Ravi Zacharias

Investigation Into Ravi Zacharias’ Alleged Misconduct Excludes Sexting Scandal

By Julie Roys

The independent investigation commissioned by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) into allegations of misconduct by its late founder, Ravi Zacharias, does not include the sexting scandal involving Lori Anne Thompson.

That’s according to Lynsey Barron, an attorney with Miller & Martin, the law firm hired by RZIM to conduct the investigation.

I spoke with Barron on a conference call Tuesday, November 24. Also on the call was William Eiselstein, lead counsel with Miller & Martin—and two private investigators, identified by Barron as Jeffrey Muller and Phil Smith.

The call was arranged because Barron said she was interested in information I had concerning Zacharias. (The information concerned an allegation against Zacharias I never reported because no one with first-hand information was willing to speak with me.)

Some have questioned whether Miller & Martin’s investigation is truly independent or controlled by RZIM. As Boz Tchvidjian—founder of Godly Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.)—notes, law firms hired to conduct “independent” investigations have fiduciary responsibility to their clients. As a result, these investigations are often nothing more than internal inquiries designed to preserve the institution.

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I asked Barron at the beginning of our call whether her firm would be publishing the results of its investigation or giving the report to RZIM. Barron replied that the report would go to RZIM, but added that it was her hope that RZIM would publish the unedited report.

Also, before speaking with Barron, I reached out to Lori Anne Thompson, the woman at the center of the sexting scandal with Zacharias. I asked Thompson if anyone from Miller and Martin had contacted her. Thompson said no one had.

I asked Barron why she hadn’t contacted Thompson. Barron replied that RZIM had specified that the scope of her firm’s investigation was limited to allegations that Zacharias had sexually harassed women at day spas Zacharias co-owned.

I contacted RZIM for comment but they did not respond.

However, the information Barron requested of me was not directly related to the spa allegations. So, I asked Barron why her firm was interested in my information and not the information Lori Anne Thompson could provide, but Barron did not answer my question.

I also noted that one of the alleged spa victims claimed that Zacharias had requested explicit photos from her, which was similar to the pattern of behavior Thompson had described.

According to Thompson, Zacharias groomed her by initiating a close, personal relationship in 2015—2016 and then asking for nude photos and engaging in phone sex. Thompson’s narrative has been corroborated by phone records, gift receipts, and emails obtained and published by The Roys Report in September.

I also asked Barron whether the Zacharias family had released Lori Anne Thompson and her lawyers from the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) they signed to settle Ravi Zacharias’ 2017 lawsuit against Thompson. (According to Tchividjian, who represented Thompson in that case, Thompson signed an NDA with Zacharias in 2017 barring Thompson from speaking about what had happened.)

Barron responded that she had not talked to the Zacharias family.

In RZIM’s October statement announcing its investigation, the executive committee of RZIM’s Board stated that it was “shocked and deeply distressed” by “recently reported allegations” concerning Ravi Zacharias. The statement added that the committee had commissioned Miller & Martin “to investigate this matter to the fullest extent possible.”

In a statement published several weeks earlier, RZIM stated that the sexting allegations had been “independently and rigorously investigated in 2018” by the Christian & Missionary Alliance (C&MA)—the denomination that ordained Zacharias. RZIM further asserted, “There is no evidence that (Zacharias) solicited photos of (Thompson).”

However, following my three-part series on the sexting scandal, and reports by Christianity Today and WORLD, the C&MA announced that it has commissioned a new investigation into Zacharias’ alleged misconduct.

Thompson said that no one from the C&MA, or a firm hired by the C&MA, has contacted her since the new investigation was announced.

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25 thoughts on “Investigation Into Ravi Zacharias’ Alleged Misconduct Excludes Sexting Scandal”

  1. “In a statement published several weeks earlier, RZIM stated that the sexting allegations had been “independently and rigorously investigated in 2018” by the Christian & Missionary Alliance (C&MA)…“There is no evidence that (Zacharias) solicited photos of (Thompson).”

    …C&MA announced that it has commissioned a new investigation into Zacharias’ alleged misconduct.

    Thompson said that no one from the C&MA, or a firm hired by the C&MA, has contacted her since the new investigation was announced.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    what a bunch of blundering bumpkins. all of it by design.

    talk about crooked and shady.

    turns out all of these organizations and famous names “glowing with godliness” are crooked and shady underneath the godly veneer.

    they have their price, and it simply costs them too much to do what is ethical, honest and forthright.

    what a joke they are.

    1. “they have their price” It is true but so sad.
      I attended a recent apologetics conference and one of the keynote speakers was from RZIM. I could not listen to him, knowing the ugliness behind the organization. I urge christian folk to donate to organizations that are transparent and lead with integrity. I guess RZIM feels you do not need integrity in order to practice apologetics.
      Consult Ministry Watch and you can find much better apologetics organizations to donate to.

    2. Would the people making the accusations be willing to take a Lie detector test? I know that if I was making accusations like that I would have no problem doing that. It’s completely sad and discouraging to know that whether it’s true or a false accusation it’s extremely terrible that happened.

      1. @Dave – polygraph tests are not 100% effective and from what I understand are not admissible in court. In fact, depending on whom you talk with they range in effectiveness from 65%-87%. Innocent people can fail due to nervousness and guilty people, if they are good, can pass. The Biblical requirement is 2-3 witnesses which I think you will find that number in the accusations made.

