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  1. ITV Report

Legal action warning over 'gay conversion' allegations after ITV News investigation

  • Paul Brand explains the impact of the investigation

The Charity Commission has warned two faith groups could face legal action if they fail to prevent so-called gay conversion therapy being carried out.

It follows an expose of the practice by ITV News last year.

Our undercover investigation showed a pastor at a Pentecostal church in Kent promising God could stop him being gay and a Christian charity using manuals that called homosexuality an addiction.

Among the pages of Journey UK's Falling Forward manual are all kinds of claims about the causes of homosexuality. Credit: ITV News secret filming

Last year, Journey UK said on its website one of its aims is to help people with "addictions and insecurities" including relating to their "gender and sexuality".

Through song and prayer, they offered healing and they didn’t just rely on the word of God, but a text book they recommended.

Among the pages of the Falling Forward manual are all kinds of claims about the causes of homosexuality.

One chapter stated: "The homosexual neurosis is an example of an attempt to take-in the masculine traits of other men in order to complete one’s personal sense of deficiency".

Meanwhile Winners' Chapel openly claimed its mission involved "liberating men everywhere from every oppression of the devil", and at its branch in Dartford that included homosexuality.

The pastor is calling on the Holy Spirit to 'push something else out' of our undercover reporter. Credit: ITV News secret filming

The Charity Commission said that both charities provided strong assurances that they do not offer or endorse these "therapies".

Tracy Howarth, Head of Regulatory Compliance at the Charity Commission said: "Trustees, as the custodians of their charity, have a responsibility to ensure they fully meet their legal duties and responsibilities around protecting people."

"Whilst the charities provided assurance that they do not endorse therapies of this nature, we have issued both charities with a formal action plan under s15(2) of the Charities Act 2011 and provided regulatory advice to the trustees."

The action plans outline positive steps to strengthen the charities' governance and safeguarding.

The charities must now comply with the provisions of this action plan or risk being in breach of their legal duties as trustees.

But we understand the leaders of both organisations remain in their jobs.

Furthermore, Pastor Gbenga Samuel, who told our undercover reporter that the devil had made him gay, is currently running a branch of Winners Chapel in Middlesex, as resident pastor.

Both organisations denied at the time of offering conversion therapy but the Government told ITV News last year they want to ban these practices and Political Correspondent Paul Brand understands this will be enforced later this year.