Sex Abuse Victim of Willow Creek Co-Founder Speaks

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Ann Lindberg went public with her story of abuse by Willow Creek Community Church co-founder, Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian, less than a week ago. And since then, there’s been a firestorm of controversy surrounding her allegations and how the church handled them. This week on the The Roys Report, Ann shares vulnerably with Julie Roys about her harrowing story, which began 35 years ago.

She talks about how Willow Creek’s failure to protect her and to restrict Bilezikian after she reported the abuse severely damaged both her emotional and physical health. And she responds to questions about how she could have stayed in a relationship for years with an abuser, sharing openly about the deficits from her childhood that made her vulnerable to abuse. 

Note from Julie: In the podcast, I refer at one point to Bilezikian’s relationship with Ann Lindberg as an “emotional affair.” I realize now that was a bad choice of words because “affair” suggests a relationship between two consenting adults and misses the power differential present between a pastor and a parishioner. I’m really sorry about that and hope it doesn’t add to the shame any victim who hears this podcast feels. As Ann expressed, I also pray that this interview brings healing and understanding to other victims.

Show Transcript

Note: This transcript has been edited slightly for continuity.

JULIE ROYS:  Why would someone sexually abused by a spiritual authority stay quiet and why would a person ever stay in a relationship with someone who’s abusing her? Welcome to The Roys Report, a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys. And today’s podcast is brought to you in part by Judson University, a university shaping lives that shape the world. Well, today I’m going to be discussing a very sensitive subject. Yet sadly, a subject that recently has grabbed headlines and that is sexual abuse in the church. But more specifically, we’re going to be discussing the abuse that my guest today says she endured by Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian, a co-founder of Willow Creek Community Church. He’s also a professor of New Testament emeritus at Wheaton College, where he taught for 20 years. In fact, when I was a student at Wheaton College, I actually had Dr. Bilezikian he can for a class he was also known as Dr. B. That was back in the mid 80s, also when my guest today got to know Dr. B. And I remember back then he had a reputation for being a flirt. Everyone knew it. In fact, I reached out to my sister who also was a student. And she texts me back and she said she remembers Dr. B. She remembers the saying that if you wanted in a you sit in the front row, and you wear a short skirt. Friends, this was at Wheaton College. This was at the evangelical flagship school as a lot of people call it. But what everyone said was, “Oh, he’s French.” And somehow that excused his behavior. And I’ll be honest, I was super naive back then. I never would have thought that a spiritual authority a professor, a leader in the church could ever prey on unsuspecting students or members of a congregation. That thought just would not have entered my mind. If that’s what my guest today says Dr. B did to her. Her name is Anne Lindberg. And just a few days ago, Ann posted her story of abuse on Facebook, which started 35 years ago and she reported to the church 10 years ago. Up until this week, there’s been no public admission of any wrongdoing. Dr. B has continued to mentor and teach at Willow Creek. He was honored at the church’s 40th anniversary celebration in 2015 as the Living Legend of Willow Creek. Until 2008 teen the cafe at Willow Creek was actually named Dr. B’s but wow have things changed in a very short period of time. Just two days after Ann posted her account on Facebook. And then I and another blogger, Julie Ann, we re-posted to our blogs. Acting senior pastor Steve Gillen sent an email to staff at Willow Creek. In it he said that the church believes Dr. be engaged in, “inappropriate behavior.” And the harm that he has caused, “was inexcusable.” The next day Willow Creek elders published a statement which, was sent to congregants. It stated that the church is heartbroken over the abuse of a congregant by a church co founder Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian. The elders said that the victim came to them told them about it 10 years ago, and they believed her. The abuse included but was not limited to, “hugs kissing, inappropriate touching and sending overly personal communication.” At that time, the church said it restricted busy came from serving but “the restriction was not adequately communicated, resulting in Dr. Bilezikian serving and teaching in various capacities over the years.” Wow. So and welcome and thank you so much for coming in. You must be exhausted after this week.

ANN LINDBERG: Thank you, Julie. This isn’t a position I ever thought that I would find myself in. And I had to think about it a long time and I didn’t realize how much the secrets weighed on my conscience and on my health. And the only reason I decided to come forward was for the sake of other people, because I was fairly sure that I wasn’t alone. And in that fact, I wish I’d spoken earlier. But I’m here for the people who haven’t had therapy since 1987. And I’m here for those who are still hurting, and still broken and still afraid and afraid to tell anyone. And so I want there to be something out of what I’ve gone through and just stand in front for those people.

JULIE ROYS:  We started talking and corresponding months ago.

ANN LINDBERG: Yes.

JULIE ROYS:  And I know your story again, goes back years but could you have even imagined I mean, when you posted on Facebook and I didn’t even know you were going to do it, I saw it go up and then you sent me a private message and alerted me. But I didn’t know you’re going to do it. You You did that. mean one that took some guts. What made you do it now to go public? And what did you think was going to happen?

