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On the 5th of May, 2006, Reinhard was brutally beaten almost to death by members of Joe Johnson's family at their house in Long Beach, California.  This callous attack left Reinhard with serious injuries, including bleeding to the brain and a fractured spine.  However, despite the fact that the Long Beach Police Department had video footage of the attack, taken by a neighbour, the attackers were not charged, nor did they show any signs of remorse for what they had done.

In a desperate plea to highlight the gravity of the crime and the need for the Johnson family, who are professing Christians, to see their need for repentance, the Jesus Christians held a mock trial, charging the family with attempted murder and prescribing lashes of a whip as punishment.  In an effort to demonstrate Christian love, at the same time that they publicly denounced the attack, several members of the Jesus Christians volunteered to take the Johnsons' punishment on themselves, allowing themselves to be whipped in the place of the offenders.

whipping Jesus ChristiansThis whipping trial, covered and distorted by Fox News Undercover, generated strong reactions from all who heard about it, casting more controversy and negative public opinion on the Jesus Christians.

Read through the articles and watch the programs of this highly controversial episode in Jesus Christian history and discover for yourself the reasons that have led to this scandal.
Joe's Story: Read what happened on the day of the attack and all that has resulted from it in this detailed story written by Joe Johnson himself.

Jesus Christian Trial Articles: Discover the teachings that led to and resulted from the controversial whipping trial.

Fox News Reports: Watch the programs produced by Fox News and read the articles exposing their dishonest editing techniques.

Newspaper Articles: Browse through some of the newspaper articles that resulted from the Long Beach whipping trial.

If you have already read about the Bobby Kelly saga (see Cult Kidnap Boy), then you know that a similar pattern occurred in the story below.  We suspect that Betty's father, Fred Njoroge, was in contact with British cult-busters, who had devised an ingenious way to slander any group they didn't like, and to make it sound legitimate. 

You just accuse the group of "kidnapping" the person who has joined the group, and the media cannot resist repeating the word.  Each time this happens, you make reference to how a similar accusation has been made against the group on previous occasions as well.  The more times it happens, the harder it is for people to believe that all such cases are total fabrications.  Never mind that Betty herself is interviewed telling what really happened. 

We highly recommend that you start by listening to the radio interview and viewing the video link below, to get a true picture of what happened, and then notice how the media often avoided any reference to Betty's video (which was made available to all of them), because it so powerfully ruined a "good [read 'sensational'] story".

Video and Radio:

Newspaper Articles:

Below is a collection of some of the newspaper articles that covered this story.

Below are links to various articles that appeared during the scandal.  They are listed in chronological order.

Here are some special articles relating to the Bobby Kelly controversy, including one that includes information written by Jon Ronson about Graham Baldwin's behind-the-scenes dealings during the whole saga.
Below is a collection of television and radio clips related to the "Cult Kidnap Boy" saga.

cult kidnap boyOn the 14th of July, 2000, the words "Cult Kidnap Boy Aged 16" were published on the front page of the Daily Express, accusing the Jesus Christians of kidnapping 16 year old Bobby Kelly.  This is an account of what led to that allegation, what happened during the scandal and how it all ended.  Links to television footage, radio interviews and scores of newspaper articles can be found at the bottom of this page.

In late June 2000, the Jesus Christians met Bobby Kelly in his home town of Romford, Essex.  He had lunch with us and because he was on school holidays, he asked if he could come travelling with us as a visitor, and help us with our Christian work.  When we found out he was only 16, we insisted that he go home and ask his grandmother, Ruth (who was his legal guardian at the time), if he could travel with us.

That same night, Sue spoke at length with Ruth over the phone, to find out if she was happy for Bobby to be travelling with us, and Ruth said she was thrilled he would be seeing some of the country, socialising and staying away from computer games for a while.  We then arranged for a visit the following day.  We had a lovely dinner with both Ruth and Bobby, sharing more about our travel plans and what it would be like for Bobby to stay in the van with us.   Ruth was very happy with the idea, and said we were the nicest people she had met for a long time.  Bobby was never expected to forsake his possessions to come travelling with us.  Instead, he simply picked up a sleeping bag and a small travel bag with what he needed for the camping trip.

