John McMartin, former head pastor at Inspire Church Liverpool in Sydney, has been found guilty of an assault that included an indecent act upon his 19 year old P.A. at his home in 2013
An at times visibly shaking McMartin sat in the courtroom in Liverpool this afternoon as the magistrate overseeing the matter summed up the case before declaring that the prosecution’s case was proven.
The prosecution alleged that McMartin touched the victim indecently at his home on a number of occasions on the evening of 28 January 2013 while his wife was away. Despite a number of inconsistencies between an initial complaint made in 2013 and the testimony given in court, the presiding officer, Magistrate Thompson, said that he found the victim to be “thoughtful, careful and reflective” and “an accurate and good historian”.
This was in stark contrast to the language Thompson used of McMartin. Summarising his assessment of his testimony as “underwhelming”, the magistrate was scathing in his description of McMartin’s testimony and behaviour in the courtroom during the trial. He noted that some of his interactions with his own counsel “can and does impact upon his credibility”. He described the manner of McMartin’s response to one question as “creepy” and went on to state that McMartin’s activity during much of the trial (including flossing of teeth and reading notes from an electronic device for significant periods of time) showed “a level of arrogance that was consistent with how he answered questions”.
Summing up, his honour stated that McMartin had created an opportunity to act out his sexual attraction towards the victim, having made a clear attempt to have her alone and isolated. He described this as “not inconsistent with grooming behaviour”.
Sentencing will be on 23 March 2023 in Campbelltown. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 2 years in prison but may see some form of community service.
Now that this matter has been finalised, I can report that I have heard a number of historical allegations from other women describing inappropriate behaviour by McMartin, some of which has been reported both to the Inspire Church leadership and to the Australian Christian Churches (ACC) governing authorities where McMartin held a number of offices and roles. They tell of a consistent pattern of those around McMartin failing to hold him to account.
I first reported on McMartin in January 2021. At the time I approached the leadership of Inspire Church for comment and they told me.
The Church leaders are shocked by the allegation
Since declaring their “shock” at these claims it has now become clear that they were aware in January 2013 of the allegation when the victim complained the day after the assault. McMartin was subsequently stood down for 3 months over the matter. He again took some time off work a number of years later under similar circumstances.
I understand there has been at least one civil claim made against the ACC and more may follow. Today’s verdict may very well encourage others to come forward.