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Swedish pastor accused of leading violent 'cowboy sect'

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Swedish pastor accused of leading violent 'cowboy sect'
08:46 CEST+02:00
A southern Swedish religious congregation based at a cowboy-themed conference centre has been accused of harbouring a violent and extreme religious sect.

A show aired on Tuesday by public service broadcaster SVT contained interviews with former Kingdom Center members who accuse the group of being a sect, guilty of performing violent exorcism ceremonies and using child labour, Expressen reports.

According to religious affairs programme Existens, members are often bullied into working long hours at the centre, and children are taken out of school and made to work at the cowboy-themed Lone Star park and conference centre in Höör, 50 km north of Malmö.

One woman who did not want her child to work there said they threatened to take her children away.

The cowboy-theme park may look like a line-dancing paradise, but according to defectors, life under parish pastor Christer Segerliv is far from heavenly.

Calling himself the Sheriff of Lone Star, Segerliv demands total subjugation from parish members, defectors claim.

One woman who did not want to reveal her identity on the programme told of how Segerliv forced her to participate in an exorcism ceremony.

"He was supposed to pray for me but instead he threw himself on top of me and knocked me to the ground", she said on the programme.

"It was very violent".

Pastor Segerlif denies the allegations.

"They should have interviewed somebody who is currently a member of the congregation in order to get a fairer picture," he told local newspaper Kvällsposten.

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