For the next 10 days Bobby travelled with us.  Every night he phoned his grandmother, and fairly frequently his mother (who lived separately to Bobby) as well, each time telling them where he was and what he had done each day.  The phone calls were always positive.   

During that time, we had two other visits with Ruth.   On one of those visits Bobby stayed the night with his grandmother and on another visit he asked us and his grandmother if he could bring his small TV with him to put in the van we were travelling in for some evening entertainment.  We were reluctant to bring the TV due to space limitations, but we agreed for Bobby to bring it in the end.  

We had previously been planning an outreach to Germany for August, so we discussed with Bobby and Ruth the idea of allowing Bobby to come with us on that outreach.  Both Ruth and Bobby were thrilled about that.  Ruth gave her permission, on the proviso that we phoned Bobby's mother and got her blessing.  We did that and Bobby's mother also gave her blessing for Bobby to come with us to Germany.  Ruth signed a passport application form so Bobby could begin the process of getting a passport.

However, all of us were unaware something more sinister was brewing behind the scenes.  After the first few days away from home, Bobby started receiving phone calls from the Anglican minister from a local church youth group he had attended on a few occasions in Romford.  The minister, David Whitehouse, insisted that Bobby personally come and visit him, so we drove Bobby back to Romford to have a cup of tea with the minister and his wife.  During the hour and a half meeting, David Whitehouse put a lot of pressure on Bobby to come on a church youth camp that Bobby had previously been interested in attending, but Bobby told the minister he didn't want to come as the camp conflicted with the scheduled plans to go to Germany with us, which Bobby explained was a lot more exciting.  At one point in the discussion, David Whitehouse promised to Bobby that if Bobby came on the camp, David would pay for Bobby to fly to Germany to join us AFTER the camp was over!   That sounded very strange to us, (why was David so interested in Bobby coming on this camp?).  Nevertheless, this enticement still failed to change Bobby's mind.   David Whitehouse was sorely displeased, and as we were leaving, he whispered threateningly to Roland "We will see what we can do about this!".

The next night Bobby discovered that he was unable to get through to Ruth on the telephone, as she was not answering her phone.   So we drove Bobby back to Romford for the fourth visit in two weeks to see his grandmother.   Ruth was behaving very strangely and was very emotional about "losing" Bobby, and would not allow us or Bobby to come into her flat, but instead met us outside in the street. We asked her if she wanted Bobby to come home and she said she didn't want to interfere with what Bobby wanted for his life as he was old enough to make his own decisions.   Bobby wanted to put his TV back in his room, but his grandmother would not let him back into the flat, which we all thought was strange! (In the subsequent media reports, we were accused of taking Bobby's TV against Ruth's wishes!)  Ruth's out of character emotional behaviour must have been because she had just been pressured to sign away her legal guardianship of Bobby, at the behest of Graham Baldwin and David Whitehouse, to help with his sinister and secret plan to accuse us of kidnapping Bobby and get a lot of media publicity for himself (as well as slander the Jesus Christians).

Bobby KellyTwo weeks after Bobby first met us, Bobby phoned his mother again.  She was also behaving very out of character and was saying nasty things about ourselves which offended Bobby.  Neither she nor Ruth at any time asked Bobby to come home.   Bobby, as usual, told his mother his whereabouts in that phone call.  Late that same night a friend of ours whom we had all just visited, was watching a late night program which showed the headlines of the next day's newspapers.  He was alarmed to see a photo of Bobby on the front page and the headlines about a cult kidnapping a 16 year old boy.  He tried to warn us, but we didn't get his message until the following morning when we checked the newspaper stands.   To our shock we found Graham Baldwin's fabricated headline and story about us kidnapping Bobby on the front page of one of the British tabloid papers!  We also started to get threatening phone calls from the police demanding that we drag Bobby down to the nearest police station (against his will, if necessary!) to hand him over.   Scotland yard detectives raided the home of that same friend shortly before the newspapers hit the stands, convinced that Bobby was being held there because our camper van was registered at our friend's address.   

Bobby had been made a ward of court, which meant that his grandmother was no longer his legal guardian, but that the State had legal custody of him.  Bobby did not want to be handed over to the authorities, and for the following two weeks, we were on the run with Bobby, trying to protect him from Graham Baldwin, who had engineered the whole thing at the request of David Whitehouse, who was determined to get Bobby away from us.

