Alleged Victim of Bill Hybels Tells Story of How Church Tried to Silence Her

By Julie Roys
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A former senior leader at Willow Creek Community Church, and professed victim of Bill Hybels, yesterday shared on Facebook that an elder and attorney from her “former church” accused her of “lying or mis-remembering” when she reported the abuse to them. She said the two also said that “if they wanted to, they could make it look like I was pursuing him.”

Keri Ladouceur

The senior leader is Keri Ladouceur, former leadership pipeline director at Willow Creek—and one of more than a dozen women who alleged abuse by former Willow Creek Senior Pastor Bill Hybels.

Ladouceur, who’s now a pastor at Vineyard Church in Florence, KY, blogged somewhat cryptically in August 2018 about the abuse she says she received by Hybels. Yesterday, she shared more details of her story and told about how senior leaders at Willow Creek tried to silence her. She writes:

Two years ago this week, I had a meeting in the board room of the private jet center at the airport. I sat with an elder from my former church and an attorney the church had hired to investigate behavior I reported about a prominent pastor. I was told they were conducting an investigation on his behavior, and an organization wide investigation on how my reporting was handled by senior leaders who repeatedly directed me to meet with this pastor alone.

In this meeting I was told I was lying or mis-remembering every bit of what I reported. I was told the comments about my body and my clothes weren’t inappropriate since I had already shared in my testimony that I wasn’t wearing anything provocative. I was told the grooming patterns, boundary testing and secrecy building of ‘delete’ email conversations and him frequently affirming the most broken parts of my story growing up were me “being dramatic”. I was told the numerous inappropriate invitations I had declined, to be alone with him (in inappropriate settings) were his attempt to be available to pastor and mentor me. I was told that him meeting me outside on the very day I went to the church to document my grievances with HR, after being asked by his colleagues for real time updates about my arrival time, was “a coincidence”. I was told if they wanted to, they could make it look like I was pursuing him. Although not one person who could confirm any of my accounts was ever contacted, I was told that none of them were true. I was told I needed to know I was the only woman in 42 years to ever say he was inappropriate with me.

I was then asked for confidentiality about my experiences, which I refused. The word devastated doesn’t begin to describe how I left that meeting. I resigned from my position and spent weeks just trying to make it through the day. The most painful part wasn’t even his behavior- rather that the church leaders whom I loved and respected and served with, didn’t believe me and failed to protect me. I have wrestled with God about my calling to serve the church almost every day since.

Vonda Dyer, one of the first women to come forward and tell her story of abuse by Hybels, said hearing Ladouceur’s story was a main reason she decided to speak out in 2018.

Dyer said her abuse took place in the mid-1990s, and for many years, she believed it was an isolated incident. Dyer said in 2017 she heard of other women Hybels had abused, but Ladoucer’s abuse impacted her most because it was recent and showed the abuse was ongoing.

“Keri was one of the main reasons I could not live with myself if I didn’t speak up,” Dyer said. “I came forward for the sake of the church and the transforming power of Christ in us. . . . I came forward for my own daughters whom I’d fiercely protect in the face of any abuse, and most urgently, I came forward for Keri, who was the most current victim being perpetrated by Bill Hybels in real time.”

Dyer said, “I would do it all again, if only to help one life, Keri, who at the time faced the deceit and obfuscation that I later came to discover from Willow Creek and their consistent narrative of perception management and cover-up in the years to come. . . . I pray every day for a reckoning, a deep repentance from Bill Hybels, and past and current leaders of Willow Creek.”

Similarly, Ladouceur wrote:

I’m mourning that these diminishing and damaging events ever occurred. . . . I find myself grieving all that has taken place all over again. Praying for those who were hurt in the wake of the fallout. Grieved at the damage to the witness of the church by those who held positions charged with stewarding it. Praying for those who were harmed that we have yet to hear from. Praying for those who have inflicted untold harm, maliciously or unwittingly. . . .

As I pray for the opportunity to someday mend the relationships that have been broken- today I’m asking God to mend what’s broken inside of me.

