A SENIOR Jehovah’s Witness from Redditch sexually assaulted a young girl while they were out knocking doors preaching the faith, a court has heard.

Thomas Brian Jenkins (referred to as Brian Jenkins in court), from Landor Road in Greenlands, is accused of taking advantage of the religion’s ban on women wearing trousers to sexually abuse the "terrified" schoolgirl.

Highly-respected church elder Mr Jenkins regularly forced his hands up the girl’s skirt while they were out on door-to-door ministries.

He denies 20 charges of indecent assault between 1972 and 1975.

Prosecutor Timothy Evans told Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court: “A Jehovah’s Witness has the power to do a lot of good, using the religion’s ethos and morals to put children in the right direction.

“But it also comes with an enormous level of trust.

“It’s the prosecution case that Brian Jenkins abused that position of trust by physically and sexually abusing a young girl on dozens of occasions.”

Mr Jenkins was 28 when he allegedly started abusing the 12-year-old girl in Brecon, Powys, where they were both members of the Jehovah's Witness congregation.

The woman, now 58, told a jury: “I’m angry at Jehovah’s Witness elders and the governing body for the lack of protection they provide to children.

“There is no safeguarding. They do not report it to the authorities because they want to deal with it in house.

“Then it doesn’t get dealt with.”

The woman claims she was repeatedly touched and groped by Mr Jenkins in his car, during bible studies and in a swimming pool.

The alleged sex attacks happened while the girl and her family were members of the Brecon congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses where Mr Jenkins was an elder.

She told the jury: “I was terrified. I tried everything I could, as a 12 or 13-year-old girl to get out of being round that person.

“My father wasn’t around and my mother didn’t listen to my pleas.

“I didn’t have the power or the words to avoid it.”

She told the court: “I was made to do bible studies with Brian Jenkins and the same thing would happen - he would be groping me.

“There were so many incidents I have tried to block them out over four-and-a-half decades.

“I tried to tell the elders that he wouldn’t leave me alone.”

She told the jury that two elders “grinned” when she told them what was going on.

The woman, who can’t be named for legal reasons, said she stopped going to church to avoid Mr Jenkins.

She said: “I was reprimanded for not going to meetings, not knocking on doors, not doing bible studies.”

Hilary Roberts, defending, said: “This is a campaign of complaints against Jehovah’s Witness and this (the sex assaults) didn’t happen.”

The alleged victim replied: “It happened.”

The woman told her husband about the alleged abuse 10 years ago and finally went to the police after seeing abused women getting justice in high profile cases on television.

The jury was told Mr Jenkins was convicted of a series of sex offences at Worcester Crown Court in 1990.

The trial continues.