Copy of photo of Carol Christie with her mother Betty.
Credits: WILLY WATERTON/QMI AGENCY
Now 59, Christie once dreamed of being a nurse. Instead, her mother groomed her to be the sex slave of Stan King, a charismatic, self-proclaimed "Prophet" of a fundamentalist Mormon sect who decreed he could have as many wives as he wanted.
Including girls as young as 10 years old.
When Christie was 18, she says she was beaten and drugged by a fellow member of the Church of Jesus Christ Restored, and then taken to live with King and his other wives at his farmhouse in Sauble Beach. He was 24 years her senior.
Eventually the church would buy a bankrupt ski resort outside of Owen Sound and set up residence. She soon won his favour because she bore him two sons. "I belonged to the Prophet. He owned you and you danced to his rules and you did whatever would make him happy," Christie recalled bitterly.
Even if that included group sex.
When King died in 1986, Christie dared to dream again, that perhaps she and her children would soon be free of the church that ruled their every thought and movement. Instead, King's son Fred by his legal wife took over both his title and his possessions. And so she was passed from father to son.
"He said whatever belonged to the first prophet was now his," she recalls.
Like his father before him, she says he, too, filled his bed with underage girls. One of his seven "church wives" was a child bride of 10 or 11, she says, while another had his baby when she was just 15.
But unlike the first prophet, Christie claims the second harboured a deep streak of cruelty and violence.
"I finally left because I thought he was going to kill me," she says. "It wasn't just me he was beating, it was other members of the church as well. He said chastisement was the will of God so we could become free of all our evil."
After years of abuse and humiliation, her oldest son escaped in 2007. Meanwhile, the rage and physical violence she endured at King's church services began to intensify. She'd go to bed each night, praying God would take her in her sleep.
For eight years, she was kept under "house arrest" in a Guelph apartment where she had to care for the children of other "church wives." Her youngest son and other members of the sect had to work at the church-owned printing business in Mississauga.
Christie finally decided to leave after she was slapped and kicked at an Easter Sunday service in 2008, but her son refused to join her. He told her he was afraid he'd go to hell if he left, just as the prophet had threatened. "The brainwashing goes so deep," she sighs. "It is truly the worst chapter of my life because I had to leave him behind."
After much counselling, she slowly rebuilt her life. She met her husband, an Owen Sound broadcaster and former city councillor, when she took a cleaning job at the local radio station. They married in 2009.
He was the first person to whom she told her harrowing story. The second was her lawyer.
In 2010, Christie filed a lawsuit against King, now 53, and the church, alleging she was involved in polygamous "coercive and abusive sexual relations" and was subject to "forcible confinement", assaults, threats and emotional abuse.
King and the church filed a statement of defence denying all her allegations. But they quickly settled her lawsuit and five others for "a lot of money." A request for comment left at the church's printing business was not returned.
Christie is now determined to go public and see the 40-member church shuttered. Her story aired on CTV's W5 two weeks ago and the OPP have confirmed that they're now investigating. "We're still in the very early stages," Sgt. Dave Rektor said.
Christie may be free, but she remains tortured by those still trapped inside: Not only her son, but the young girls being groomed to be King's brides. "It rips the heart out of me," she says softly. "That's why I'm trying so hard to get it shut down and get them a chance at life."