Graham BaldwinBobby went into hiding with a few other JC guys while Roland and Sue prepared to hand themselves in to the authorities, determined to protect Bobby from an obviously corrupt situation.  We contacted the British Quakers to ask for support, but they said if we had done nothing wrong, we should hand the boy and ourselves over to the police!  (We couldn't believe this was the same religious group that risked their lives to help the slaves escape to Canada during the time it was illegal to help them.)  The media went wild with the juicy story of a cult kidnapping a "boy", often failing to mention that this "boy" was 16 and a half, old enough to leave home and join the army and kill people.   Bobby was able to do a number of media interviews where he denied being kidnapped, and told his side of the story.  However, to prevent the truth from coming out further, Graham Baldwin successfully convinced the authorities to put out an injunction on the media, to ban broadcasting any interviews with either Bobby or ourselves to defend ourselves against his lies.  Graham, of course, still had free reign in spreading further distortions about us.

Roland and Sue were eventually found by police and appeared in court shortly before the media ban was overturned by the BBC.  Bobby was found shortly after Roland and Sue had been in court.

When Roland and Sue were detained by the police, they were kept "incommunicado" which meant that normal rights allowing an accused party to phone their lawyer were denied, a status reserved only for terrorists.  Not able to communicate with the outside world, Roland and Sue were dragged before the High Court without any legal representation.  

Since no kidnapping had ever taken place, nobody was officially charged with kidnapping at any point.  However, because Roland and Sue refused to reveal Bobby's whereabouts (before he was found safe and sound at a camping ground), they received a six week sentence for contempt of court, a charge which was immediately reduced to a six month good behaviour bond.

When Bobby was found, he was taken into custody and we were not allowed any contact with him until he turned 18, at risk of going to jail.  However, Bobby made a few secret phone calls to us and we secretly met up on a few occasions.

Bobby KellyTo this day we still remain friends with Bobby, who visits us and stays with us from time to time.

His grandmother has also apologised to us and to Bobby for being swept up in the fear and frenzy induced by Graham Baldwin and David Whitehouse and for her mistake in signing away her authority as Bobby's guardian, in order for Bobby to be made a Ward of Court.

Watch some of the footage, listen to interviews and read through articles that were published during this controversial chapter in Jesus Christian history.
TV and Radio Television and Radio Clips: Watch some of the footage and hear some of the interviews that were published during the scandal.
Special Articles Special Articles: Read through some special articles relating to the Bobby Kelly controversy, including one that includes information written by Jon Ronson about Graham Baldwin's behind-the-scenes dealings during the whole saga.
Newspaper Newspaper Articles: Wade through the newspaper articles that highlighted the alleged kidnapping and see the story unfold.

Although this particular story did not generate more than a couple of articles in the media, they were used as a way of instilling fear in another saga the following year.  The story is also relevant to some of what happened on The Jeremy Kyle Show several years later.

The following story is about a young man named Kyri, his mother Bernadette and a self proclaimed cult buster (Graham prefers "exit counsellor".)  named Graham Baldwin.  It is packed with action and controversy.

During the U.K. summer of 1999 Kyri Sheridan met the Jesus Christians when they were out distributing literature in Guildford, Surrey.  Kyri was immediately impressed by The Liberator (a comic book version of the life and teachings of Jesus, based on the Gospel of Luke), and he came over to the house of a friend of the JCs for a meal. After some meaningful discussion about the teachings of Jesus, Kyri left and went back home. 

A few days later, Kyri called us, informing us that he wanted to join the community, and that he was already making his way to see us.  When we met him, we explained that we usually had something called a "trial week" where people could stay with us during that week before they made a final decision about joining us and before we made a decision about accepting them as members.  Although people are encouraged to live as though they had given up everything they have (by setting aside and/or not using their personal money, etc. during the week), they could choose to end the trial week at any time, taking with them everything they had originally brought.  Kyri was keen to give it a go, and he had come with just the clothes on his back, so we agreed to start the trial week.