ANN LINDBERG: Well, I really thought about it back in 2018 when I met with Manya Brachear of the Tribune, but I just wasn’t ready then. I hadn’t gone through all of my journals.

JULIE ROYS:  And Manya, by the way, was the reporter who first broke the stories of the women who said they had been abused by Bill Hybels.

ANN LINDBERG: Correct.

JULIE ROYS:  Former senior pastor at Willow Creek.

ANN LINDBERG: Correct. Yes. And she left the Tribune before I was able to get all my information together. So I sat with that for a while. And it took me a year of going through 35 years of journals and emails and finding postcards and things like that, to write it. And it was a brutal year writing it. But my health is so much better than it’s been in years. So what finally made me I had been waiting for a go from God. And I didn’t know what it would look like or sound like. But I was listening to a sermon, and the person was talking about when it’s time to express your anger and not. And there was a line in there. And he said, “Sometimes it’s time for the whip.” And he talked about Jesus clearing out the money changers. And . . . I don’t hear God’s voice. But I heard “Go.” And so I thought, “Now? Now it’s time to go?” And so that was about two or three weeks ago. And so that’s when I started trying to reduce 57 pages to an article that people would actually read.

JULIE ROYS:  You said 57 pages that ended up being 3000 words. Which again, I posted to my blog, Julie Anne with The Spiritual Sounding Board, she posted to her blog. The word of it spread so fast. And and then Willow Creek responded. But for all these years, my goodness, no one was responding.

ANN LINDBERG: No.

JULIE ROYS:  And I know for you that took a toll on your health, right?

ANN LINDBERG: Oh, it was horrible. Everything from breast cancer to a stroke to a nodule in my lung to vocal cords disorder, damaged nerve endings. And my doctors told me it’s all from the stress. And in fact, one of my doctors said that every time I go to Willow, it’s like, ingesting poison and being re-traumatized. And I know that every week I shake every week that I go. But I’ve gone because I loved Willow, and I didn’t want to give up on the people of Willow.

JULIE ROYS:  Hmm. So you’re still going to Willow Creek?

ANN LINDBERG: Yes. I don’t know, though that they’ll let me in.

JULIE ROYS:  Well, you have heard some communication, Jeff Mason an elder, did reach out to you.

ANN LINDBERG: Well, yes. But . . .

JULIE ROYS:  And this was, which night was this? This was Tuesday night, he reached out, right?

ANN LINDBERG: Tuesday night, yes.

JULIE ROYS:  Where they published their statement.

ANN LINDBERG: And it was, he asked me a couple quick questions. I refused to do it except on a recorded phone call. So I called him back. But then he was ready to get off the phone. And I said, I have a couple questions for you. And so I wanted to know if it was finally, if Steve’s response meant and his calling me meant that the victims who have already come forward about Bill Hybels would finally have their chance to speak at Willow.

JULIE ROYS:  You meant Jeff, not Steve.

ANN LINDBERG: I’m sorry, Jeff. Yes, Jeff. And if Steve would finally have his day in and just speak.

JULIE ROYS:  And when you say, Steve, you mean . . .

ANN LINDBERG: Steve Carter.

JULIE ROYS:  Steve Carter. Yes, former pastor who resigned in 2018 over the way that Willow Creek handled the women the victims of Bill Hybels.

ANN LINDBERG: Correct.

JULIE ROYS:  Yeah. So you confronted him for that.

ANN LINDBERG: Yes. And the elder told me that they were thinking about that and considering that and can I say what happened after that?

JULIE ROYS:  Sure,

ANN LINDBERG: Okay. Well, I texted Steve Carter to say, “Guess what? They said they’re considering letting you speak.” And he responded back saying that actually he had talked with the gentleman that morning and they had told him, “Absolutely not.” So I just felt disheartened to get in another phone call with being told something that apparently wasn’t true again.

JULIE ROYS:  Hmm. And Steve’s wife Sarah has tweeted. I saved the tweet where she said they have spent $20,000 in legal fees trying to disentangle themselves from the church without signing an NDA, a nondisclosure agreement, which a lot of employees at Willow have done just to get the severance because it’s the only way they can, supposedly, I mean, this is the story that they’re telling. But good for you for asking for that, at least. During that conversation, any apology?

ANN LINDBERG: Well, he said, “On behalf Half of the elder board, we’re sorry for what happened to you.” That was pretty much it. No, not really an apology. Certainly not an “I’m sorry.” One of those vague apologies that Willow likes to do.

JULIE ROYS:  Hmm. So why did he call exactly?

ANN LINDBERG: I’m not completely sir I’ve maybe to feel out where I was on it or do damage control or hope I’d say everything’s fine or something like that. He got off [not transcribed.] But when I told him I was recorded line he got off as fast as he could.

