The son of a "sadomasochistic" QC who beat young boys until they bled has been suspended from ministry amid allegations he misrepresented what he knew about his father, The Telegraph can reveal.
John Smyth groomed his victims at public schools and on Christian summer camps run by the Iwerne Trust, and carried out beatings in his garden shed in Winchester in the 1970s and 1980s before continuing his abuse in Zimbabwe.
His abuse was made public in 2017 just a year before Smyth died of a heart attack aged 77 at his home in Cape Town, South Africa. In May, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby apologised to abuse survivors.
It has now emerged the barrister’s son PJ Smyth, a church leader in the US, has been suspended from ministry.
Action was taken amid allegations he misrepresented himself and knowledge of his father’s abuse before taking up his role as a pastor at Monument Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, US.
The Telegraph has seen documents detailing the circumstances surrounding PJ Smyth agreeing to stand down from his church in America as of last month amid questions about his conduct.
The move followed his removal from leading the Advance Movement – a collection of more than 115 evangelical churches around the world – as well as his leadership role within Newfrontiers – a wider coalition of almost 800 churches.
In response, Andy Morse, one of Smyth’s victims, said his stepping down was "an important step towards justice for the African victims of his father John Smyth’s abuse".
Another of Smyth’s victims, who wished to remain anonymous, added that he was "saddened".
"The abuse inflicted by John Smyth continues to destroy lives. Hundreds of people have known for decades, yet still weekly we learn something more. Victims will have no peace until the truth has been told."
After the Smyth scandal broke in February 2017, PJ is alleged to have made a series of misleading statements minimising the extent of his knowledge about the extent and scope of his father’s abuse.
The Telegraph contacted PJ Smyth for comment but he declined to respond.
Instead, Erik Santiago, operations director for Advance Global and North America, offered a comment "on behalf of Advance", saying “we are working together with PJ on the investigation into these allegations”.
He also highlighted the statement on the organisation’s website, which said: "Allegations have recently been raised about the accuracy of statements made by PJ Smyth in 2017 relating to his father, and associated issues.
"In light of these allegations PJ has willingly stepped down from all Advance movement leadership responsibilities and the leadership of Monument Church, until both the investigation can be concluded, and thorough assessments can be made.
"The Advance global leadership team is now engaged in a process of drawing up terms of reference for an independent and external review of the accusations and evidence. We ask that you please keep all related parties in your prayers."