The following night we received a phone call from Kyri's mother, Bernadette.  She asked for Kyri and spoke to him on the phone, telling him that she disapproved of his decision.  He tried to explain to her about the trial week but she was adamant that he should come back home and did not want him to travel with us.  There were more calls after that.  They were tense and at some point Kyri began refusing to answer the phone, letting Bernadette leave long messages on the answering machine.  The following evening, we received a phone call from the Guildford Police department, informing us that Kyri had been reported as missing, and that he was to show up at the police station before 10pm the next day to prove that he was in no danger.

We were concerned that Bernadette would be at the police station waiting for Kyri.  The fact that she had reported him missing to the police despite having talked with him on the phone and despite having been told where he was; and her insistent demand that he return home clearly showed that she meant to stop Kyri from doing what he wanted to do, and that trouble was almost certainly heading our way.  Kyri was determined to travel with us and so he tried to report at another police station nearby.  However, he was told that since the missing person report had been made at Guildford Police Station, he had no choice but to report there. 

Roland drove Fran and Kyri to the police station and sure enough Bernadette was waiting for them out front of the station.  Kyri introduced Fran to her, and she responded by telling Fran that he was the devil incarnate.  It was obvious things were not heading in the right direction!  She latched onto Kyri (literally) and started shouting false accusations against the Jesus Christians, leaving hardly any space for Fran to counteract her allegations.  It was a trying time for Kyri, too.  Fran told Bernadette that Kyri, who was 19 years old, was no longer a child, and that he was God's child and should be respected as an adult.  She later quoted him as saying "He is no longer your son, he is ours now!".

Kyri managed to get to a police officer inside and told him that he was not missing.  Bernadette, who was now assisted by one of Kyri's cousins and one of his friends, kept shouting over the top of Kyri, insisting that he was brainwashed and could not make his own decision.  She demanded that Kyri be put in a room by himself with her, where she could show him all the dangerous information about the "cult", which she had apparently gathered from Graham Baldwin, a U.K. cult buster.

Kyri told the police officer that he did not want to be alone with Bernadette, and that she was trying to stop him from travelling with his friends, something he was legally entitled to do.  The police officer then pulled Kyri away and spoke to him privately. 

During that time Bernadette, Kyri's cousin, and Kyri's friend began heckling Fran in the waiting room.  They accused him of being a brainwashed cult member, of being from the devil, etc.  No matter what he said to counteract their accusations, they would twist it and shout at him even further.  At one point Bernadette spoke in tongues over Fran, telling him she was putting a curse on him.  Seeing that it was hard to reason with people who had already made up their minds, Fran tried being silent and declined answering their leading questions.  To this Bernadette replied "They have trained you well!".

Finally the police officer came back announcing that he had spoken with Kyri, that he seemed in his right mind, that he was legally an adult, that he wanted to travel with his friends, and that he should be free to do so.  This was not well received by Bernadette and those who had come to support her.

Bernadette started arguing with the police and with Kyri.  Things were getting more tense.  During the tension Kyri's cousin tried a softer line, telling Fran that she understood things from his perspective.  She asked where they were planning to go.  Trying to reassure her that the Jesus Christians were not going to just "disappear" with Kyri, Fran said they planned to visit various Christian festivals (mostly toward the north of England) where they would hand out tracts.

At last Kyri and Fran decided it was enough and they wanted to leave.  When Fran and Kyri tried to walk off quickly, Kyri's old friend threatened violence and insisted he could not be outrun.  Bernadette grabbed Kyri in a bear hug and would not release him, despite Kyri insisting that she let him go.  The police warned Bernadette that if she did not release him they would be forced to arrest her, as she was holding him against his will.  She did not listen and so she was promptly handcuffed by the cops.

Fran and Kyri walked off quickly to the van where Roland had been waiting for them.  They noticed that Kyri's cousin, her husband and Kyri's old friend had jumped into a red sports car.  When they tried to drive off, they were followed by the red car.  They tried to outrun them, but it was impossible to outrun a sports car in their big old chunky van!  So, they drove back to the police station and informed the police about what was happening.  That did the trick.  The red sports car promptly sped off, with police cars chasing after it, while Roland, Fran and Kyri drove in the opposite direction, back to a friend's house.

It was clear that there would be further trouble, and because Kyri still wanted to have a trial week, the team decided to start their travels up north, where they could get away from a potentially violent situation.

