People of Praise, the creepy Christian cult Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett has belonged to for her entire adult life, is back in the news, so you know some shady sh*t has been going down.
According to an explosive new report published by The Guardian, the FBI contacted and interviewed multiple people who say they were sexually abused by members of the PoP and then silenced by cult leaders when they tried speaking out about it:
The individuals were contacted following a years-long effort by a group called PoP Survivors, who have called for the South Bend-based sect to be investigated for leaders’ handling of sexual abuse allegations. The body, which has 54 members, has alleged that abuse claims were routinely mishandled or covered up for decades in order to protect the close-knit faith group…
…The Guardian has confirmed that at least five individuals were contacted by the FBI and four gave detailed accounts to agents of abusive behavior they allegedly experienced or witnessed. Individuals spoke to the Guardian on the condition of anonymity and said they believed the FBI interviews were part of an initial inquiry.
People of Praise was founded in South Bend, Indiana in 1971 by Kevin Ranaghan and purports to be “a charismatic Christian community” that “provides a natural support for marriages and families” and is “led by the Holy Spirit.”
In reality, it’s a cult that expects women to be docile and subservient and believes homosexuality is a sin and gay marriage is evil. Members who admit to engaging in any sort of homosexual activity are immediately expelled, and children with same-gender parents are banned from the group’s schools.
51-year-old Barrett has served as a handmaid (no joke!) in the group for many years and personally stayed with Ranaghan and his wife their nine-bedroom South Bend home for two years after graduating from law school in 1997. Her husband, Jesse, also lived at the house.
And a few years ago, chilling video of Ranaghan speaking at the 1977 Kansas City Charismatic Renewal Conference was uploaded to YouTube.
The then-37-year-old, who can be heard around the 2:30 mark, gave a sermon about how Christians of all dominations must band together so that “the whole church, in every corner, in every congregation, in every assembly may be thoroughly and totally filled with the spirit and equipped with every spiritual grace and gift needed to be the body of Christ in an effective, world-changing way.”
According to The Guardian, PoP Survivors first reached out to the FBI last year with a list of witnesses to the group’s alleged sex crimes and cover-ups:
The letter to the FBI, which was seen by the Guardian, alleged that PoP had engaged in a “widespread and ongoing conspiracy to cover-up the abuse of children within its families and the schools it operates”. It said members had experienced sexual abuse from non-family members of their household, from their parents, and teachers.
The letter also alleged that the PoP’s alleged culture of secrecy “in any matter that would embarrass” the group had contributed to alleged coverups, which included transferring offenders to other cities. The letter said members of the group were prepared to offer sworn testimony, documents, photographs and “our collective expertise”.
While it’s not clear whether the FBI actually launched a formal investigation into the matter, agents did speak to several ex-PoP members, including a woman who said she was sexually abused by a male family member for 13 years as a child.
When her mother reported the abuse to cult leaders, she says her abuser was allowed to remain in the PoP community and her mother was discouraged from pressing charges against him.
Neither the FBI nor PoP has commented on the latest bombshell report published by The Guardian. Barrett’s involvement with People of Praise was first reported during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 2020, but she has always remained tight-lipped about her affiliation with the cult.