Warm Southern Breeze

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Ravi Zacharias International Sexual Predator Evaded Detection for Years as Christian Minister

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 10, 2021

RZIM, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, headquartered in the metro Atlanta, Georgia area, was stunned to learn that the ministry’s late founder and namesake, Ravi Zacharias, after intensive independent investigation, was confirmed to have been a long-term sexual predator who craftily and skillfully covered his tracks by using the ministry as a front for his sexual predatory and criminal behaviors on a global scale.

Zacharias, who for 40 years was previously held in high esteem in Christendom as an apologist – one who gives a reasoned, rational, and logical defense of the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Nazareth as the sinless resurrected son of God, miracle worker, etc. – died 19 May 2020 of a rare form of bone cancer located in his spine. It was an altogether ironically telling end to his life, that the foundation upon which he built his religious empire was a corrupted, and diseased fraud, just like the cancer in his spine.

Ravi Zacharias () was a liar, fraudster, international sexual predator, swindler, and all-around miserable scumbag who got away with his crimes by using a front as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Nazareth

During his lifetime, there were unverified rumors – scuttlebutt – of things possibly amiss and awry, and some of his claims about his academic accomplishment and achievements were not merely questionable, but entirely fabricated, and fully false, as well as the existence of hushed rumors of possible sexual impropriety. But none of them were ever fully investigated because of his stature, until after his death at age 74.

Some skeptics who continued a vigilant watch over his ministry were the proverbial “voice of one crying in the wilderness,” albeit were largely – if not fully – discounted by the religious Christian community precisely because the claims and investigations were made by atheists.

One such investigator is a fellow named Steve Baughman who owns the website RaviWatch.com, is an attorney, and describes himself as a “part-time lawyer, part-time touring and teaching musician, part-time philosophy student, and full-time dilettante.”

On the “about me” page of the site, he wrote that “The Ravi Zacharias project fell into my lap most unexpectedly in 2015 when I was seeking the best and brightest defenders of the Christian religion. I began earnestly to look into his work and quickly found a scoundrel behind the smiling erudition.”

The front page of the RaviWatch.com website has a detailed narrative about the numerous extensive false claims made by Zacharias, and show a trend of changes to the RZIM website in response to the discovery of false claims made by Mr. Zacharias, most notably those being pertaining to educational achievement, and academic appointment at prestigious educational institutions such as Cambridge, Oxford, and others.

A video by Mr. Baughman published November 26, 2017 on the YouTube website, which link is posted below, gives significant detail about his findings of Ravi’s continued deliberate defrauding and lies about himself, and about his long-term online sexual relationship with “Lori Anne Thompson, a woman with whom he had maintained an online friendship for several years.”

“In April of 2017, Mr. Zacharias received a demand letter from Mark P. Bryant, of the Bryant Legal Center in Paducah, KY, who represented Lori Anne Thompson, which demanded $5 million in what can only be characterized as hush money. The letter accused Ravi of using Ms. Thompson for his sexual gratification, in violation of his duties as a minister.”

“The letter is not legally persuasive. But it makes an explosive claim. Mr. Bryant claims to have an email from Mr. Zacharias in which he threatened to commit suicide (“bid this world goodbye”) if Ms. Thompson told her husband about their relationship. (Mr. Zacharias does not deny this in his court filing but he remains free to do so as litigation proceeds. I am attempting to procure a copy of the email.)

“On July 31, 2017, Mr. Zacharias responded by filing a federal lawsuit against Ms. Thompson and her husband, Bradley Thompson, accusing them of carrying out an extortion scheme against him. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

“Looking only at the evidence presented by Mr. Zacharias we learn that he had indeed carried on an online relationship with Ms. Thompson, one that involved her sending him nude photos of herself. (There was no physical sexual contact between them.) After Bradley Thompson learned of this relationship, he emailed Mr. Zacharias and asked “why would you ask her to send you photos of herself?”

“Five days later, on January 21, 2017, Mr. Zacharias replied to Mr. Thompson. He denied soliciting such photos from Ms. Thompson but said that he did not want to risk “seeming to avoid the full force of the responsibility.” Mr. Zacharias admitted that “the blame is real and inescapable” and revealed that he had avoided meeting Ms. Thompson in person “so as not to continue what was wrong.”

