AN ALLEGED victim of a church minister who is said to have sexually abused seven vulnerable women to “rid them of evil spirits” said she didn’t report the abuse because she thought no one would believe her.

John Wilson, who was attached to churches in Keighley and Shipley, is alleged to have carried out the abuse between 1984 and 2010 during “secret prayers” and in the women’s homes.

An investigation began against Wilson, 70, of Shann Avenue, Keighley, in July 2014 after the husband of one of the women called the police.

A recording of an interview with the woman made in 2014 was shown to the jury at Bradford Crown Court. In it she described how Wilson had touched her during a one-to-one prayer session. She said she would have been around 15 years old at the time.

She had moved to the area to live with relatives after the death of her parents and said she felt she could trust someone from the church.

“I told him my mum and dad had died,” she said. “He was polite and nice. I trusted him.”

She said she went to two one-to-one prayer sessions.

“The first one Pastor Wilson said he wanted to help me,” she said. “The second he told me there were spirits in me and he had to touch me. He was saying things like ‘Lord, make (her) understand that it is you that is touching her and not me’.

“He laid me down and started to unbutton my blouse. He touched me underneath my blouse, on my chest as well as on top, and said there was a spirit that didn’t want to let go of me but God would help.

“He said wherever the spirit was he had to touch.

“I felt confused and pushed him away. I told him it wasn’t a spirit, it was me, flesh and blood. He said there was a demon in me that needed to be out. I felt betrayed and hurt. I had trusted him. I didn’t go back to any secret prayers though I did carry on going to church.”

The woman said she confided in her younger sister, but could not remember exactly when, and she said she too had been abused by Wilson.

“She told me she had blacked out and woke up naked and had carpet burns,” she said.

The only other person she told was her husband who contacted the police, the court heard.

“I didn’t think people would believe me,” she said.

The witness was asked if co-accused Laurence Peterson was aware of the assault.

“He was there but I don’t think he saw it,” she said.

In his opening statement at the beginning of the trial, prosecutor David McGonigal told the court the sexual abuse of women had been carried out “in the name of religion”.

“It is our argument that he was sexually assaulting them. These were vulnerable women.

“It is the prosecution’s argument that he was doing it for his own sexual gratification.”

Wilson denies 31 counts against seven females including 23 indecent assaults, four conspiracy to commit indecent assaults, two rape charges and one of sexual assault.

Wilson’s wife, Mary Wilson, 79, also of Shann Avenue, is charged with two counts of aiding and abetting indecent assault and one of conspiring to commit indecent assault.

Church pastor Laurence Peterson, 58, of Eric Street, Keighley, is charged with four counts of aiding and abetting indecent assault and three counts of conspiring to commit indecent assault.

The trial continues.