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Reporting the Truth.
Restoring the Church.

International House of Prayer Hires New, Unnamed Law Firm to Investigate Alleged Abuse

By Julie Roys
IHOPKC bickle report
Mike Bickle, founder of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photos: IHOPKC / Courtesy image)

The International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mo. (IHOPKC) has decided not to proceed with the national law firm it hired to investigate sex abuse allegations against its founder, Mike Bickle, according to a statement released Friday. Instead, IHOPKC has hired a local lawyer, which it will not name, to interview alleged victims.

About a week ago, IHOPKC announced it had hired Stinson LLP, a law firm with locations in 13 U.S. cities, to conduct an “impartial examination” into the allegations against Bickle. Bickle, who founded the charismatic, prayer ministry with about 2,500 staff, students, and interns, faces allegations he sexually abused multiple women over several decades.

IHOPKC said on Friday that third parties claiming to represent alleged victims “communicated a lack of trust” in Stinson. So, IHOPKC said it dropped Stinson and “retained a local KC (Kansas City) law firm to conduct interviews with alleged victims.”

The Roys Report (TRR) reached out to IHOPKC, inquiring about the identity of the new lawyer and law firm.

Lenny La Guardia, a member of IHOPKC’s executive leadership team, replied, “The attorney who is attempting to hear from alleged victims is highly qualified. We will not be publishing her name out of respect for her privacy.”

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IHOPKC law firm laguardia
On October 29, 2023, leaders of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mo. — left to right, Lenny La Guardia, David Sliker, Stuart Greaves, and Isaac Bennett — address recent allegations against IHOP-KC founder Mike Bickle. (Video screengrab)

Prior to Friday’s announcement, IHOPKC was facing sharp criticism online for hiring Stinson. Some argued that law firms have fiduciary responsibility to their clients, so they can’t be trusted to conduct independent investigations. Others objected specifically to Stinson.

Jesi Stanley, an attorney and former member of IHOPKC, wrote that Stinson is not a “neutral 3rd party.”

“(IHOPKC) literally retained one of the most prestigious, aggressive, and expensive defense law firms in Kansas City, and nationwide,” she said. “. . . These victims are going to be completely railroaded.”

Similarly, former IHOPKC staffer, Ben Anderson, wrote in a Facebook post that Stinson was a “HIGH POWER WHITE COLLAR CLEAN UP CREW” law firm (emphasis in original post).

Additionally, a group called “IHOPKC Survivors” launched a petition online last Wednesday, urging IHOPKC and its leadership to hire Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) “to conduct a true third-party investigation.”

GRACE is a nonprofit organization, founded by attorney and grandson of Billy Graham, Boz Tchividjian, to help Christian groups confront abuse. In addition to offering abuse prevention programs and organizational assessments, GRACE also conducts independent investigations of alleged abuse.

The petition by IHOPKC survivors currently has more than 2,700 signatures.

“This is the way forward,” commented longtime IHOPKC worship leader Ryan Kondo on the petition website. “For the sake of truth, mercy & justice for every person involved.”

Similarly, Seth Parks, a former worship leader who left the ministry in 2012, wrote, “Not one of us – whose faces are marred by dust and sweat and blood – who labored to build the house of prayer, deserve to wait for months in the dark in the silence while the courts decide. We deserve to be heard. A neutral 3rd party will give us that.”

IHOPKC’s latest decision to retain an unnamed, local lawyer is also being criticized online.

lenny laguardia
Lenny La Guardia (Photo: Facebook)

On Saturday, Anderson posted on social media that he knows the identity of the lawyer IHOPKC had hired. The lawyer Anderson named is a member of the IHOPKC community, which Anderson claimed was a “massive conflict of interest that only compounds our rising suspicion about the motives of IHOPKC leadership.”

TRR reached out to IHOPKC, asking if it would confirm the information Anderson posted about the lawyer’s identity and connection to IHOPKC.

La Guardia replied, “IHOPKC will not be providing any personal information about its attorneys – they are not the story and you should know better.”

TRR also reached out to the lawyer named by Anderson via email two days ago, but she has not responded.

*This article has been modified to omit mention of a law firm hoping to represent victims. Though the original article included information that the firm had not been retained by any victims, it seems putting it in the article caused confusion. It was also corrected to accurately state Parks’ past affiliation with IHOPKC.

Julie Roys is a veteran investigative reporter and founder of The Roys Report. She also previously hosted a national talk show on the Moody Radio Network, called Up for Debate, and has worked as a TV reporter for a CBS affiliate. Her articles have appeared in numerous periodicals. 

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10 Responses

  1. …”Lenny La Guardia, a member of IHOPKC’s executive leadership team, replied, “The attorney who is attempting to hear from alleged victims is highly qualified. We will not be publishing her name out of respect for her privacy.””

    She’s so qualified they won’t release her name or qualifications??!?

    What a sham! Where is the transparency?

    Personally, I would not speak to her.

    1. LaGuardia’s placement of “alleged victims” cast doubt on the victims. If they say dumb stuff like that, simply ellipsis it out: “to hear from … victims.” Don’t let the defense cast aspersions and doubt on the victims.

    2. Simply ask IHOPKC, Is David Sliker’s daughter, the impartial attorney they have hired? David Sliker is on the international house of prayers executive leadership team.

  2. “…they are not the story and you should know better.”

    Julie, how is it possible to not fly off the handle when a male non-journalist scolds you like you are a naughty child? God bless you and God bless the others on your staff.

    1. “…they are not the story and you should know better.”

      Two classic defensive moves; deflection and distraction.

  3. So an unnamed law firm….right. If they truly cared about transparency they would reveal who it is.

    Reminds me of the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark. “Top men are working on it. Top men.”

  4. Back when I was a ministerial student in Bible college, a wise old minister said in reference to 1 Peter 3, the church is like the Ark. If not for the Flood on the outside, the stink on the inside would be too much to bear.

  5. It seems that the only way the cabal will be happy is if GRACE does the investigation. Too many ex leaders involved . Seems to be a agenda.

  6. International House of Prayer Hires New, Unnamed Law Firm to Investigate Alleged Abuse

    A “New, Unnamed Law Firm” that remembers just WHO signs their paychecks and Investigates accordingly?

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