“In his complaint Mr. Zacharias also reveals that when he learned that Ms. Thompson was coming to visit him from her home in Canada he deliberately left town to avoid meeting her.

“Curiously, while the complaint claims that at various times Mr. Zacharias attempted to block further messages from Ms. Thompson, it also says that he “remained amicable out of fear for his family’s safety and of potential damage to his professional reputation if he upset the Thompsons.”

“So it appears undisputed that, at very least, Mr. Zacharias continued for some time to receive sexual photos from Ms. Thompson even when he could have attempted to terminate contact with her, reported her behavior to his Board of Directors and gone about his business with no fear of reputational damage. It is also undisputed that something significant enough was going on between Ravi and Lori Anne that he deliberately left town when he knew she would be arriving.”

Mr. Baughman wrote that, “Ravi was a sexual predator, an academic fraud, and a man who led a double life. He made false claims on his book covers about his credentials, deceived tens of millions of Christians about his education, led trusting minds to believe there were simple answers to complex questions about God, operated two massage spas, and sexually abused massage therapists in the U.S. and across Asia. Ravi was also a vicious man who brutalized those who threatened to expose him. This is all confirmed now.”

On the RZIM website, there is posted an “Open Letter from the International Board of Directors of RZIM on the Investigation of Ravi Zacharias” which details in part the efforts the organization has undertaken to investigate the claims made by others about Ravi’s sexual predatory behavior. They wrote in part that, “Following allegations made in late August of 2020 that Ravi had engaged in sexual misconduct and abuse in connection with two day spas, we commissioned Miller & Martin PLLC, a law firm with experience in corporate and sex crimes investigations, to conduct an independent investigation. We gave Miller & Martin a broad scope to pursue any avenues that they judged to be relevant to the accusations, and we emphasized that our only purpose for the investigation was to ascertain the full truth.

“Having received the results of the investigation, we are publicly releasing the investigation report in the exact form that we received it. We have been waiting to make an extended statement in the hope that the full findings of the investigation would allow us to speak more accurately and meaningfully. We also wanted to ensure Miller & Martin’s independence in their investigation, assessments, and reporting of the findings.

“The investigation’s conclusions have caused us to think very differently about the allegations Mrs. Lori Anne Thompson made against Ravi in 2017. We were wrong. Our trust in Ravi’s denial of moral wrongdoing and in his deceptive explanations of emails and other records that became public was severely misplaced, and our failures in 2017, including our failure to commission an independent investigation at that time, allowed tremendous pain to continue to be caused in the Thompsons’ lives.

“We believe Lori Anne Thompson has told the truth about the nature of her relationship with Ravi Zacharias. It is with profound grief that we recognize that because we did not believe the Thompsons and both privately and publicly perpetuated a false narrative, they were slandered for years and their suffering was greatly prolonged and intensified. This leaves us heartbroken and ashamed. We are deeply grateful for their longstanding commitment to making the truth known and admire their strength to carry on even when they were not believed. It is our hope to seek a redemptive way forward with Mrs. and Mr. Thompson and seek their forgiveness, while recognizing that we have no right to this and wanting to be led by them in terms of what might be most helpful.

“We are shocked and grieved by Ravi’s actions. As Ravi Zacharias was the founder of our ministry and the leader of our staff, community, and team, we also feel 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. 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.

“We regret the statement that we released on September 15, 2020. It lacked compassion and concern and did not communicate that we would take the allegations seriously. Also, it gave the impression that all of RZIM’s staff shared the opinion that the allegations were false. Our statement was wrong in tone and wrong in the impression that it represented our entire staff. We deeply regret that statement, and we are very sorry for it.

“Our ministry has two priorities right now. We want to help the victims of Ravi’s abuse, and we want to thoroughly understand what has taken place in our organization so that we can do everything we can to make sure nothing like this happens again. To that end, we are beginning by making the following commitments:

“We have engaged victim-advocate Rachael Denhollander to act in two roles. As a consultant, she will educate and advise our Board and senior leadership in understanding trauma and abuse as well as best-standards practices. Rachael also has been retained to serve as a confidential liaison with survivors and to help guide the process of care, justice, and restitution for those who have been victimized. Survivors or their legal counsel, advocate, or representative may reach out to her confidentially at rjd.requests@gmail.com.