JULIE ROYS:  Sure. By the way, I’ve reached out to Jeff Mason, the elder board, Steve Gillen, the acting senior pastor at Willow Creek. I’ve reached out to everybody that you named in your story. Some of them have responded. If you want to read an story. I did post it JulieRoys.com. You can read the entire account. You can also read the stories as they’ve been breaking and the responses. I also reached out to Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian. At first he said that he would meet with me and interview with me along with his wife. And then after the account came out that Willow Creek was saying they believed you, then he said he didn’t want to meet anymore. And he retracted that, although he said he was postponing, I think till end of February. But we’ll see. And the offer’s still open. I would be happy to talk to him. But what I’d like you to do is take us back. I know,

ANN LINDBERG: Please.

JULIE ROYS:  I don’t want to say everything. Obviously, we can’t recount everything that’s happened in 35 years. But help people understand. Because I’ve talked to a lot of abuse victims. And especially when they’re victimized by a spiritual authority. How did you get drawn into this with Dr. B? How did it start and what was it in you that drew you to him?

ANN LINDBERG: I’d already been through a tremendous amount of abuse from early childhood on. And then on top of that, I had an engagement breakup. And we were, I was attending a very small church with only a couple of hundred people. And the way I found out that he was breaking up with me was when his girlfriend told me that they were getting married. So I decided the church was a little too small for the three of us. And I’d been getting invitations to Willow for about four years. But consistently, what they would say was, “It’s really fun and there’s lots of cute guys.” And I thought those were terrible reasons for attending a church. So I didn’t take them up. But I finally decided to try it. And I thought, “God, I’m really serious about getting to know You. So I’m going to sit way up front where I can’t see the cute guys, I won’t get distracted, and where I can concentrate on You.” And so that’s how I picked fifth row, aisle, close to center as I could get because Lakeside [auditorium at Willow] didn’t really have a center aisle. And I sat there consistently. And starting late October. Dr. B preached a lot of the mid-weeks. And I think it was the very first week if not the very first, the second one then, that I saw his eyes fixed on me. And I thought, “That’s bizarre.” Because I was under the, I didn’t understand that you could see past the floodlights. And so I thought, “I can’t imagine why anybody would be watching me, so must be somebody behind me.” Or anything else. But week after week, this kept happening. So I didn’t do anything for over a year. I just sat there, tried to concentrate on God. And finally in December of ’85, so now more than a year later, I’d seen somebody off and on who was all into, speaking in tongues. And so I decided to stand after one of the services and ask Dr. B if he had anything written about speaking in tongues. And I also thought it would answer my question about whether he’d been watching me for over a year. So after the service, I stood in the back of this very long line that reached past the end of Lakeside and into the auditorium. So lots of people. And I’d been standing there maybe five or ten minutes when I saw him lean around the line and look all the way to the back and saw me and he left the front of the line, and came all the way back towards me. And I had no idea what why he was coming. I was afraid I was in trouble. And he grabbed both of my hands, kiss me on both cheeks, and said, “I have been wanting to meet you for so long.” And he said, “Will you please have a seat and wait for me?” And I just sat there in bewilderment. I had no idea what this was about. I could not think of a single reason why the Legend of Willow Creek would be watching me for over a year.

JULIE ROYS:  Hmm, the Legend of Willow Creek because here he was, one of the co-founders.

ANN LINDBERG: Right

JULIE ROYS:  I know there’s quite the story of him mentoring Bill Hybels.

ANN LINDBERG: Correct.

JULIE ROYS:  And the church getting started. So he then talks to you after this service.

ANN LINDBERG: Correct.

JULIE ROYS:  And shows you a great deal of attention. I know when you told me this story earlier you said, “Wow, people here at Willow Creek are so friendly.” I mean, at first you were kind of taken, like just that he had a very pure interest in you.

ANN LINDBERG: Exactly. I thought, “Wow. Somebody actually sees me wants to mentor me.” And I thought that was just really cool. I hadn’t had that.

JULIE ROYS:  And something you said to me. “He was about the age . . .

ANN LINDBERG: of my father. Yeah.

JULIE ROYS:  Father, why is that significant?

ANN LINDBERG: That might make me cry. Loved my father. I think my father loved me as best as he could. But I don’t think he ever said he was proud of me. He said he loved me after I had a stroke and he was afraid I was gonna die. But other than that, not a whole lot of attention or affirmation from my father. And so Dr. B, being only one or two years younger than my father and him seeming to want to have a relationship with me or be interested in me or think I was interesting or anything like that felt like getting a father’s attention. And that that struck me deeply.

JULIE ROYS:  You had this hole.

ANN LINDBERG: Oh my gosh yes.

JULIE ROYS:  And any hooked that hole. And I’ve found this with so many abusers or predators that they seem to sense. They have like a sixth sense for what that weakness is. And they know how to hook.

ANN LINDBERG: Yeah,

JULIE ROYS:  And you know, I’ve been in co-dependent relationships before. Happened to me once actually. And it was enough. It was devastating. And learned a lot about myself and that whole process. But when you’re in it, you don’t realize what’s going on.

ANN LINDBERG: No, no, I was clueless.

