Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bible-basher Beat Children With Leather Belt

Bible-basher Beat Children With Leather Belt
Oct 9 2007 By Janice Burns
Exclusive Church Official Beat Girls Aged 9 And 13 With Belt
A WEE Free church official has admitted beating two children with a leather belt.
Bible - basher Sylvia Fleming - known as The Wicked Witch of the Wee Frees - regularly hit the girls, aged nine and 13.
The 54-year-old, from Skye, pleaded guilty to child abuse charges yesterday.
Roger Webb, defending, told Portree Sheriff Court: "She is a deeply religious person.
"She had taken a fairly biblical interpretation of chastisement but she went beyond the bounds of reasonable punishment to assault."
The offences took place between June 2006 and April this year.
Sheriff Aladair MacFadyen warned Fleming not to break the law again and ordered her to return in six months for sentencing.
Fleming and her husband James, who hold official roles within the Free Presbyterian Church on Skye, were both accused of attacking children.
James, 56, a church officer and a gardener at Dunvegan Castle on the island, was originally charged with striking a 13-year-old girl on the face.
But his not guilty plea was accepted by the court.
Yesterday, locals revealed that Fleming, who keeps the books for the Vatten and Glendale Free Church, had tried to cover up her crime.
One local said: "She has been telling everyone that she has been victimised for giving the children a row.
"She said it is awful these days that one cannot even chastise a child without being hauled into court. She said it has all been a terrible misunderstanding.
"No one believed her fairy story anyway and we all knew it was a pack of lies to cover up for what she has done.
"She's got a cheek to preach to everyone else about the moral high ground.
"Many of the locals don't like her and she is nicknamed 'The Wicked Witch of the Wee Frees' which sounds about right to me."
Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the Rev Dr James R Tallach, said he knew nothing about the conviction.
And he vowed to take the case to the Kirk Session, who would take "appropriate action" against her.
He said: "This is the first time I have heard of this.
"I would never have dreamed that she would do anything like that. I am the moderator for that area and a friend of the family.
"Our beliefs are that we would normally chastise children who required it but it would be an expression of love and attachment, not of violence or temper.
"There is no way I would condone belting a child." Fleming refused to comment last night.
The same church was at the centre of another scandal just a few months ago when a jilted husband attacked his love rival at the altar.
Raging Allan Rawstron, 60, put Free Church choirmaster Archie Campbell in a headlock and punched him in the face during a service at the church.

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