The North Carolina man who alleged that he was held hostage for four months by officials at his former church after he told them he was gay has recanted the charges, the Associated Press is reporting.
Michael Lowry, 22, has apologized to the Word of Faith Fellowship Church, and says he'll “have to pay for the things that happened," according to the AP.
Lowry, who said he has begun attending services again, also told the the FBI and the police that he lied about being gay in the first place. He could now face charges for filing a false police report.
In October, Lowry told a local sheriff's department investigator that he had been physically and emotionally abused by Word of Faith Fellowship leaders while being kept in confinement in a dorm-like facility from Aug. 1 to Nov. 19, 2011. A Charlotte Observer article written at the time cited statements given to an investigator in which Lowry claimed he was knocked unconscious on the first day after being confined.
"They hit my head with fist(s), and I was out on the floor...held my hands and feet down, and were pushing on my chest," Lowry told ABC 13. The abuse, he says, was part of an effort to "expel the demon" that church members believed caused his homosexuality, according to the Observer.
Watch the original ABC 13 report above.
It isn't the first time that the North Carolina parish, which was founded in 1979 and now has about 750 members, has been hit with controversial allegations. Former members interviewed by the Observer in 2000 say they were told where to live, where to work, what to read, how to dress and even when to have sex with their spouses.
Lowry's admission follows that of Charlie Rogers, a Nebraska woman who was found guilty of making a false report after she claimed she was attacked by three men who carved anti-gay slurs into her arms and stomach.
In August, 22-year-old Joseph Baken was sentenced to 180 days in jail and a $300 fine after he pleaded guility to filing a false police report alleging he was the victim of an anti-gay attack.
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