The founder and director of Barnabas Aid International has resigned as a trustee, after being convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in his office, in February 2014.
Patrick Sookhdeo, 67, founded the Barnabas Fund, a UK based charity which focuses on supporting persecuted Christians in the Muslim world. Raised as a Muslim in Guyana, he converted to Christianity as a young person. He has written over 20 books on Islam and advised the British military on Muslim culture and Iraq.
Sookhdeo’s conviction was first reported by the Western Daily Press and later picked up by the BBC. He was convicted of one count of sexual assault and two counts of intimidating a witness. He strongly denied all the charges.
The initial accusation was investigated by the Barnabas Fund, but an internal inquiry did not uphold the allegations. Trustees of Barnabas Aid International were ‘saddened’ by the verdict.
Mr Sookhdeo received the lightest possible sentence a judge could impose and was ordered to pay costs of £3,500 pounds and will be restricted to a 16-hour curfew for three months. He has not been placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register. Baroness Cox sent a personal note as to his character which was read out loud in the court.
David W. Virtue, writing in www.virtueonline.org, said, ‘A previous woman personal assistant worked with Sookhdeo for 16 years and reported no inappropriate behaviour.
‘Shortly before the allegations were made, Sookhdeo introduced an open door policy and requested that women in the office wear appropriate length clothes as visiting religious figures might be offended by “short skirts”.’