A couple of days later, Kyri called an old friend and was informed that his picture had appeared in the newspaper.  Kyri checked, and sure enough, there he was... along with a headline reporting him as still 'missing'.  The article mentioned that Kyri had turned himself in at the police station and that there had been a confrontation.  But it also added that he appeared sunken cheeked and zombie like!  Another newspaper article reported that Bernadette was trying to sue the Guildford Police for having allowed Kyri to go free.

Soon after, the guys who were living and travelling in the van, started getting unusual hassles from local police.  Police would come to the van whenever they spotted it and ask for the names of all the people travelling in it.  This seemed unusual as the team had never experienced such procedures previously.  One day when the team was distributing literature in a town near where they had camped, Kyri thought he spotted his uncle, an Irish army soldier who apparently had been visiting Bernadette recently.  The team quickly got in the van and drove to another town.

Similar events took place a couple of other times over the next week, with police checking on who was in the van, and Kyri spotting either his mother or a relative in the town the following day.  The team didn't know if they were just becoming paranoid or if they really WERE being stalked by Bernadette with the cooperation of the police department.  Certainly the latter possibility seemed too sensational to believe, at the same time that the evidence before them pointed more and more in that direction.

They continued their travels until they reached Liverpool.  Kyri was seriously considering joining the group by this time.  One of his main concerns was that he was in debt.  He had a few outstanding loans, so he wanted to pay off the one with the highest interest first.  He went to the ATM to withdraw enough to make payment on one of the high interest debts.  To his surprise, the ATM swallowed his card and would not return it.

After Kyri informed Fran of what had happened, they decided to go into the bank to speak with someone about it.  The bank was a small one with hardly any tellers but several desks where customers could be seen personally.  Kyri and Fran approached one of the desks, sat down and began to explain what had happened. 

The man behind the desk heard about the card being swallowed up and confessed that he could not figure out why such a thing would have occurred.  He typed Kyri's details into the computer to get more information.  His facial expression changed dramatically and he told Kyri and Fran that there was no problem with the account, but that he needed to go upstairs to see the manager to get clearance to organize for a replacement card.  When he left the desk, Kyri turned the screen of the computer around to read what it said.  To his shock, the words "CULT INFLUENCE - DO NOT RELEASE FUNDS" was flashing on the screen on top of his account details! 

Kyri and Fran quickly discussed what to do.  They decided to wait for the man to come back and to ask him what was going on.  Surely, having such personal and religiously discriminatory information on their files was not standard bank procedure.  When the man came back, Kyri asked what the fuss was all about.  The man said that there was no problem, but that there was a techinical glitch with the account and it would take about a month to sort out.  Kyri asked him what was written on the screen.  The man said that there was nothing written on the screen apart from Kyri's account details.  Kyri became more specific, "Are you saying that there was no message at all on the screen telling you not to release my funds?"  

"I swear to God that there was no such message on the screen", replied the bank staff member.  Kyri then told him that he had seen the message and the exact words used, to which the man replied, "That was not a message, it was a telegraphic transfer text!"

It was obvious that Bernadette had had a hand in this.  Kyri recalled that she had a friend who worked in another branch of the same bank, and so assumed that she had been the one who froze the account.

The team continued to travel further north, to coincide with a Christian conference that was going to take place in Kendal. When they got there Kyri and Fran were distributing tracts about a block away from the conference.  They soon heard police sirens, and a police car with flashing lights pulled up to a sudden halt in front of them.  Two police officers got out, approached the two men, and asked, "Which one of you is Kyri Sheridan?".  Kyri and Fran looked at each other in surprise and at first refused to answer the question, asking the police instead why they wanted to know.  The cops were getting frustrated at their lack of cooperation, so Kyri revealed who he was, and asked again why they wanted to know.  They informed him "There's a phone call here from your mother!" 

Kyri's and Fran's jaws just dropped as they approached the police car where Kyri was handed the receiver of the car's mobile phone!  Kyri spoke with Bernadette and told her to stop hassling him all over the country, that he was 19 years old and capable of making his own decisions, that he had decided to follow God and that she should accept it.  Once the phone call ended, the police got back in their vehicle and drove away!

