SPINDALE, N.C. — Some Word of Faith Fellowship ex-members offer personal tales of “dashed hopes, broken families and arranged marriages” in yet another Associated Press (AP) investigation. Yesterday the AP story covered how WoFF leaders took control of two church branches in Brazil, “imposing harsh rules and creating a human pipeline of young laborers who were brought to the United States and forced to work for little or no pay.” (Source: Associated Press)
However, as the AP investigation continues, Brazilian ex-members tell how promises of education and studies in the US were broken upon their arrival at WoFF. Study areas were changed, passports taken, marriages arranged, and work required with little or no pay.
See the Associated Press article here.
The AP articles are fed to newspapers world-wide. The February article on WoFF became the #1 read article at that time. Reactions have ranged from outrage, shock, and calls to action. RC Catalyst contacted our local officials for comment after the release of the AP story of alleged human trafficking in our area.
“Rutherford County DSS is not permitted to comment on any cases or investigations pursuant to the North Carolina General Statutes and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services confidentiality policies.” John Carroll, MHDL – Director, Rutherford County DSS
District Attorney Ted Bell responded with “Unfortunately the State Bar prohibits me from commenting on pending investigations.” Neither Sheriff Chris Francis nor Chief Deputy Ricky McKinney responded to our requests.
The State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) earlier had confirmed that an investigation into former Assistant District Attorneys Chris Back and Frank Webster actions at the WoFF. Testimony at the Matthew Fenner trial stated that Back, Webster, and a Cleveland County Social Worker had been present at a re-enactment of the Matthew Fenner incident of January 27, 2017. At least two witnesses reported that they had been coached on how to answer investigators’ questions. District Attorney Ted Bell stated that he had not received the results of the SBI case.
US Congressman Patrick McHenry will be hosting a town hall meeting at Cool Springs Auditorium next Wednesday. More details will be made available.