JULIE ROYS:  Yeah. And you had no awareness that that might be a weakness. And yet, he kind of, describe what happened from there and how you got into, you know, and allowed the abuse.

ANN LINDBERG: Yeah,

JULIE ROYS:  I shouldn’t say allowed because I know every time you objected.

ANN LINDBERG: Every time I try to talk them into

JULIE ROYS:  Yeah, and forgive me for saying that because I know that’s true.

ANN LINDBERG: Thank you.

JULIE ROYS:  But I mean, how you stayed in the relationship, despite the abuse would probably be the way to say it.

ANN LINDBERG: Right. Well, when I finally got to talk to him that day, I told him that I was looking for some information on speaking in tongues. And he said, “No problem. I just wrote something.” He said, “Why don’t you stop by my office and pick it up?” And again, I thought, “My gosh, this church takes such a personal interest in people. I get to go to Dr. B’s office and pick up this literature.’ And I thought maybe learn more about God. I was kind of stunned. And so that afternoon in December, I went up to his office. It was a third floor office, and all kind of all by itself. And it was quite a meeting. He was already talking with three young college men. And so I had some time to look around his office. And it was a fascinating office, lots of books, lots of philodendron plants draped everywhere. But then my attention was caught by a banner that he had across most of his desk. It was about four inches high. And it said, “Better to burn than marry,”

JULIE ROYS:  which is the flip

ANN LINDBERG: Correct.

JULIE ROYS:  of the verse.

ANN LINDBERG: I knew there was the verse about being better to marry than burn. And I thought, “Why would he have this banner on his desk and that would hurt his wife’s feelings?” And, “What is that about? And he’s a professor.” And I just, I couldn’t imagine why. So that was top of my list of things to talk about. So, when the the young gentlemen left the office, Dr. B invited me to have a seat. You did ask me if you locked the door. And you know, I don’t know if he did. I wasn’t thinking to pay attention to that, or I’d have probably run.

JULIE ROYS:  Right, because you were unsuspecting.

ANN LINDBERG: Right. So we spent about five minutes talking about speaking in tongues, and he gave me the literature. And then I said, “Before we talk about anything else I need to ask you about this banner.” And I said, “Can you tell me why this is on your desk?” And that was all he needed. So I got to hear about his life from birth on basically. I got to hear that at four his mother died and you’d never known the love of a woman, never been hugged and told he loved him. And that his father was a cold, loveless man who never told him he loved him. And then I hate talking about Maria. I mean, I had guess I have to say that part too. He said that he had never loved her, that it was a marriage of convenience, that they both wanted to be youth pastors and they were under the under the impression that they had to be married to the youth pastors. And so he said it was more like a business arrangement. And that hurt to just hear that. I hurt for her. And then he said, once she started having children, Maria decided she did not want to be a youth pastor, according to him. And he said he discovered that Maria was a cold, bitter, heartless person, who didn’t even love their children and that he wished he hadn’t married her. And then he went on to say all kinds of things about me that he was, he could see me what this wonderful, empathetic, deep hearted person I was and how he needed somebody like me around to continue doing ministry–it’s draining as it was and all that. And I’m not sure if you talk for an hour, two hours, I just know it was getting dark by the end of the conversation. And so he basically told me he needed me. And this was at a time in my life where I wasn’t sure what God wanted to do with my life. So that was extremely confusing. And so I had enough to wrestle with right then. But when it was, you know, getting dark and it was time to go. We left his office. Well, we walked outside the door and he turned and closed it. And I was on the left side of him–the left side of the hallway, or of the stairs. And without warning, after he locked the door, he turned around and shoved me with both hands against the wall and stuck his tongue down my throat, which is really quite appalling. And then while I was still trying to push him away from me, he grabbed one of my breasts. And I was finally able to push him away. And he started skipping down the steps. I have never seen a 50 something year old man skip. But he was skipping. And he was laughing. And he sounded like a teenager or a child. And he got to the bottom of the steps, and he said, “You make me so happy. You make me feel like I’m a teenager.” And I mean, I was thinking, “What the heck just happened?” And I don’t remember the rest of that day. I kind of went into shock.

JULIE ROYS:  I bet. So yeah, your emotional state, I can only imagine after something like that. How did you process that?

ANN LINDBERG: I didn’t have anybody to process it with. I, he had already made it clear I was important to his keeping Willow going. So I loved Willow. So I didn’t want to say anything that might harm Willow. I couldn’t tell my parents, because everything was my fault, according to them, you know. And I didn’t have any friends that I felt safe. I mean, he told me I needed to keep a secret. So I didn’t. It just weighed on me and I didn’t even realize how heavy that weight was.

JULIE ROYS:  Wow. And he also really spoke to that need to feel important,

ANN LINDBERG: Yeah.

JULIE ROYS:   . . . to feel needed, to all of those things. So then what happened from there? And it continued.

ANN LINDBERG: Yes.

JULIE ROYS:  Not specifically like that but . . .

