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Once the children were inside the Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina, the evangelical church physically and verbally abused them for years, former congregation members claim.

Word of Faith Fellowship regularly used its muscle to turn children against their parents in custody, foster care and other cases involving kids who were then taken in or adopted by other families, according to police reports and social services documents.

Even as she battled desperately for her young son, one of the three women had told a judge that, if she could not have him, the boy would be better off in foster care due to the church's abusive nature.

A secretive church congregation in North Carolina has used money, influence and lies to rip more than two dozen children from their parents and take them in as their own, an investigation has revealed.

The counselor noted that the boy wet his pants twice during the interview, and said Laura Bridges had instructed him to soil himself during visits with Blanton.

A social worker testified that Blanton was a fit mother with a tidy, 'safe' home and noted that she had custody of her other children — two older boys and a younger daughter.

But the Bridges described Blanton as a criminal who lived with a drug dealer in a filthy house and rarely asked to see the boy.

The judge awarded the Bridges primary custody, saying Blanton had allowed her son to largely live with the couple for four years and that it would be traumatic to remove him.

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