Sex-scandal vicar admits he is an `evil bastard'

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The vicar who shook the Church of England when he was accused of sexually abusing women at his "Nine O'Clock Service" church group confessed his guilt yesterday and described himself as evil.

Chris Brain, dubbed the "Rave Rev" because of his unorthodox services, told the Mail on Sunday that when the allegations of sexual abuse emerged he considered suicide. "I have wronged those who trusted me. I feel very guilty about it now, and I would have killed myself had it not been for my daughter," he said.

The vicar, 38, now separated from his wife, Winnie, was speaking after a two-week stay in a psychiatric hospital. He admitted he had had sexual contact with women who attended the services, which involved dancing to loud rave music, bikini clad dancers and light shows.

But he denied full adultery or using his power as a vicar to seduce women in his congregation. "These were relationships which began 10 or 12 years ago when I was part of the nightclub scene. When I became a priest I should have done something about them, taken some emergency action to get out of it before I became a priest. But I didn't," he said.

"I wanted friendship and never entered relationships for sexual reasons. But boundaries were broken. So, I am the evil bastard and have done wrong to those who trusted me."

Mr Brain, who has been suspended, said his relationships were not adulterous, as they did not involve full sex. "I was never adulterous. I did indulge in heavy petting. But it was non-penetrative sex. There was this boundary, and the women and I would not have sex."

Mr Brain told the newspaper that he did not have full sex out of loyalty to his wife and the women's husbands. "Sexual intercourse is sanctified in marriage, and I would not break that boundary in my lifetime partnership." He added that he was "profoundly and desperately sorry" for the distress his actions had caused.

His wife and the couple's five-year-old daughter are being counselled and cared for by the Church of England, while he awaits the outcome of a church inquiry which could lead to him being defrocked.

Yesterday, the Rev Roy Arnold, communications officer for the Diocese of Sheffield, said: "As to Chris Brain's remorse, we must, I suppose, take it at face value. The ones he has so deeply hurt may still find it hard to swallow."

Meanwhile, former followers of the vicar last night called on him to resign his priesthood.

"Although in essence only a symbolic gesture, it was felt that such a resignation would satisfy their demand for justice," they said in a statement.

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