Fred King calls himself the Prophet.
But one of his victims calls him a polygamist and cult leader who allegedly treated her like a sex slave.
And after just a year behind bars, she’s furious that he’s free.
“He got off so easy for the damage he’s done,” sighs Carol Christie, 64. “The people who escaped, their struggles continue and I don’t think they’ll ever be normal. It just breaks your heart.”
In May 2016, King accepted a plea agreement where he admitted to nine charges of assaulting his church followers between December 1988 and August 2008, including physical beatings suffered by Christie. The six allegations of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, were dropped.
According to the agreed statement of facts, King, 58, physically abused his disciples in assaults that included squeezing a child’s hand with crushing force, beating a teen in front of parishioners after he’d tried to run away and stripping a young man naked in front of his mother, then preaching to him for hours while he was ordered to remain standing outside as mosquitoes bit him.
Christie was one of the “church wives” belonging to King’s father Stan — he had others as young as 10. she says — and bore him two children. When he died in 1986, she claims she was passed to his successor, his son Fred, and was humiliated and abused for years by the new Prophet.
According to the agreed statement of facts, the last assault that finally drove her from the Owen Sound area church occurred when King “came over to her chair, pulled her hair back and spat in her face. He pressed his finger repeatedly into her upper chest area and flicked the ridge of her nose with his fingers. He slapped her on the head repeatedly.”
In court, Crown attorney Michael Martin described King as the all powerful leader of the Church of Jesus Christ Restored who would “sadistically humiliate and repeatedly assault women and children with complete impunity.” Followers had to work in church-run businesses, including the family’s Mississauga printing plant.
“Physical scars tend to heal, at least in part, over time, but the emotional humiliation at the hands of Mr. King, I suspect, will likely never heal for the victims,” noted Justice Clayton Conlan.
Christie had reluctantly agreed to the plea deal.
“It was causing the escapees a lot of stress,” she explains. “Our witnesses were weakening and we were afraid of losing them and then it could all be thrown out.”
Adds her husband John, “We were told it was the best possible outcome.”
But it was still hard to accept after all the years they’d invested in bringing King to justice.
In 2010, Christie filed a lawsuit against King and the church, alleging she was involved in polygamous “coercive and abusive sexual relations” and was subject to “forcible confinement”, assaults, threats and emotional abuse. King and the church filed a statement of defence denying all her allegations — but settled her lawsuit, as well as those of five others, for an undisclosed sum.
In 2012, Christie went public with her explosive allegations against King on CTV’s W5 and here in the Toronto Sun. With her husband, she wrote a book about her 40 years in the church entitled “The Property: The True Story of a Polygamous Church Wife.”
Her disturbing allegations led to an OPP investigation. In the end no polygamy charges were laid. Instead, King was arrested for physical and sexual assault.
“There are few things I would say that are more revolting than the idea of a grown man in a position of trust and authority being violent, denigrating and humiliating with women and children under his care,” the judge said in sentencing King to 18 months.
A year in jail and he returns to his life while those he abused are finding it difficult to resume theirs.
“They struggle in many, many ways and to see him serve only 12 months is unbelievable,” says Christie, who’s trying to help other victims with money from her settlement.
At his sentencing, King uttered not a word of apology or regret. His lawyer insisted the church is now shuttered. But Christie’s not convinced.
“Our belief is that Fred King will try to pick up where he left off and keep his remaining flock in his control,” she said.
And heaven help those still trapped.