Spiritualist group severs ties with jailed former president

A UK-based spiritualist organization has formally kicked out its disgraced former president, more than a year after he was sentenced to five years in prison in Sweden for child rape.

The International Spiritualist Federation (ISF), had come under fire for not acting swiftly to sever its relationship with Mervyn Johnson following his conviction for sexually molesting a number of young girls over a period of several years.

Johnson, a UK-native who moved to Sweden in the 1990s, molested his victims after convincing them he had powers to heal their souls.

One of his victims was only 11 years old at the time she was attacked.

The organization cited its own by-laws for the delay, explaining that ISF rules didn’t allow for the organization to take action prior to a June 2008 meeting.

”The ISF have now severed all connection with Mr Johnson,” the organization said in a statement.

The ISF also dismissed charges from some spiritualists in Sweden that the organization’s decision to hold an important spiritualist convention in Sweden in 2009 was in some way a show of support for Johnson.

”The ISF Executive Committee wish to make it clear that they have every sympathy with the victims of Mr. Johnson and in accordance with the philosophies and principles of Spiritualism, healing is sent to both the victims and abuser,” it said.

The organization plans to move forward with holding the 2009 event in Sweden saying it feels the move will be ”an important part of the healing process” for Johnson’s victims, as well as members of the spiritualist movement affected by the controversy.