Beat the Gay Out of Him; Church Leader Confessed to Assaulting Member with “Homosexual Demons”

Brooke Covington, a member of the Word of Faith Fellowship, leaves a hearing in Rutherfordton, N.C. on May 19. Photo by Kathy Kmonicek via AP

Will the truth set one defendant free?  A 2014 indictment of church leaders beating the “homosexual demons” out of a church member has an interesting update.  It appears one of the assailants confirmed her involvement in the beating.  Sarah Anderson, one of the defendants – confessed to her part in instigating the assault under oath.

Back in January 2013, Matthew Fenner was leaving a prayer service at the Word of Faith Fellowship in North Carolina when a group of church members surrounded him.

That is when Fenner, who identifies as a gay man, said more than 20 members of the church attacked him in order “to break me free of the homosexual demons they so viciously despise.”

Image via NY Daily News

According to The Washington Post, five members of the Fellowship were indicted in December 2014 on charges that they kidnapped, beat and strangled Fenner, then 21. They pleaded not guilty.

Minister Brooke Covington (58) and the fellowship’s legal team had adamantly denied all of the allegations up until this point.

“We are adamant that no one ever physically harmed Mr. Fenner,” attorney Josh Farmer wrote to WSPA in 2014. “The church does NOT target members who are gay.”

However, on Friday one of the five people charged with trying to beat “homosexual demons” out of Fenner admitted to throwing the first blow. Sarah Anderson (31) testified and admitted to telling other leaders of the Word of Faith Fellowship that Fenner had experienced “some kind of sexual sin or thought.”

Anderson said she slapped Fenner in the face after Minister Covington confronted him about his homosexual thoughts and began pushing Fenner’s chest, screaming “Open your heart!”

Anderson said about 30 more church members joined in the attack and began to beat, scream at, and choke Fenner for hours. Fenner said the incident was traumatizing and as the beating went on he feared for his life.

“I’m frail and in my mind, I’m thinking, ‘Is my neck going to break, am I going to die?”

Anderson also claims that Minister Covington and other church leaders attempted to coach her in advance of her testimony and told her to say no one got violent with Fenner, WLOS reported. Anderson did not make a deal with the prosecution and offered no reason as to why she incriminated herself.  At this point, her reasons for confessing are unknown.


If Minster Covington and the other church members are convicted of their charges, they face up to two years in prison. Minister Covington’s trial is the first of five in the case, with each suspect slated to be tried separately.


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