ANN LINDBERG: No, I never let him grab my breast again. And I never went to his office again. And there was never a time when he managed to suddenly attack me and give me a kiss that I didn’t have him away. And I never voluntarily gave him one for sure. In fact, my sole aim was to try to get him to get help, which he absolutely refused time after time after time.

JULIE ROYS:  But you would have sort of an agreement. I don’t know if it was spoken or not.

ANN LINDBERG: It was spoken.

JULIE ROYS:  It was spoken. Okay. Where you would, whenever he preached, you would sit in your normal location. But you would wait for him afterwards because a lot of people would want to talk to him.

ANN LINDBERG: Yes. And he would ask me to wait. I don’t remember how you initially asked me. But every time he spoke, he would ask me to wait for him. And I did. I still wasn’t sure what to do with the whole, “he needed me and Willow needed me,” and all that kind of stuff.

JULIE ROYS:  And that went on. So afterwards you wouldn’t you go to the car and talk afterwards.

ANN LINDBERG: Yes. And we’d wait until pretty much everybody was gone. There were a couple of hanger-on-ers that seemed to want to talk to him, but he didn’t talk to them. So I never have figured that one out. But we’d talk in the church for a while until they basically were vacuuming or something. And then we’d go sit in one of the cars. We didn’t make out in the cars. That wasn’t gonna happen. I did have a door I could get out of. But we would talk for a long time and sometimes we talked about God, which that was the part I liked. And then other times we would just talk about us his life.

JULIE ROYS:  Hmm. Did he ever physically assault You again?

ANN LINDBERG: Wait it depends upon if you call grabbing somebody and kissing them when you didn’t want it, “assaulting.”

JULIE ROYS:  That would be abuse.

ANN LINDBERG: I never allowed them to grab any other parts. There were times that we took walks where we held hands or put arms around each other’s waist. And the only reason I agreed to that was it kept his hands tied up. It meant he couldn’t surprise me.

JULIE ROYS:  It eventually broke off.

ANN LINDBERG: Yes.

JULIE ROYS:  And that’s when you started dating your husband?

ANN LINDBERG: Well, I think I’d been seeing him less towards the end of 1987. I know that I saw him on October 31 in 1987. I have in my notes. But yes, my mother had picked out a husband for me. And I was the obedient child. And so this person was willing. I sort of gave in. And then said, this was around Christmas time, and he had Christmas at our house. And I agreed to marry him. And meanwhile, my mother came, was told that she had stage four cancer. And they gave her two weeks to live. And so she asked me to please get married before she died.

JULIE ROYS:  So you got married. The relationship with Dr. B

ANN LINDBERG: Changed.

JULIE ROYS:  It changed.

ANN LINDBERG: Yeah.

JULIE ROYS:  Okay. How did it change?

ANN LINDBERG: Well, he no longer, I think he’s only, well, that’s my only guess. I can’t prove it unless I talk to other people. I think he only likes single women. So you know, maybe it’s just the thought that somebody else is having relationships that makes him uninterested. I don’t know.

JULIE ROYS:  You must have been in a lot of conflict during the, what was it? About two and a half years?

ANN LINDBERG: Yeah.

JULIE ROYS:  . . . that this was going on, even though you’re trying not to allow him physically to touch you. Yet, there’s an emotional affair going on. And you’ve got to feel bad, as a believer. You know, this is wrong. How did you, explain what was going on inside.

ANN LINDBERG: You know, I was still, even though I grew up in the church, my church really didn’t teach the Bible. They just taught little passages. And so in a lot of ways, I was still a baby believer and still trying to figure it out. And, you know, my parents had told me that I was an accident, not an accident at birth but not the child they wanted, and that I shouldn’t exist. And so, I mean, I hate saying that to my brothers, if you’re listening.

JULIE ROYS:  You had a sister who . . .

ANN LINDBERG: . . . who died. A year ahead of me. Yes.

JULIE ROYS:  So there was trauma in your family.

ANN LINDBERG: And so I was the replacement child, on top of that. So I wasn’t, given that my mother said I was breathing somebody else’s air, that shouldn’t be there. I wasn’t sure if I had a purpose. And so I was trying to figure out what God wanted me to do with my life. I really didn’t have a clue. I didn’t know if I had gifts. I didn’t know if I had anything to offer the world. And meanwhile this person is telling me that he needs me for Willow to continue, that if I stopped seeing him, Willow will fall apart. And that I was the only person in the world that understood him. Everyone else had an agenda. They wanted to get close to a famous person. So I kept asking God, “Is this what you want me to do is to just keep begging Him for help?” And I wasn’t mature enough to know that, “No,” God would have said no to that. So that was a lot of it was I kept saying, and he asked me to call him Gil, I would say, “Gil, please get into marriage counseling.” And he would say, “It’s too late for me.” And he’d say, “And besides, I can’t divorce her since she hasn’t cheated on me. And I’d never be allowed to preach again, if I divorced her.” And I’d say, “Please get into a men’s group.” And he’d say, “I don’t like men.” And I’d say, “Please talk to Bill.” And he said, “Bill Hybels would never understand.” That part I’ve wondered about since then. So there are all these reasons I knew. But tell me how depressed he was. And that I was the only cheerful spot in his life and just on and on and on, to where I felt like I was in a cage and couldn’t get out.

