Photo Credits: Qnews
During the late 1980s, Ron Charles Brookman was a senior pastor at Newton Mission Uniting Church in New South Wales (NSW) and there he allegedly assaulted a boy who was thirteen years old at the time. Reports of this alleged abuse were received by police in October 2018. In January 2020, Brookman was charged with sexual abuse of a minor and arrested at Newtown Police Station. When he left the court he was accompanied by his wife, Ruth Brookman, and they were photographed smiling.
Because there was no knowledge about Brookman’s alleged assault, he had a long and comfortable ministerial career. He ran pastoral programs with the goal of battling sexual addiction, pornography use, homosexuality and even sexual abuse. So the paradox is that an alleged sexual abuser ran programs that fought against sexual abuse. Besides this he was publicly against homosexuality and he led conversion therapy programs for 15 years. One of the most prominent and long-running conversion therapy programs in Australia, Living Waters Australia, closed in 2014 and Brookman was its director until then. Acting as a director of Living Waters Australia, Brookman was frank and vocal about his same-sex attraction, but he also claimed that he successfully “prayed away the gay.”
During discussions about marriage equality, he even testified as a “former homosexual” in front of parliamentary committees. In relation with Brookman’s testimony and his claim that he converted his feelings, LGBTQ community leader and former minister Anthony Venn-Brown, spoke about Brookman’s struggle with his sexual orientation: “Ron and I were filmed for a Bible college presentation presenting both sides of the debate on homosexuality. Ron freely admitted, more than once, that he got sexually aroused reading my autobiography. Whenever pressed whether he still experiences homosexual thoughts or feelings, Ron admits it still happens but he doesn’t act on them… Telling the Senate Inquiry that he is now heterosexual and also encourages others into heterosexual marriage is not only dishonest and misleading: it is irresponsible,” Venn-Brown said, as Patheos reports.
Brookman, who is now 70 years old, is out on bail after he pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against him. He will appear in court the end of March, and the only action taken against him for now is that his church disqualified him as minister. According to The Australian, The Uniting Church of Australia said it has removed Mr. Brookman “from all forms of ministry.” “The Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory (ACT) takes it protection of children and vulnerable people very seriously. The Uniting Church will be assisting NSW Police with its investigation,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.