANS - The local leader of the Community of Jesus is named in a complaint of alleged abuse at a Canadian Christian prep school in the 1990s. The allegation is under investigation by the Bishop of Ontario in the Anglican Church of Canada. Elizabeth Pugsley, prioress of the Community of Jesus at Rock Harbor at least since 1993, was implicated in the alleged abuse at Grenville Christian College, according to the complaint filed by Rosalyn Price English, a former student and staff member at the Brockville, Ontario, school. Price English, now 34, whose parents once sought marriage counseling at the Community of Jesus, is one of at least four former Grenville students or staff who have filed complaints with the Diocese of Ontario alleging misconduct by two Episcopal priests.

The Diocese is investigating allegations of abuse by the two priests at Grenville in the 1980s and 1990s, a time when the prep school had strong ties to the Community of Jesus in Orleans, according to school leaders and ex-students and staff. The abuse allegations arose from postings over the past 17 months to an Internet discussion group about the Community of Jesus and Grenville school in the category of Religious Cults and Sects. [...] Among other allegations, Price English claims she was one of 12 women, ages 17 to 26, who obeyed a 1994 order from Farnsworth and Pugsley to live in a 'boot camp' of sorts in a 15-foot-by-15-foot room at Grenville Christian College. [...] In a formal letter of complaint to a church official, Price English said Farnsworth exhibited a pattern of demeaning behavior and statements.

"We had regular sessions where we were told (by Farnsworth) we were like 'bitches in heat' and we were too focused on looking good," her letter states. Steve Hassan, a licensed mental health counselor in Somerville and mind control expert, sees common ground between the boot camp at Grenville, as described by Price English, and behavior at the Community of Jesus that he first learned about in 1985 after he was contacted by members of the church.

"In reading this complaint, it sounds like a number of themes have been touched upon here that have characteristics of a destructive cult," Hassan said Tuesday after reading Price English's letter. "The breaking down, forcing people to do behaviors that are denigrating, the language, the control of behavior, that if you're not doing what the group wants, you're violating God's will," he said. "It's certainly abusive personality control and it's very much an example of what I remember from the Community of Jesus." [...]

As part of his investigating of the prep school, Bishop Bruce is interviewing former students and staff who filed abuse complaints. He is expected to continue his probe through the end of the month, according to the Rev. Wayne Varley, Diocesean executive officer. [...]

 This is a summary extract from the full article as it appeared on Cape Cod Times, Sep. 20 2007 Full Article