 Keri Ladouceur’s Facebook Post:

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21 thoughts on “Alleged Victim of Bill Hybels Tells Story of How Church Tried to Silence Her”

  1. Julie – I believe you are being careless to post this story without checking the facts. I have been very supportive of the other women who have come forward. However, I believe that Keri has fabricated much of her story, if not all of it. Several witnesses who were on Keri’s list spoke to the investigators. They were present during some of the events that she says happened. I talked to several of them. I honestly tried to find evidence to support Keri’s account and could find none. Every person present said, “it didn’t happen the way she said it happened.” There is a mountain of evidence that refutes her story. Every witness I talked to is a friend of Keri’s and cannot figure out why she would make up this story. I am really upset with her – her lies have hurt a lot of people, and it was one of the things that caused many of us to question the validity of the entire incident. I believe she is hurting the #metoo movement. I really hope she comes clean with the true facts. I’m guessing the witnesses will not come forward with their accounts as it seems that anyone who comes forward to tell the other side of the story in this situation is attacked.

    1. Chris, If you’re going to call someone a liar publicly, you should at least have the courage to give your full name.

      I have very good reason to believe Keri is telling the truth and am hoping to get permission to publish more.

    2. Hello, Chris. Isn’t it interesting that Vonda Dyer believes Keri? So much so that Keri’s account was the tipping point for Ms. Dyer? You say, “I really hope she {Keri} comes clean with the true facts.” When, pray tell, is Bill Hybels going to “come clean with the true facts”? For that matter, when is Bill Hybels going to come out at all? In my judgment, Vonda Dyer is very credible. So is the post by Keri Ladouceur. It rings true, as they say. Quite a contrast to the deceit, obfuscation, and “consistent narrative of perception management and cover-up” practiced by the leadership at Willow Creek. How loathsome! Now I’m gonna go listen to some Doo Wop and clear my head. Psalm 37.

    3. Chris, I dont know who you refer to as “friends” of Keri. I am a friend and former co-worker of Keri, and I can confirm her story is true. Brother, you are the one who should tread lightly here.

    4. Chris,
      Before you attack Julie’s posting and Keri’s account; please provide ONE name who will support your claims and refute Keri’s story. Dealing with your generalities means nothing. Who are these witnesses who spoke to the investigators, were present at some of these events and as you stated that “EVERY person present said ” it didn’t happen the way she said it happened.” “EVERY witness I talked to is a friend of Keri’s and cannot figure out why she would make up a story.” Can you convince one brave and courageous person to come forth and refute her statement? Where Is the MOUNTAIN of evidence that refutes her story? Do your due diligence, check your facts with actual people that will stand by these statements. There is no fear to hide when one tells the truth. Also Bill Hybel needs to (1.) respond to each accusation that have been made against him, apologize and ask for forgiveness and (2.) publicly apologize for his sinful behavior as Pastor and ask for forgiveness.

    5. Hi Chris, respectfully, I’m not sure who you’ve spoken to or their perspective on the situation. The facts and experiences I reported have remained the same from the beginning. I shared with leadership because I wanted to ensure other women wouldn’t have to navigate the same experiences.

      I’ve heard from countless staff at willow whom I served with who said they wish they would’ve spoken up about things they saw and heard. I’m not sure the credibility of my experiences is up for debate after the IAG report. Each of them could have been verified.

      I’m choosing to believe the actions of those involved in my process weren’t malicious. I believe when we know better we do better and we have a lot to learn. Either way, I’m eager to heal and see healing in the church. I am willing to grab coffee next time I’m in Chicago if you ever want to connect.

      1. Keri

        I’m very sorry for what you have had to endure…
        I understand… Maybe a little…

        You write…
        “The most painful part wasn’t even his behavior-
        rather that the church leaders whom I loved and respected
        and served with, didn’t believe me and failed to protect me.”

        When the “church leaders whom I loved and respected”
        Turned on me, it was devastating.
        I cried for days, in shock.
        And unbelief.

        Jesus???
        Where are you???
        How do I understand this mess???

        Darkness and Pain…
        NO longer able to Trust…
        Many years and many tears…
        ——-

        Until I had NO place to GO…
        But to GO to…

        The “ONE” Leader
        The “ONE” Teacher
        The “ONE” Shepherd

        {{{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}}

        And Jesus is the best… Yes?