“We have engaged Guidepost Solutions, a management/compliance consulting firm, and are providing full disclosure to them to conduct a thorough evaluation of RZIM, including its structures, culture, policies, processes, finances, and practices. Guidepost was chosen for its independence, depth of skill and expertise, and emphasis on top-down and grassroots cultural reform. This assessment will contain three main components:

“Survivor Care: Guidepost will provide confidential avenues for any survivors and witnesses, including any who have not yet come forward, to disclose information related to abuse or harassment at RZIM or by anyone employed by RZIM in the past. Survivors will also be encouraged to contact Rachael Denhollander for further assistance. In addition, anyone is invited to disclose any information relevant to the scope of the investigation, even if they have not directly experienced abuse or harassment. This will include the option for anonymous reporting, including witness statements. Guidepost will investigate any new information that is brought forward, including allegations related to mishandling or enabling abuse or harassment. Guidepost will also review how accusations against Ravi were handled in 2017 (and all other relevant years).

“Cultural Assessment: Guidepost will perform a thorough assessment of the culture of RZIM related to abuse, harassment, whistleblowing, and disclosures. This will include assessing communications; tone of leadership; actions taken; knowledge-base of leadership and employees; and the impact of policies on RZIM’s culture.

“Policy Assessment: Guidepost will perform a thorough review of RZIM’s policies related to abuse, harassment, and disclosure, and of overall organizational and corporate structures and their impact on abuse and harassment-related issues. In sobering recognition of the severity of what has occurred and the importance of policy and cultural reform, we have asked Guidepost to examine any corrections that need to take place.”

“This report was compiled by an independent investigative firm, Miller & Martin PLLC. It contains disturbing content and graphic language and has not been edited by RZIM.”

The full, entire, unedited, unredacted Miller & Martin report may be read and downloaded here: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/rzimmedia.rzim.org/assets/downloads/Report-of-Investigation.pdf

The Miller & Martin Report began with these two paragraphs:

“On September 29, 2020, Christianity Today published an article citing allegations by three anonymous sources that the late Ravi Zacharias sexually harassed them at two spas he co-owned.1 {1 Daniel Silliman, “Ravi Zacharias’s Ministry Investigates Claims of Sexual Misconduct at Spas,” Christianity Today, Sept. 29, 2020, available at https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/september/ravi-zacharias-sexual- harassment-rzim-spa-massage-investiga.html.} Miller & Martin PLLC was hired by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (“RZIM”) to conduct an independent investigation into these allegations. RZIM management agreed that we would report to a committee of the RZIM Board of Directors. Both RZIM management and the Board committee confirmed that the investigation extended to any other allegations of sexual misconduct that might arise from our investigation.

“We confirmed one of the three accounts described in the Christianity Today article and found significant evidence of sexual misconduct involving additional massage therapists. We also reviewed Mr. Zacharias’s electronic devices and found evidence of text- and email-based relationships with women who were not his wife, as well as over 200 “selfie”-style photographs of women.”

Their report, while not exhaustive, was thorough and of sufficiently broad scope that the evidence which they uncovered was unambiguously damning.

The report finished in much the same sad way.

On page 11 of the 12 page report, appears this final paragraph:

“He further claimed, “In my 45 years of marriage to Margie, I have never engaged in any inappropriate behavior of any kind.” Much of the inappropriate massage therapy behavior discussed above occurred prior to the Thompson matter, and Mr. Zacharias’s lengthy text and email communication with the massage therapist from Bangkok whose culinary schooling he arranged for through RZIM and whom he called the “love of his life” occurred in 2014. His claim that he had long made it his practice “not to be alone with a woman other than Margie and our daughters” was similarly false. As reported above, Mr. Zacharias’s inappropriate conduct often occurred when he was alone with massage therapists. Because his need for massage treatments was well known and accepted, he was able to hide his misconduct in plain sight. He further stated that, after reflection, he learned that the “physical safeguards” he had “long practiced to protect my integrity should have extended to include digital communications safeguards.” As the architect of those “physical safeguards,” Mr. Zacharias well knew how to elude them.”

The report concluded that,

“…we are confident that we uncovered sufficient evidence to conclude that Mr. Zacharias engaged in sexual misconduct.”