  2. This sham investigation “to the fullest extent possible” reeks of more debased damage control by RZIM, with the obvious conflict of interest between who is paying the law firm and its desire to appease its customer, which has not even given up control of how the final report will be published, as required for an independent investigation. Shameful that no one involved in this, or whatever C&MA is doing regarding a new investigation, has contacted the Thompsons, as obviously their case was not “independently and rigorously investigated in 2018,” and their testimony would at least be corroborating evidence regarding Ravi’s lack of character, lies, manipulation, and abuse with that of the those involved in the spa cases, not to mention the essential need to correct the lies and spin that have been perpetuated against the Thompsons by RZIM and C&MA.

  3. RZIM has pulled a brilliant media move. Look how many people are now sitting around waiting for the results of “the investigation.“

    As if all the stuff Julie and the other Christian investigative reporters found doesn’t count until the RZIM lawyers speak.

    1. Yes Steve, very sad. I have not heard a protest from any RZIM Staff ! Aren’t there anyone within who detests a cover up? Maybe they are trained to value pride and not truth !

  4. Can I simply ask: Since Ravi is now with the Lord, and there is no doubt that everything in the Dark is clearly in the Light of Christ’s glory and omniscience, what is it that others are trying to know or to find out? And what will you do once you get your answer?

    1. Christian culture’s values are meaningless. It’s leaders are examples of non-integrity, indecency, dishonesty, and lack of humility.

      Christians give them an easy pass.

      A religion whose hallmark is not goodness but rather hypocrisy dressed in self-righteousness can’t go on like this.

      It is long past time for accountability, so the values of christian culture actually mean something.

      Accountability.

      For God’s sake.

      For the Thompson’s sake and for the sake of the women at the spa, all of whom had their lives destroyed by degrees by Ravi’s selfish duplicity and by the enablement and cover up of his family and others on the RZIM Board.

      For the sake of what is good and right and true.

      Accountability for its own sake.

      Accountability, for the sake of christians who are tired of being embarrassed and ridiculed for the appallingly low moral standards their religion tolerates and doesn’t seem to mind.

      Enough.

    2. @Wayne — once things that have been in the dark are beginning to come to light, the next step is repentance. Have you seen any of that anywhere? Repentance isn’t burying something in an NDA or denying something happened. Repentance is acknowledging the wrong that has been done to individuals involved and seeking forgiveness for the wrong that was done to them. Unfortunately from what I am seeing from RZIM, the only reason that they are pursuing anything is because pressure is continued to be put on them to do the right thing and apparently still a cover up of the sexting scandal. So once the answer is given, then the wrongs need to be made right with the victims. I don’t think that is anywhere close to happening from RZIM. So a long way to go.

    3. Wayne, who says that Ravi is with the Lord instead of in the pit? If you actually read yourself what Jesus says about the religious leaders in His day, this is a very legitimate question. Jesus never states that they would be with Him. Instead He said things like “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” I know of no place where Jesus told the religious leaders that they were going to paradise to be with Him. If Ravi is in a pit right now, then all of this is very relevant so that we do not follow his blindness right into the same pit ourselves.

      1. Jefferson, there’s no doubt whatsoever that Ravi knew and loved Jesus! And that is why Jesus used him around the world to proclaim Him the way he did. With the exception of Billy Graham, no other person did it on the level of Ravi. He was Born again of the Holy Spirit…..even while and if he proved to be imperfect even as you and I are!

    4. Wayne,
      The organization is taking in loads of cash based on their integrity and “search for truth.” RZIM has shown they are willing to use deceit and cover-up to wash the dirt under the carpet. Do you want your dollars going towards a deceitful organization, even though they have popular speakers?

      1. Sad to know that people are still donating in large amounts to RZIM. On #GivingTuesday they raised $510k :( God given money should have better accountability and transparency.

    5. You could ask the same re the Judah story in Genesis 38, Wayne. Yet, there it is for billions to read. Who made that decision if the point you’re trying to make is to have any validity?

  5. This is very common I am now dealing with my pastor making sick and unwanted comments and unwanted touching. I am sick over I cant sleep. I feel that God has left me and that If I say anything he will make it look as if it was me. Who will they believe a single divorced woman or a pastor? I know he has done this before. he is just to good at it.. No accountability. I so depressed.

    1. Sandra I am so sorry to hear about your troubles. Dee at Wartburg Watch is an excellent resource. She has helped many women in situations such as you describe. Do not do this alone.

      Woe to the man of gawd that gets fixed in her crosshairs.

    2. Sandra, I hope you are able to extricate yourself from this person and make sure you always have someone with you if whenever you find yourself in close proximity. Document it all – but get away as soon as possible and find a good female friend to walk with you through this. I am truly sorry to hear about this .

  6. Sandra, I am so sorry. What you describe is wicked. If he assaulted you, that’s a matter for police, and police are generally a bit smarter about predators than the average congregant. At least, I would hope so. Also, sometimes when one brave soul steps forward, others follow. Prayed for you this morning.

  7. Julie, thank you so much for keeping up with this investigation. I was involved with RZIM in a volunteer capacity prior to the allegations of misconduct at the spa that he owned, and I have been beyond mortified by how RZIM has responded. Keeping Mrs. Thompson under an NDA and acting as if preying on vulnerable people is just a symptom of ‘falling short’ of perfection – absolutely mortified. It is even more sad that the C&MA, an organization I grew up knowing, is also currently failing to conduct a thorough investigation. I am no longer involved with this organization and I pray that the women who have been hurt would find healing. There are no words – only tears. Keep doing what you are doing.

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