  2. Please stop protecting Willow Creek and the people Keri is referencing in her story. Many of these people continue to be on staff and have never apologized for the public lies they supported from the stage. All the previous elders continue to hide.
    This defines “cover-up”!
    Keri is a godly woman and I believe in her completely!

  3. Wow! Just when one thinks it can’t get any worse, it does. Charges and counter-charges are so distressing. How can WC heal from these ongoing disputes?

    1. “How can WC heal from these ongoing disputes?” Great question, David Jankowski. I would say Christlikeness. Honesty. Humility. Basic things any leader in Christ’s church should have and exhibit, and the failure at which should bring repentance, not political spinning. It shouldn’t be that hard for those who care about Jesus’ authority and glory. I say that as someone who knows his own utter dependence upon God’s grace and mercy. Between James MacDonald’s unrepentant defensiveness and the attempts of those who seem to be trying to navigate through Bill Hybels’ mess with minimal losses, where is Christ in any of that. I suspect He is watching and not recognizing it as His Church.

      1. MARK DRINNENBERG

        Much agreement when you write…
        “I suspect He is watching and not recognizing it as His Church.”

        Seems almost nothing of what goes on today in the church of man…
        The 501 c 3, Non-Profit, Tax Deductible, Religious Corporation…
        That the IRS calls church…
        Is in the Bible…

        In the Bible
        NOT one of **His Disciples** called themself pastor.
        Or shepherd. Or leader. Or reverend.

        In the Bible
        NOT one of **His Disciples** took the “Title” pastor.
        Or shepherd. Or leader. Or reverend.
        ——-

        Jer 50:6
        “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
        **THEIR shepherds**
        have caused them to *go astray,*

        1 Pet 2:25
        For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
        BUT are now returned to
        the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

        {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

      2. Mark – “…not recognizing it as His Church.”

        I’m-a-thinkn…
        What these pastors, church leaders, say about “church.”
        And what the Bible says about **Church**
        Just ain’t da sam ting…
        ——-

        Makes an interesting study. An interesting challenge.
        Printout every verse with the word “church” in it…
        Read them, over and over, again and again…
        And ask yourself… Ask Jesus…

        In the Bible?
        Did any of **”His Disciples?”**
        Ever?

        1 – *Go to* Church?
        2 – *Join* a Church?
        3 – *Lead* a Church?
        4 – *Plant* a Church?
        5 – *Pastor* a Church?
        6 – *Attend* a Church?
        7 – *Tithe* to a Church?
        8 – *Look for* a Church?
        9 – *Teach* Go to Church?
        10 – *Bring their friends* to Church?
        11 – *Become Members* of a Church?
        12 – *Apply for Membership* in a Church?
        13 – *Call themselves, Pastor,* in a Church?
        14 – *Call themselves, Leader,* in a Church?
        15 – *Call themselves, Reverend,* in a Church?
        16 – *Give Silver, or Gold, or Money* to a Church?
        17 – *Build a building with a Cross* and call it Church?

        18 – *Were any of **His Disciples,** ever Hired?
        As a Paid, Professional, Pastor, in a Pulpit?
        Preaching, to People in Pews?
        Weak after Weak?
        In a church?
        ——-

        NOPE…
        NONE of these 18 things exist in the Bible…
        For one of **His Disciples.**

        If being one of **His Disciples** is important? To you?
        Wouldn’t what Jesus taught **His Disciples** be important?
        Wouldn’t what **His Disciples** actually DID, be important?
        And be a good example? To follow?

        If, In the Bible…
        Jesus did NOT teach **His Disciples** to do these 18 things?
        And, **His Disciples** did NOT “do or teach” these 18 things?

        Why do WE? His Disciples? His Ambassadors?
        His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Body?
        Teach, and do, these things?
        NOT in the Bible?

