KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The International House of Prayer continues to distance itself from a man who was associated with the controversial 24-7 prayer center before he came under suspicion in the recent murder of his wife.
After Micah Moore was charged Nov. 10 with the Oct. 30 murder of Bethany Deaton, public attention began to be focused on the connections among Moore, Bethany Deaton, Bethany’s husband, Tyler Deaton, and IHOP, where all three people apparently worshipped.
A court document supporting the murder charge against Moore stated that an IHOP pastor talked to Moore after he appeared Nov. 9 at Grandview, Mo., Police headquarters “and made statements about being involved in the murder of Bethany Deaton.”
Bethany Deaton’s body was found Oct. 30 in a van parked near Longview Lake. There was a plastic bag over her head, and an apparent suicide note nearby. Police treated her death as a suicide until Moore allegedly confessed to the murder.
It was later learned that Tyler Deaton had attended IHOP University and that he was listed for a time on the IHOP website as a leader of one of its “Forerunner Christian Fellowship” church sub-groups.
However, a statement issued Nov. 16 by IHOP official Nick Syrett said Tyler Deaton’s name was erroneously listed as an IHOP small-group leader.
The statement says that Tyler Deaton “was the ‘spiritual leader’ of an independent, close-knit, religious group that began in Texas over five years ago” and that “Deaton's group relocated to Kansas City over the last few years and operated under a veil of secrecy.”
It says that “After Deaton graduated from IHOPU in May 2012 he began to show interest in our FCF small groups.” It says Tyler Deaton took part in meetings “to discuss ideas on how to improve small groups,” but that he was never officially an IHOP/FCF small-group leader.
The statement notes that in mid-June someone approached an IHOP official, “raising concerns about Deaton's manipulative behavior in his independent Bible study group. The director met with Deaton and mistakenly concluded that these concerns had been resolved. This we deeply regret. This individual again voiced concerns in mid-October, and we began to investigate the situation.”
“These concerns did not include any reference to the sexual perversion, sexual assault, or malicious practices that were exposed only after Bethany's death.”
Moore reportedly told police he killed Bethany Deaton because he was afraid she was about to reveal that he and several other men had sexually assaulted her “over the last few months.”
“Knowing what we know now,” the IHOP statement said, “we deeply regret our failure to discern the nature of Deaton's alleged secretive, perverse, cultic practices. We further regret his admission to IHOPU four years ago and all connection he had with our organization.
“Our entire ministry continues to be saddened by these recent tragic events.”
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