North Carolina 'Cult Abuse' Case to Go to Trial

A North Carolina judge ruled that there is enough evidence in an alleged cult abuse case to send it to trial after the accusers’ horrific testimony, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Wednesday.

The victims, a 44-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man, took the stand in Durham County Monday in a probable cause hearing for accused cult leaders Joseph Scott Craig and his wife Joy Suzanne Johnson.

The male victim, James Frederick Bethard, testified that the couple was running a “satanic group” in their home, according to the paper.

Craig has been charged with second-degree rape, second-degree forcible sexual offense, three counts of second-degree kidnapping and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, the News & Observer reported.

Johnson, 30, is accused of encouraging her husband to handcuff Bethard and force him into a dog cage, where he was allegedly confined for three hours and beaten with a cane. The female victim said that Craig raped her despite also testifying that she had consensual oral sex with Johnson more than once.

The defense describes the case as “consensual sadomasochism” gone awry, and challenges the credibility of the accusers.

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