JULIE ROYS:  Hmm. So you got married, your first marriage ended in divorce.

ANN LINDBERG: Yes.

JULIE ROYS:  I know there’s a episode in between where as you were getting the divorce that you say he reached out to you.

ANN LINDBERG: My divorce was final–I’d been separated for a year and a half–my divorce was final January 18, 1998. And he called me on New Year’s Day to tell me that I was this hero for going through a divorce from a very abusive marriage and parenting myself, that he had the greatest of admiration for single mothers. And then 10 days after my divorce was final. I got a postcard from him from I forget which country. And so I guess I was single again. But I didn’t ever allow him to touch me. Except for the one time in 2004 where he kissed me on the cheek.

JULIE ROYS:  So, then there’s a lot of years in between. You marry your current husband, Mark.

ANN LINDBERG: The love of my life.

JULIE ROYS:  And you begin getting counseling, getting healthier. 2010 . . .

ANN LINDBERG: . . . was brutal.

JULIE ROYS:  That’s when you said, “I’m going to tell the church.” Tell me about that.

ANN LINDBERG: I spent 20 years before I told my first therapist. And then the second therapist, I told. And she just went off the rails, she was so upset about it all. And so I started taking it more seriously and talking about it. So in 2010, I finally had the courage and I called and I asked Bill’s assistant, if I could talk to Bill. And she said, “No.” And I said, “This is a really important subject. Can I please talk to him? I want to keep it private.” And she said, “No.” And I actually liked this person. She was just following protocol. And then I asked if I might speak to an elder and she said, “No.” And I said, “Look, this is about Dr. B. And I really wanted to stay private.” And she said, “No.” And so I was referred to the now infamous or famous Elder Response Team, the ERT. And so we ended up having three different meetings that year in 2010, with Scott Vaudrey and Chris Hurta. And to say they were draining is an understatement. I shook and cried through the whole thing. I felt so shameful and wicked and just bad about myself. And they acted like they weren’t hearing anything that was a big deal. And so that just made it worse. Chris not so much. Chris Hurta is a kind person. But Scott Vaudrey is devoid of any of emotion. And I didn’t really get the feeling they took me seriously. And at the end, Scott Vaudrey kind of shuffled his papers, whatever and said,  “Well, you know, since this didn’t go to sex. This doesn’t need to go any farther.” And me with my, “Everything’s my fault” mentality thought that meant that that week they weren’t going to kick me out of Willow.

JULIE ROYS:  You expected to get kicked out?

ANN LINDBERG: Yes. I thought they meant me. And that they’d let me stay because it didn’t go to sex. So every week,

JULIE ROYS:  You must have felt so much shame.

ANN LINDBERG: It was awful. So every week for until we talked to Chris again, I would shake coming into the church. I still shake, actually. I got there because I never knew, “Would this be the week they would kick me out?” “Would  this be the week that they told me I was a terrible, horrible person and get rid of me?” So it definitely started affecting my health badly. In 2010, I spent a lot of the year in bed with many doctors. In 2011, I had breast cancer. And at that meeting, yeah.

JULIE ROYS:  Did they communicate to you that there will be a restriction put on Dr. B?

ANN LINDBERG: Yes. My husband helped with this asking and we wanted to know, I wanted to make sure Bill Hybels heard about this. And I wanted to know what his response was. And I wanted to make sure the Elders were told. They never really did answer me about the Elders. But I was told that Bill Hybels said that Dr. B would never speak on a Willow Creek stage again. Now they, I didn’t realize that that was such strategic wording until the last few years.

JULIE ROYS:  Okay, so fast forward. There’s an incident where you get an email from the head of the marriage ministry, saying that Dr. B is mentoring.

ANN LINDBERG: Yes.

JULIE ROYS:  Is mentoring volunteers and there’s an Advance conference coming up and encouraging people to go to it. This was in 2017.

ANN LINDBERG: 2017. Yeah.

JULIE ROYS:  Explain what happened there.

ANN LINDBERG: You know, it’s not her fault. She didn’t know. She was old friends with Dr. B. And nobody had ever told her. And she was very excited about this opportunity. She told us she, I think she contacted everybody who’d ever been in the marriage ministries, and said, “What a wonderful opportunity this was that Dr. B would be doing a marriage leading seminar.” I always thought was so ironic when they were talking about him leading marriage seminars. And so I forwarded the email to Scott Vaudrey and Chris Hurta and said, “You know, you might want to be concerned about this.” And I thought the agreement was, you know, they wouldn’t do this. And the next day, Pat sent out another email saying, you know, “You still have time to sign up for this.” And he still spoke, Scott [Vaudrey] and Chris Hurta.