In response to the report’s findings, RZIM is in the process of fully, completely, and entirely eliminating any vestige or remainder of his memory, his writings, or anything about him. The former publishers of his books have announced that they will no longer be publishing any of his volumes, and have requested that bookstores with copies of his works return them to the publisher for credit.

Ravi Zacharias was a 100% total fraud, hypocrite, liar, serial sexual abuser, international sexual predator, manipulator, thief, charlatan, duplicitous, and all around scumbag. Nothing he said could be believed. He deceived even those closest to him for his entire life, as well as the entirety of the Christian community.

In short,

Ravi Zacharias is the Bernie Madoff of Christendom.

Mr. Baughman wrote that he had no particular angry axe to grind, per se, and rather, wrote that, “I hoped that exposing RZ would raise critical awareness on the part of pew-warmers in churches and universities, at least in my own country.”

When Mr. Baughman investigated Ravi’s claims about himself and academic credentials, he found that, “without exception, every single impressive academic claim he made about himself was either false or grossly exaggerated.” He wrote further that “I was especially troubled that not a single one of the real scholars with whom RZ partnered in evangelism ever bothered publicly to call him on his dishonesty (John Lennox. Paul Copan. Jeremy Begbie, Alister McGrath, Norman Geisler, and many others.)”

In an article in Christianity Today published 22 February 2021, and entitled “Ravi Zacharias Hid Hundreds of Pictures of Women, Abuse During Massages, and a Rape Allegation,” writers Daniel Silliman, and Kate Shellnutt drew an accurate picture of a crumbling ministerial empire built not upon a solid rock, but upon a proverbial house of cards, built upon one series of lies after another, with no oversight, and no “watchdog” to keep him in check. He was literally, a loose cannon, with an utterly fraudulent moral compass who did not deign to destroy anyone who he thought threatened his claims.

Like the death of Adolph Hitler, the world is better off without Ravi Zacharias.

If you, or anyone you may know may have been victimized by Ravi Zacharias, there is a special number and website established for assisting filing your claim against his former ministry.

Click on www.Lighthouse-Services.com/RZIMto file a complaint online.

Call 855-222-0621 for English language calls from the U.S. and Canada.

Call 800-216-1288 for Spanish language calls from U.S. and Canada.

Call 01-800-681-5340 for Spanish language calls from Mexico.

Call 855-725-0002 for French language calls from Canada.

Send an email to reports@lighthouse-services.com and specify RZIM in the subject line.

Fax to 215-689-3885 and specify it is regarding RZIM.

* Complaints can be filed anonymously through any of these options.

3755 Mansell Road
Alpharetta, GA 30022
USA

RZIM@RZIM.org
(770) 449-6766

Links to various stories about his covert abuse and deceptions are below the video.

How Ravi Zacharias Got Away With Sex Abuse for YEARS

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2021/february/ravi-zacharias-rzim-investigation-sexual-abuse-sexting-rape.html

Ravi Zacharias: The Scandal, The Hurt & How To Respond

http://www.christianitydaily.com/articles/11632/20210427/ravi-zacharias-wife-margaret-defends-late-husband-explains-his-innocence-against-accusations.htm

https://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/michael-foust/ravi-zacharias-reveals-he-has-malignant-tumor-we-are-trusting-the-lord.html

https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2020/05/19/ravi-zacharias-dies-more-lies-uncovered/

https://www.realclearreligion.org/2020/12/28/ravi_zachariass_sexual_misconduct_confirmed_654425.html

https://www.realclearreligion.org/2020/10/19/steep_price_of_hypocrisy_in_christian_witness_581080.html

https://apnews.com/article/ravi-zacharias-sexual-misconduct-4b285e38282c4de13d651a1706853668

https://apnews.com/article/sexual-misconduct-layoffs-michael-pence-7e2b5d1e331db29f6d9e81bc6035871a

https://www.charismanews.com/culture/84665-ravi-zacharias-international-ministries-distances-itself-from-founder-announces-future-name-change

https://www.charismanews.com/culture/84697-ravi-zacharias-international-ministry-announces-new-focus-on-evangelism-support-of-abuse-victims

​https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/11/us/ravi-zacharias-sexual-abuse.html

​https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/27/us/ravi-zacharias-dead.html​

 

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