Ravi Zacharias Allegedly Involved in Several Incidents of Sexual Misconduct, Report Reveals – Hope 103.2

Ravi Zacharias Allegedly Involved in Several Incidents of Sexual Misconduct, Report Reveals

The report confirmed one of the three accounts described in the article, and found significant evidence of sexual misconduct involving additional massage therapists.

By Amy ChengFriday 12 Feb 2021

Allegations of serious sexual misconduct concerning the late Ravi Zacharias have been revealed in a report.

Reader discretion is advised. The following article includes content about sexual assault, rape and sexual abuse.

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) hired Miller & Martin PLLC to conduct an independent investigation after allegations surfaced, in an article published by Christianity Today last year, from three anonymous sources that Mr Zacharias sexually harassed them at two spas he co-owned.

Released today, the report confirmed one of the three accounts described in the article, and found significant evidence of sexual misconduct involving additional massage therapists.

It did not find evidence to suggest that anyone within RZIM or its board were aware of these incidents.

Scope of investigation

The report did not find evidence to suggest that anyone within RZIM or its board were aware of these incidents.

The scope of the investigation included allegations involving Mr Zacharias and Lori Anne Thompson, who accused him of “engag[ing] in sexually explicit online conversations” with her, and “solicit[ing] and ultimately receiv[ing] many indecent photos” of her.

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She claimed that he “groom[ed]” her as he “gained her trust as a spiritual guide, confidante, and notable Christian statesman,” and she then began to open up her life to him.

On April 27, 2017, Mr and Mrs Thompson sent Mr Zacharias a letter demanding $5 million in exchange for a release of claims against him and the ministry.

In response, he sued the Thompsons in federal court for extortion. The Thompsons and Mr Zacharias eventually resolved their dispute confidentially through mediation in late 2017.

When questioned about the Thompson matter, several RZIM staff stated Mr Zacharias’ “shifting narrative” and “nonsensical” explanations.

“Rather than fostering an environment of truth-seeking and transparency, Mr. Zacharias was strident and inflammatory,” the report said.

“He described his critics as ‘nasty people’ and ‘lunatics’ who were engaging in ‘satanic-type slander and falsehood’,” the report said.

“He described his critics as ‘nasty people’ and ‘lunatics’ who were engaging in ‘satanic-type slander and falsehood’.”

What did the investigation find?

Over 50 individuals were interviewed by Miller & Martin for its investigation. Several massage therapists confirmed Mr Zacharias’s frequent efforts to “try for more than a massage,” as one therapist put it.

“Eight therapists reported that Mr Zacharias would start the massage either completely nude or would remove the sheets during the massage,” the report said.

More serious accounts of sexual assault were also reported by other therapists.

Only one of the witnesses interviewed for the investigation said that Mr Zacharias engaged in sexual intercourse with them.

According to the witness, their relationship began as a normal massage therapist-client relationship and she came to think of him as a father figure.

“She reported that he made her pray with him to thank God for the ‘opportunity’ they both received,” the report said.

“She reported that he made her pray with him to thank God for the ‘opportunity’ they both received,” the report said.

“She said he called her his ‘reward’ for living a life of service to God, and he referenced the ‘godly men’ in the Bible with more than one wife.

“She said he warned her not ever to speak out against him or she would be responsible for the “millions of souls” whose salvation would be lost if his reputation was damaged.”

Several therapists interviewed for the investigation reported a normal therapist-client relationship with Mr Zacharias and said he was always professional.

Several therapists interviewed for the investigation reported a normal therapist-client relationship with Mr Zacharias and said he was always professional.

“One of these therapists said that Mr Zacharias was always fully nude for his treatments, but she was told it was a cultural thing and necessary for treatment of his pain,” the report said.

“Another reported that he frequently got erections during the treatment, which she said is not uncommon for male clients.”

Mobile devices revealed Ravi Zacharias’ private activities

In addition to reviewing documents provided by RZIM and other witnesses, Miller & Martin hired a digital forensics vendor to examine four mobile devices and one laptop it received from RZIM, all of which were used by Mr Zacharias at various times.

“The mobile devices provided the single greatest source of data about Mr Zacharias’s private activity and housed text and chat application messages, emails, recorded messages, documents, and images that sparked numerous leads,” the report said.

RZIM confirmed in the report that Mr Zacharias insisted on remaining separate from official RZIM communication platforms, and his phones were on a separate plan to the RZIM plan.

RZIM confirmed in the report that Mr Zacharias insisted on remaining separate from official RZIM communication platforms, and his phones were on a separate plan to the RZIM plan.

He also used private email addresses rather than an RZIM account and used the public wireless access while at RZIM headquarters.

“In addition to communications, Mr Zacharias’s phones contained over 200 photographs of women much younger than him – including six of Lori Anne Thompson – and dozens of photographs he took of himself,” the report said.

The majority of these photographs were of women who were fully clothed, posing as anyone would for a selfie, according to the report.

Statement from RZIM

RZIM said in its statement that it was “devastated” by what the investigation has revealed.

RZIM said in its statement that it was “devastated” by what the investigation has revealed.

“To be victimized by unwanted sexual contact, advances, and behavior is horrendous. It is diametrically opposed to everything we believe about the value and dignity of every single person,” it said in its statement.

“We believe not only the women who made their allegations public but also additional women who had not previously made public allegations against Ravi but whose identities and stories were uncovered during the investigation.”

“We believe not only the women who made their allegations public but also additional women who had not previously made public allegations against Ravi but whose identities and stories were uncovered during the investigation.” – RZIM statement

It stated that it felt a deep need for “corporate repentance”.

“That a leader under our care sinned against others so grievously pains us. We were trusted by our staff, our donors, and the public to mentor, oversee, and ensure the accountability of Ravi Zacharias, and in this we have failed,” RZIM said in its statement.

“The findings of the investigation have caused us to take an extensive and humbling look at ways that we have fallen short, made mistakes, and failed to love well. This is an ongoing process that will take significant time, but we are committed to it.”

What happens next?

RZIM now has two priorities to help the victims who have been abused by Mr Zacharias.

It has engaged victim-advocate Rachael Denhollander as a consultant to educate and advise its board and senior leadership in understanding trauma and abuse, and she will also serve as a confidential liaison with survivors.

Guidepost Solutions, a management and compliance consulting firm, has also been engaged to conduct a thorough evaluation of RZIM, including its structures, culture, policies, processes, finances, and practices.

RZIM is seeking the Lord’s will regarding the future of its ministry.

“The findings of this investigation have convinced us more than ever of the necessity and sufficiency of the gospel,” it said in its statement.

“No one is without the need for a savior. Sin resides in the heart of every human being. Jesus is the only person who is exactly who he says he is and the only savior worthy of our ultimate trust and worship. Jesus is fully committed to truth and to justice, and he unqualifiedly stands with victims.”

“Sin resides in the heart of every human being. Jesus is the only person who is exactly who he says he is and the only savior worthy of our ultimate trust and worship.” – RZIM statement