John Smyth's son suspended from US church leadership

PJ Smyth(Photo: YouTube/Advance Movement)

The son of John Smyth has been suspended by a US church because of questions surrounding what he knew about the abuse perpetrated by his late father.

In addition to the leadership of the Advance Movement, it was also confirmed that PJ Smyth is suspended from his role as pastor of the Monument Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, in the US.

The Advance Movement, an evangelical network in the US, said in a statement that "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," it said. 

"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." 

In a brief statement on his website, PJ said, "I am pausing my website, social media, blog, books and resources to enable me to focus on this matter." 

John Smyth groomed boys and young men at evangelical summer camps and public schools. They were subjected to horrific beatings, some reportedly so severe that they caused bleeding. 

The abuse became public in a 2017 Channel 4 News investigation. He died the following year of a heart attack. 

Last month, the Archbishop of Canterbury apologised for the abuse and promised a thorough investigation by the Church of England's National Safeguarding Team into clergy who knew of it but failed to act. 

An independent review commissioned by the Church of England is currently being led by Keith Makin. His report is expected to be completed mid-summer.