Michael Lowry, who began attending Word of Faith Fellowship Church in Spindale, N.C., as a child, filed a complaint with police earlier this year and has met with investigators multiple times over the past week about the allegations, according to police.
Lowry claims that he was kept in a church dormitory for months in 2011 after telling church members he was gay, according to the Charlotte Observer.
“The pastor said to find out what my darkest secret was, and I was like, ‘I’m never telling,’ Lowry told WLOS. “They hit my head with fists and I was out on the floor, they held my hands and feet down and were pushing on my chest and I could barely breathe.”
The Word of Faith Church was investigated for child abuse and founder Jane Whaley was convicted of abusing a congregant. The conviction was later overturned. The church also sued North Carolina’s Department of Social Services in the 1990s over the child abuse charges, obtaining a $300,000 award and having the child abuse charges expunged, according to court records.