Sheffield priest appears in court to face 34 sexual abuse charges against 11 women

A priest who led an evangelical movement in the 1980s and 1990s has appeared in court to face multiple allegations of sexual offences against former members of a church congregation.

The Reverend Christopher Brain (pictured) led the movement called the Nine O’Clock Service in Sheffield between 1986 and 1995.

Brain appeared at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court for a four-minute hearing on Monday where he faced a total of 34 charges in relation to 11 women.

The charges relate to allegations of sexual offences committed against women who had joined the movement, police have said.

Brain, now 66, of Park Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, is charged with one count of rape and 33 counts of indecent assault, alleged to have been committed between 1981 and 1995.

The Nine O’Clock Service was initially held at St Thomas’s Church, in the Crookes area of Sheffield, before moving to Ponds Forge sport complex in the city centre.

Bearded Brain stood in the glass-fronted dock for the short hearing wearing a grey suit and black open-necked shirt.

He spoke to give his name, date of birth and address.

District Judge Marcus Waite granted him unconditional bail and told him to appear again at Sheffield Crown Court on April 15.

Only the rape charge was read out in full in court on Monday.

The judge explained to Brain that this allegation was so serious it needed to be dealt with by a crown court judge and that the other 33 counts will also be transferred.

The 33 indecent assault charges include some which cover multiple different alleged incidents, including a number involving allegations of assault during massages.

Brain left the court building with his solicitor, wearing a surgical mask.

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2024, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Dave Higgens / PA.