NEW YORK – Truth Wins Out expressed relief today that Christopher Austin, an “ex-gay’ counselor in Irving, Texas, was convicted of sexually assaulting a client. Austin was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but received seven years probation, had to register as a sex offender and was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine. After years of reported abuse — including several alleged victims who testified at the trial – it is welcome news that Austin has finally been put out of business, says TWO.
“We are deeply gratified that this “ex-gay’ predator is no longer in the counseling business, where he exploited his position of authority to sexually abuse vulnerable clients,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. “Ex-gay therapy is extremely dangerous and places confused clients in the hands of repressed therapists. It is a recipe for disaster.”
According to the 283rd Criminal District Court, a jury convicted Austin of a Second Degree felony. Court documents said that the ex-gay leader, “unlawfully, intentionally and knowingly caused penetration of [pseudonym Stephen Trask].”
Austin had started Renew Ministries, a counseling center run out of a church in Irving. He was affiliated with the National Association For Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). Indeed, Austin taught a seminar at NARTH’ 2004 annual convention entitled, “Understanding and Treating Compulsive Sexual Behavior in Men with Value-Incongruent Homosexual Issues: A Multidimensional Approach.”
Austin spoke of the “devastating spiritual effects homosexuality has on a man’ heart.” However, he failed to take his own advice when he once wrote, “Before addressing the brokenness in others, we must defeat all the responses of our own flesh.”
“As we have seen with Christopher Austin, Mark Foley and Larry Craig, gay people who do not learn to accept themselves act out in unhealthy ways,” said Besen. “I hope Austin can use this experience to come out and have healthy gay relationships, so he won’t have to exploit other people.”
Truth Wins OUT is a non-profit organization that counters right wing propaganda, exposes the “ex-gay” myth and educates America about gay life. For more information, visit www.TruthWinsOut.org.
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