Ravi Zacharias Hid Hundreds of Pictures of Women, Abuse During Massages, and a Rape Allegation
I first blogged about the perverted shenanigans of his months ago.
This goes to show (yet again!) that being married and part of a “nuclear family” does not make a person more godly, ethical, mature, or responsible, as so many marriage-promoting Christians like to argue.
The “nuclear family” also doesn’t improve society as so many Christians argue – note I am not opposed to the nuclear family, only I don’t hype it to a degree that is unwarranted as do so many other conservatives.
NEW YORK (AP) — Ravi Zacharias, who died in May after a high-profile career leading a global Christian ministry, engaged in sexual misconduct with massage therapists and carried on many amorous extramarital relationships via text message and email, according to a scathing, in-depth report from a law firm hired by the ministry.
Five of the therapists said Zacharias touched them inappropriately, and one said she was raped, according to the report. It said investigators searching Zacharias’ mobile devices found more than 200 photographs of younger women, including nude images of a salon employee in Malaysia.
His ministry, preparing to downsize in the wake of a new investigation, expresses regret for “misplaced trust” in a leader who used his esteem to conceal his sexual misconduct.
by DANIEL SILLIMAN AND KATE SHELLNUTT|FEBRUARY 11, 2021
A four-month investigation found the late Ravi Zacharias leveraged his reputation as a world-famous Christian apologist to abuse massage therapists in the United States and abroad over more than a decade while the ministry led by his family members and loyal allies failed to hold him accountable.
He used his need for massage and frequent overseas travel to hide his abusive behavior, luring victims by building trust through spiritual conversations and offering funds straight from his ministry.
A (Link): 12-page report released Thursday by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) confirms abuse by Zacharias at day spas he owned in Atlanta and uncovers five additional victims in the US, as well as evidence of sexual abuse in Thailand, India, and Malaysia.
Even a limited review of Zacharias’s old devices revealed contacts for more than 200 massage therapists in the US and Asia and hundreds of images of young women, including some that showed the women naked. Zacharias solicited and received photos until a few months before his death in May 2020 at age 74.
Zacharias used tens of thousands of dollars of ministry funds dedicated to a “humanitarian effort” to pay four massage therapists, providing them housing, schooling, and monthly support for extended periods of time, according to investigators.
One woman told the investigators that “after he arranged for the ministry to provide her with financial support, he required sex from her.” She called it rape.
She said Zacharias “made her pray with him to thank God for the ‘opportunity’ they both received” and, as with other victims, “called her his ‘reward’ for living a life of service to God,” the report says. Zacharias warned the woman—a fellow believer—if she ever spoke out against him, she would be responsible for millions of souls lost when his reputation was damaged.
…Now it is clear that, offstage, the man so long admired by Christians around the world abused numerous women and manipulated those around him to turn a blind eye.
…The RZIM board released a statement alongside the investigation expressing regret and taking some responsibility:
“Ravi engaged in a series of extensive measures to conceal his behavior from his family, colleagues, and friends. However, we also recognize that in situations of prolonged abuse, there often exist significant structural, policy, and cultural problems. … 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.”
…Multiple speakers and RZIM staff members left the ministry during the course of the investigation, concerned about top officials’ initial response to the allegations.
….Even before the report’s release on Thursday evening, RZIM leadership had shifted to reduce the involvement of the Zacharias family. Margie Zacharias, Ravi’s widow, resigned from the board and the ministry in January, while her daughter Sarah Davis stepped down as board chair but remains CEO.
…‘He was able to hide his misconduct in plain sight’
Much of the abuse uncovered by investigators took place around massage, which Zacharias relied on to treat a chronic back injury. He regularly traveled with a personal masseuse and criticized a fellow RZIM staff member who questioned the “appearance of impropriety” for doing so.
….In Bangkok, he owned two apartments in the early 2010s, sharing a building with one of his massage therapists, the investigators found. The notes app on his phone included Thai and Mandarin translations of phrases like “I’d like to have a beautiful memory with you,” “little bit further,” and “your lips are especially beautiful.”
The massage therapists and the women pictured in Zacharias’s phone albums were decades younger than him, many in their 20s.
….Zacharias spoke about the importance of “physical safeguards” to “protect my integrity,” but the Miller & Martin report notes that “As the architect of those ‘physical safeguards,’ Mr. Zacharias well knew how to elude them.”
The secret of Zacharias’s abuse started to unravel the day of his funeral in May 2020. One of the massage therapists he groped, masturbated in front of, and asked for sexually explicit images watched in shock as the apologist was honored and celebrated on a livestream. Famous people, including Vice President Mike Pence and Christian football star Tim Tebow, spoke of Zacharias in glowing terms.
Has no one come forward? she thought. No one?
She worried about other women who might be out there, hurting. She prayed that something would happen.
The woman googled “Ravi Zacharias sex scandal” and found the blog (Link): RaviWatch, run by Steve Baughman, an atheist who had been tracking and reporting on Zacharias’s “fishy claims” since 2015.
….As far as she could tell, this atheist blogger was the only one who cared that Zacharias had sexually abused people and gotten away with it.
From Dec 2020
(a lot of hard truths in here – video below – that practicing Christians need to hear – also Democrats – there are sexual abusers among prominent Democrats and the “anti Trump” Lincoln Project, but most Democrats don’t want to call it out and prefer to point to the sins of Republicans only):
From Feb 2021:
From August 2021: