Jehovah's Witness Mark Sewell jailed for abusing girls
A senior Jehovah's Witness has been jailed for 14 years for sexually abusing women and girl worshippers.
Church elder Mark Sewell, 53, used his position to prey on young women in his own congregation in Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Merthyr Crown Court heard how he sexually abused two young girls and raped a women after overpowering her.
Sewell was found guilty of eight sex offences, including one of rape.
The jury had heard Sewell was a trusted and respected member of the Jehovah's Witness church, who used his role to "exploit and abuse" members of his 120-strong congregation.
He raped one woman, leaving her pregnant, but she later miscarried.
End Quote Judge Richard Twomlow
Your victims felt inhibited about what they could say because of your position as an elder”
He also abused two young girls - one was just 12 when he kissed her and started giving her massages.
His victims were banned from "gossiping" about the attacks by other church elders.'No remorse'
One told the court: "I just felt totally crushed. It was as if he had this power over everyone and no-one could see the real him except for me."
Sewell was cleared of the complaints by a Jehovah's Witness judicial committee after the women reported his behaviour to the church.
But a jury at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court found him guilty of a string of attacks between 1987 and 1995.
Sentencing him to 14 years, Judge Richard Twomlow, said: "Your victims felt inhibited about what they could say because of your position as an elder."
"You caused distress in the lives of your victims who had the feeling they were disbelieved.
"You have shown not a thread of remorse."
All Jehovah's Witness congregation are registered charities and the Charity Commission is investigating the case.