By now the small team travelling in the van were convinced that Bernadette had, indeed, managed to get the police, the bank, and other authorities in the U.K. to bend over backwards for her in bizarre ways.  Nevertheless, they maintained the circuit they had originally planned, and they kept getting hassled by the police along the way.

About a week had passed since the phone call that was personally delivered by the police, and the team was now ready to go to Greenbelt, a Christian festival that is held each year.  Kyri and Fran went into the festival, handed out some tracts and started visiting the various tents and workshops that different groups had put on, with each one explaining their own Christian views.  While sitting around a camp fire where a singalong was happening, Fran noticed that one of the ushers looked strikingly familiar.  He looked closer and sure enough, it was Bernadette Sheridan herself!  She had dressed up as an usher, and tried to disguise herself as a man by putting her hair up into a baseball cap!  It wasn't clear if she had seen them or not, so the pair quickly fled the festival and drove to another town.

It would take several other paragraphs to recall every other incident that happened after that, but it is sufficient to say that Bernadette was still stalking Kyri and the Jesus Christians for quite some time after that. 

Kyri had technically joined the Jesus Christians by this time, but was more or less rushed into making that decision by the actions of his mother who, unwittingly, had only helped to polarise the situation. 

Kyri was invited to work with the team in Australia, a place he always wanted to visit.  It was hoped that this would give him some space from Bernadette's harassment.  Bernadette had been advised by the Jesus Christians to try to develop a positive relationship with Kyri instead of fighting his decision to work with us, in the hope that if Kyri did leave the community at some point, he and Bernadette could have a good relationship.  But their wisdom fell on deaf ears.  Instead, Berni was doing everything in her power to drive Kyri further and further away from her.

When Berni learned that Kyri was in Australia, she made preparations to go there herself.  Whatever differences we may have had with Bernadette over the years, we have always admired her determination!  We only wish that she had taken a more positive approach to start with, which would have saved her, Kyri and us a lot of tension.  Nevertheless, she managed to find out which town we were staying in, and then started stalking the local McDonalds restaurant, knowing that we often meet up at McDonalds.  She rented a car and purchased binoculars, which she used to watch from across the road from the restauarant.  

She eventually did find us, and we again encouraged her to have a positive relationship with Kyri and with us.  She told us about how Graham Baldwin had advised her to charge Kyri with a crime (e.g. stealing) so that the police could put a warrant out for him, then arrest him, so that she could have easier access to him.  Fortunately, she saw through that, but she had followed Graham's suggestion that she at least report Kyri missing. 

We told her that the only way our relationship with her (and Kyri's relationship with her) was going to go forward would be if she would renounce Graham Baldwin's tactics.  She agreed, and we started inviting her over to the house for meals, etc.  She started buying a lot of gifts for Kyri, which was a much better strategy than chasing him all over the country, and probably did a lot to improve her relationship with him.

Bernadette also told us that the night she was arrested for holding Kyri in Guildford she was put in a cell for some time because she was physically resisting the police.  When they tried to release her she apparently went mad at them again and bit one of the cops and so they locked her up again for a few more hours before she calmed down.  She later threatened to sue the police for letting Kyri go without first subjecting him to a psychological assessment, and they bent over backwards to help her track Kyri.

After some time in Australia, she went back home to England, and eventually Kyri also returned to Europe to work with the Jesus Christians there.  He spent about a week back home with Bernadette over Christmas, and later wrote an article called: A Letter To A Brother talking about how he got sucked into wanting a materialistic lifestyle again.

Soon after that, Kyri left the Jesus Christians and went back home.  He did not give any reasons for why he wanted to leave.  In fact, he didn't even say goodbye.  He just left one morning, and that was the last we heard about him.

Years later, Graham Baldwin appeared on the Jeremy Kyle show claiming that we had forced Bernadette to renounce him, that he was never friends with her, and that he had a signed affidavit from her "proving" these things.  But we know that Graham WAS the one who was advising Bernadette throughout the whole Kyri saga, because she told us so herself.  Like his later claims that he had nothing to do with accusing us of kidnapping another person, Bobby Kelly, they don't hold much water against all the evidence proving otherwise.

Below are the few articles we currently have that relate to the Kyri saga.  We hope to gather more in the near future.

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