The New York Times has an extensive piece documenting the various, conflicting accounts of the beating death of Lucas Leonard at the cultish Word of Life church in Chadwicks, New York, on Monday.

Leonard, 19, died after what District Attorney Scott McNamara of Oneida County said was a 10-hour-long attack beginning on Sunday night and lasting until Monday morning. His brother Christopher, 17, is still in the hospital recovering from his injuries. Their parents have been charged with manslaughter and their half-sister has been charged with assault.

According to the Times, authorities said the beating began after the church’s 29-year-old pastor, Tiffanie Irwin, called a meeting to address the boys’ loyalty to the church. Irwin’s mother, Traci, is the congregation’s spiritual leader. But defense lawyers for the boys’ parents, Bruce Leonard, 65, and Deborah Leonard, 59, disputed this account.

A lawyer for Deborah Leonard, Devin Garramone, told the Times, “It had something to do with the boys maybe touching some of the other children in the church.”

“They were being confronted to confess their sins and to repent,” Garramone said. “What started as some mild flogging spun out of control into something much more violent.”

New Hartford Police Department spokesman Lt. Timothy O’Neill said that this account was “completely unfounded.”

“There’s been no evidence whatsoever to suggest there was any molestation committed by either of these young men,” O’Neill told the Times.

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