Miss Indonesia 2009 linked to 'sex cult' organization

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Kuala Lumpur, Dec 14 (ANI): Miss Indonesia 2009 Kerenina Sunny Halim has been linked to an alleged sex cult organisation 'The Children of God', which started in 1968 and is now known as 'The Family International'.

Kerenina, 23, admitted that she is a member of the cult, a "non-governmental-organisation" for which she did humanitarian work in Aceh after the Asian tsunami in 2004.

Her American mother and Indonesian father were members, and she had been born into the organisation.

The organisation's name had been changed in the 1980s after negative publicity forced it "underground".

David Brandt Berg had founded the cult in California, and it was a counter-culture evangelical group with a foundation of biblical fundamentalism, and he had been addressed as "Moses", "Chairman Mo" or "Dad".

According to the Mail and Guardian Online, Berg preached free love to his followers, to the extent that females were encouraged to go into the world and engage in "flirty-fishing" of men: essentially to use sex to proselytise.

Perry Bulwer, a Canadian lawyer and blogger who "escaped" the cult in 1991, described the now deceased Berg as "a self-professed prophet who was an alcoholic, incestuous, paedophile".

The group had in the 1990s been investigated for prostitution, child abuse and kidnapping in countries such as Argentina, France and Spain, with some members jailed briefly.

Thomas Bergstrom of Family Care, the Indonesian arm of The Family International, said Berg's sexual-healing approach to lost souls was "ancient history" and that while "there have been allegations, these were all proven untrue in court".

"Some members may have done things that maybe they shouldn't have, but that is like any other family, or group or company," the Daily Chilli quoted Bergstrom, who pointed to the Catholic Church's perennial child abuse scandals by way of example, as saying.

Bergstrom said Kerenina should be judged "as any other individual who is associated with a church".

"I know her parents and they are wonderful people and I couldn't find anything negative to say about them," he stated.

The Miss World press office refused to allow the Mil and Guardian access to Miss Indonesia or to forward to her questions relating to this story.

"Miss World neither inquires, nor comments, on the religious or political affiliations of its contestants," a spokesperson, who refused to be named, said.

The spokesperson was asked whether this procedure would be followed if a contestant was, hypothetically, involved in genocide or war crimes.

"Miss World neither inquires, nor comments, on the religious or political affiliations of its contestants," was the answer given by the spokesperson. (ANI)

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