JULIE ROYS:  And there was an email that went out encouraging people still to go to this Advance conference. Now I knowI have reached out to Scott Vaudrey. He said he misread the email. And then in 2018, after he resigned that then he went back and looked and read your email and he said he felt sick at that point and said it was the biggest mistake of his ministry life, that he didn’t respond, he didn’t do anything. How do you receive that?

ANN LINDBERG: What crosses over into slander? My experience with Scott has not been good. I’ve had him yell at me before. I’ve had him say really nasty things. I’ve never had him look at me with anything like empathy. I’ve never heard anything remotely close to “I’m so sorry for what you went through.” I think he’s a very smooth talker, a very smooth rider. And I absolutely don’t believe that.

JULIE ROYS:  Did he ever reached out to you and apologize?

ANN LINDBERG: Golly, no, no, heck no.

JULIE ROYS:  There also was a situation in 2015, where there was a 40th anniversary. And I have just a short clip from that anniversary. We’re going to play that and then I’d like your response to how you felt when . . .

ANN LINDBERG: Sure.

JULIE ROYS:  . . . you heard this.

BILL HYBELS: [Recorded Voice] Tonight, we make our permanent contribution to this historic stadium by installing our one and only true legend from Willow Creek church. And I’d like to ask you to all stand respectfully right now. Stand respectfully.

ANNOUNCER:  [Exciting music. Crowd Cheering] Standing five foot seven and weighing 170 pounds, former president of Haigazian College in Beirut, Lebanon. Professor at Wheaton College and Trinity University, earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Paris his graduate degree from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and his doctorate from Boston University. An author, a teacher, a much sought after counselor to world leaders. Put. Your. Hands. Together. For the One and Only. The Indomitable. The Living Legend of Willow Creek Community Church. Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian!

JULIE ROYS:  The Living Legend of Willow Creek. They say, the church says, back in 2010, it believed your story. Restricted him from speaking. And then immortalized him in 2015. Did you go to that?

ANN LINDBERG: I did.

JULIE ROYS:  Wow. What was that like?

ANN LINDBERG: I felt nauseous for one thing and a bit angry too. And then I thought, “You’re breaking what you said.” But then I paid attention. And he wasn’t “on the Willow Creek stage.” So . . .

JULIE ROYS:  So technically,

ANN LINDBERG: . . .technically, he didn’t violate what Bill Hybels had said. I had never said, “Please don’t talk about the Legend of Willow Creek.” So I just, It just made me aware that Bill Hybels had not disseminated the information to other people.

JULIE ROYS:  Well, I hate to draw this to a close, because I’m sure there’s so much more we could talk about. But I think the final thing I just want to know is what would you have to say to other women out there who have been abused by spiritual authorities and feel like they haven’t been taken seriously? Speak to that person.

ANN LINDBERG: Well, something I’m learning is that you don’t have to always be controlled by your trauma, and that there is life after trauma. So that’s the space I’m starting to enter. And I would give them encouragement to keep doing whatever it is that helps them keep plugged into themselves. For me, it’s been journaling. And I would say, do that. Take the next right step, whatever that is for you. That doesn’t mean go confront immediately. Just, if there’s one tiny–I really believe in tiny steps more than big steps–take that tiny step that you can withstand. And then take the next tiny step that you can withstand. And hopefully have at least a couple people around you who will support that. But the little steps that you take, that you make part of your lifestyle, become permanent. And that’s what’s really important. And that’s what I would encourage other people with is to have hope. To believe that God really does love you and that he can take you through this.

JULIE ROYS:  Well Ann, I want to thank you so much for coming in. I know it’s not easy to talk about this and to relive some of the trauma that you’ve experienced. But I’m deeply grateful. So thank you.

ANN LINDBERG: Thank you. But can I just say that I would do this 100 times over if anybody gets helped through this. So, thank you for the privilege.

JULIE ROYS:  Yeah. Well, again, you’ve been listening to The Roys Report, a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys. And if you’d like to find me online, just go to Julie Roys.com. Thank you so much for joining me. Hope you have a great day and God bless.

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37 thoughts on “Sex Abuse Victim of Willow Creek Co-Founder Speaks”

  1. I have been following the Willow creek/Bill Hybels story since it broke, and others that have followed, with increasing sorrow., but unfortunately, not surprise. Thank you Julie for doing the hard work of investigating and reporting this difficult and horrific truth of spiritual abuse among so many churches. And thank you Ann for going public, revealing another dimension of this systemic and hidden issue at Willowcreek. It is past time for all Christians, particularly leaders, to fall on their faces before God and repent of their sin, rather than engage in “sin management” as Dallas Willard describes in in his book”Divine Conspiracy”. Imagine the sorrow of our leader, Jesus Christ, and his indignation that the “shepherds” are in fact harming the “sheep.” He will not let this continue indefinitely. And I would add that spiritual abuse does not only occur with sexual in appropriateness. It occurs any time a spiritual leader uses his or her position to make themselves feel good about themselves. Using and manipulating people are just as damaging and in fact, more difficult to discern. We have profaned the name holy Name of God. Lord have mercy.