  4. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. The activities of these pastors and the people (looks like mostly if not all are men) are criminal activities and the women who have been terrorized and brutalized by these evil men, in my opinion, should forget about the church doing anything and simply go to the police. It is abundantly clear that the church WILL NOT do anything for these victims and even if they did, sexual abuse is still a crime and should be handled by the professionals, i.e. the police, the civil authorities. I pray the the deep wounds inflicted on these victims will somehow, someway be healed by our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

    1. Please stop victim blaming

      To Chris, Welcome back Sherri! Your comments are the same in every blog that has put Willow Creek in a bad light. Get your facts straight before you open your mouth and stop acting like you really know what is happening and has happened at Willow. You haven’t a single clue! Many of these facts have been verified in a court of law, so your uninformed commentary is moot. One day you may become very embarrassed when you have to eat your words publicly and once you are finally called out for victim blaming.

      1. “Please stop Victim Blaming” – This is Sherri. Someone told me that my name was mentioned in these comments, so I thought I’d respond directly. When I post, I post under my own name – always. Other than the comment that I am now writing, I have only commented on 1 blog post over the past 2 years and that was 3 weeks ago on Julie’s site. I am guessing this is the same man who was attacking me on Facebook a year and a half ago and then as Debbb 3 weeks ago. I will say to you now what I said to you on Facebook – You don’t know me. You don’t know what I know. You don’t know what I believe about this situation. Please leave me alone.

  5. Chris, there is a term for the nature of your comment: gaslighting. You are maliciously trying to sow unfounded seeds of doubt about someone’s personal experience of trauma. If you had access to “witnesses that were on Keri’s list” then something is awry. That was a private investigation that even SHE did not get a copy of!!! It was used to spin and manipulate and gaslight her, nothing more than a sham and cover-up! The “witnesses” that you claim to have spoken to must not be friends of Keri’s or they would know her integrity and BELIEVE HER! The corruption she had to wade through just to have her voice heard was a MAFIA posing as church leadership. You and all of your minions should be ashamed of yourselves!

  6. MARK DRINNENBERG

    Much agreement when you write…
    “I suspect He is watching and not recognizing it as His Church.”

    There is a lot of ugly stuff going on

    Seems almost nothing of what goes on today in the church of man…
    The 501 c 3, Non-Profit, Tax Deductible, Religious Corporation…
    That the IRS calls church…
    Is in the Bible…

    In the Bible
    NOT one of **His Disciples** called themself pastor.
    Or shepherd. Or leader. Or reverend.

    In the Bible
    NOT one of **His Disciples** took the “Title” pastor.
    Or shepherd. Or leader. Or reverend.

    Houston, WE, have a problem…
    Titles, Titles, everywhere…
    Except in the Bible…
    ——-

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **THEIR shepherds**
    have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to
    the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  7. I think one big problem in issues of clergy sexual abuse is that most church members are naive about the nature of people who behave like Hybels and Dr. B. The consistent sexual predatory behavior of men like these place them outside the category of “Christian struggling with sin” and into the category of “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. The behavior of these men display serious pathological issues in which the best course for the church that finds out about them is to place them outside fellowship, not try to help them within fellowship. I think that when Jesus and Paul talk about people like this in the church they are communicating wisdom many Christians find difficult to hear, especially in an era of what Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace”. It has been difficult for me to come to grips with the insidiously evil nature of sexual predators, but the course of action prescribed by the Bible in places like Matt. 18 is remarkably insightful. Unfortunately, passages like that have been used to further abuse people, but it’s correct usage would ensure evil people are removed from influencing the vulnerable. If you’re reading this and being influenced by a predator in the church, just know it’s okay to go to other people immediately. Any hint of resistance or confusion, any hint of a “no” directed to the manipulator already fulfills the first part of Matt.18. Also, don’t worry too much about making sure you get Matt. 18 “perfect”; any reasonably healthy person will not care too much if you go to step 2, bypassing step 1. In the case of a predator, he’ll make a big deal about getting Matt. 18 perfect instead of simply repenting.

  8. There are more and more testimonies against Hybles and his enablers from Warped Creep Crunch yet Hybles a hypocrite poser that he was and is fittingly offered no confession, no apology, no repentance and no change. More importantly for some strange reason this criminal creep and his WCC minions are not even sued in criminal nor civil case as they should be. What a disgrace! Will this sexual offender and demonic creep Hybles get away with his offenses and hurt caused over decades of his cassanova conquest under suck pretense of being a “pastor”? If so what a shame!

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