Christian youth festival founder suspended after ‘inappropriate massages’ claim

In a statement published on Saturday, Soul Survivor Watford said the religious leader had been suspended from the church while the investigation is carried out.

“It has become clear that this more decisive action should have been made earlier and we have acted to correct this now,” said a spokesman.

“We want to reiterate that we are especially aware of the responsibility we have towards those who reported their safeguarding concerns to the Church of England and of how much they are suffering.”

The move came after Soul Survivor was asked this week to explain a meeting between Mr Pilavachi and Dan Goodwright, an associate worship pastor at the church, according to The Sunday Times.

They were pictured in the newspaper walking near Mr Pilavachi’s home in Watford, even though he was meant to be sidelined from the church as the investigation was carried out. Both have been approached for comment.

The alleged victims and Richard Scorer, an abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon who is acting for the complainants, have already expressed concern at the integrity of the Church’s investigation.

“The days when churches could plausibly investigate themselves and mark their own homework are long gone,” he previously told The Telegraph.

“The allegations against Mike Pilavachi are extremely serious. They clearly require comprehensive, independent and transparent investigation, covering both the allegations themselves and, crucially, the institutional response to those allegations, both within Soul Survivor and across the wider Church of England.”

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