Ontario police collar head of cult-like church on sex and violence charges

Steve Mertl
National Affairs Contributor
Daily Brew
Frederick King

Judging from his photo, Frederick King hardly looks like a charismatic religious leader who held a Mormon splinter sect in his thrall.

But the pudgy, moustachioed King apparently controlled the Church of Jesus Christ Restored that dwelled in a former Ontario ski resort and allegedly kept several "church wives" while ruling his congregation allegedly through intimidation and violence.

King, 55, was arrested in a Hamilton, Ont., hotel room on the weekend and charged with more than 20 criminal counts, including sexual and physical assault, uttering death threats, sexual interference and sexual exploitation, the National Post reports.

King's brother, Judson William King, was arrested in Oakville, Ont., last week and charged with assault with a weapon, uttering death threats and four counts of assault, QMI Agency reported.

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Frederick King dropped off the radar in 2012 after Ontario Provincial Police began investigating his church, following publication of a book by former longtime member Carol Christie.

Christie, author of Property: The Story of a Polygamous Church Wife, told CTV News' investigative program W5 in 2012 that she spent 40 years in the church founded by the King brothers' father, Stan, as an offshoot of The Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints in the 1970s.

King took his followers back to the roots of Mormon fundamentalism, including polygamy. He was dubbed "The Prophet," a title apparently inherited by son Fred.

Christie said she became one of Stan King's "church wives" as a teenager. He apparently had a liking for group sex and accumulated a bevy of wives ranging in age from 10 to 17, she said.

Originally based on King's farm, the group moved to a 200-acre property near Owen Sound, Ont., that had been a bankrupt ski resort, W5 said. The compound became known as "The Property."

King apparently fathered three sons with his legal wife and others with his church wives, including two from Christie, before dying of a stroke at age 58. Fred inherited his father's mantle as "Prophet," as well as his harem, Christie told W5.

Things changed under Fred King, she said, becoming even more cult-like. He began to use violence, including beatings and threats, to control the congregation.

Christie fled the church in 2008 after being held in virtual house arrest under the threat of death for anyone who defected from the church, the Post said. She sued the church and its Mississauga-based printing business in 2010 but the case was settled out of court.

[ Related: 'Sister Wives' family sues to prevent prosecution for polygamy ]

Other former members also began coming forward. Seven co-operated with the OPP investigation, the Post said.

The force issued a Canada-wide warrant for King's arrest last week and released his photo to the media. Investigators received a tip on Friday that he was in Hamilton, where he was arrested without incident, the Post said.

Christie said that news vindicated her decision to leave the church despite warnings that living in the evil outside world would "eat you up."

“This has proven it all wrong to me," Christie, who was pushed by her mother into "marrying" Stan King at age 18, told the Post. "Everything I was taught was all wrong."

Christie, one of whose sons remained with the church, said she spend her initial freedom looking over her shoulder, fearful the church would send someone to fulfil King's alleged death threats.

“But it didn’t last for very long, after I got it into my head that he wasn’t coming," she told the Post. "He doesn’t have that control over me any more.”

None of the allegations against the Kings have been proven in court.