Court documents shed light on secretive Christian sect tied to Amy Coney Barrett

Court documents shed light on secretive Christian sect tied to Amy Coney Barrett
Amy Coney Barrett before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 6, 2017, CSPAN

The founder of a Christian sect to which Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett belongs was described in court documents as exerting total control over the group's women and girls.

A sworn affidavit filed by a former member in the 1990s described a sexualized atmosphere in the home of People of Praise founder Kevin Ranaghan and his wife Dorothy Ranaghan -- where Barrett stayed while attending law school at Notre Dame -- and alleges instances of abuse and inappropriate sexual behavior, reported The Guardian.

“When I was part of the People of Praise I was in full life submission to Kevin Ranaghan, under full obedience to him and he exercised this authority over most areas of my life," wrote former member Colette Humphrey, who supported the claims in the affidavit. "For example, we were ‘in common’ financially, which meant that I had to hand over my paycheck to Kevin Ranaghan and he would decide on how that paycheck would be used. Kevin Ranaghan controlled my dating relationships, deciding who and when I should date.”

The original affidavit was submitted in 1993 by a woman named Cynthia Carnick, who said she did not want her five children to have visitations with their father John Roger Carnick, who was then a member of People of Praise, at the the Ranaghan or in their presence.

Carnick stated that she had witnessed Dorothy Ranaghan tying the arms of two of her daughters, then 2 and 5 years old, to their crib with a necktie, and she also said they practiced "sexual displays" in front of the children and other adults, saying that she saw Dorothy Ranaghan lying with her clothes on and "rocking" on top of her husband in their TV room.

Barrett, 50, lived in the Ranaghans' nine-bedroom home in South Bend, Indiana, while she attended law school and two years after graduating in 1997 married her husband Jesse Barrett, who also appears to have lived in the family's household, although there's no indication she lived there at the time the Carnick children were visiting or witnessed any of the behavior described in the affidavit.

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