    1. Jenny..I don’t comment much but I totally agree. So well said! We need to be informed and reminded that spiritual abuse takes many forms and is so deceptive. Whether it’s a man or a woman, a clergy or Christian counselor, or even a mentor or the likes of “The Church Lady”. These people have the power to build trusting followers up or break them down to the ground. The poor abused woman who is forced back into a horrible marriage by these so called “anointed ones”, the cover ups of child abuse, the swindling of money, the list goes on.

  2. Frustrated Staff member

    If you really new Ann, Actually saw people turn to avoid her.. Not out of lack of caring, but avoiding the drama she brings out of self interest. She complains about EVERYTHING and causes great staff member’s and volunteers to constantly walk on egg shells. She would destroy anything for attention…

    ”Divine Conspiracy”. Imagine the sorrow of our leader, Jesus Christ, and his indignation that a “false witness” is in fact harming the “sheep.”

    1. Are you insinuating that her account regarding Dr. B is false? It seems that not only was she dismissed when bringing this account to Willow but was abused all over again. Could this have any bearing on her “dramatic” behavior?

      Full disclosure: I don’t know Ann but the curtain on Willow was starting to pull back for me well before the story broke on Bill. My gut was telling me that what I saw on the stage did not represent how things were behind the stage. This was based on some of my own experiences and those of others. I think I may have known this on a gut level early on because when I was encouraged to get even more deeply involved, I would say that I love the church and I didn’t want to spoil that by getting too close. At one point, I thought about applying for a job there and was discouraged by staff member at the time. They said it was really a tough place to work. Imagine my surprise when Bill announced that it was voted the #1 place to work in the Chicagoland area! Marketing at its best.

    2. Frustrated Staff Membership, 1. Are you still on staff, 2. a H.S. graduate? It is knew not new. 3. Before you knock Ann, did you follow Matt. 18-20ff on church discipline if it is warranted? 4. Assist her to get some Christian counseling, 5. Seek the truth about Dr. B’s sexual assault or 6. Blame the victim and smear her character to protect the company and organization.

    3. As both an experienced Pastor and military veteran (leader) here Chicago, I will insist that regardless of how whatever happened here happened, the leader must ultimately take responsibility and claim extreme ownership. Any Pastor and especially one who is married, who engages in a relationship with any parishioner to any extent that is considered or deemed inappropriate or even potentially questionable did at least 2 things; 1) he failed to use professional discretion, exercise sound judgement and make a wise decision and, 2) he left himself vulnerable and susceptible to question. If he indeed engaged in ANY interaction that was unbecoming of a Pastor (especially a married one), he clearly violated his office as a Pastor. Extreme ownership means that whatever happened, the Pastor is ultimately responsible regardless. He should’ve never engaged this woman beyond the scope of pastoral care in the first place.

  3. Replying to GJ and Frustrated Staff Member:
    My background with Willow Creek – I attended Willow Creek off and on for about 20 years. I do not speak here as a godly woman but rather a back sliden Christian, and maybe with some real life experience, unrelated to the church.

    When the news first broke about Hybels’ conduct, I cried. I went to the Willow Creek meetings and listened to the elders defend Bill. I listened to Bill deny the accusations. I participated in the standing ovation Bill received and thought “there is no way Bill is guilty of the accusations.” I don’t know when I realized the accusations had merit, maybe when I read Nancy Beach’s account. Never went back to Willow Creek; I felt sad, betrayed and lost my heart to attend.

    I think of the story of David and Bathsheba and know that no man is without sin. I don’t condone Bill’s behavior and think Bill should have resigned sooner and tried to make peace with and apologize to the woman. I think the former elders are guilty of covering up Bill’s behavior and the new elders are going along with protecting Willow’s image and brand. I read the job description for the new pastor and it reads like a recruitment for a CEO, not a humble person of God seeking to lead lost souls to the Lord.

    Only God knows Bill’s heart and I believe the new elders are doing the best they can to restore the church, given the probable/apparent toxic corporate environment at Willow. (My assumption.)

    I feel sad still for Willow and the people that were hurt. I think my deepest sadness is for Lynn Hybels and what she went through. I am sad that Steve Carter left the church. At the end of the Wednesday night service I felt blessed when Steve asked us to hold out our hands and he prayed for God to give us a blessing and that we would receive the blessing. I feel very sad that Willow is still broken and that the leaders can’t get past this.

    Thank you for allowing me to share my feelings and on to the point I want to make. . .

    I found Ann’s story incredible and wondered why she would stay in a situation that caused her so much grief. I also thought wow, she’s very naive and inmature or has a very bad victim mentality. I also thought she could be a drama queen, although I don’t know her so I can’t judge. I have a close family member that is always a victim, a drama queen, and always accusing and pointing the finger at other family members for all her problems. In my opinion, most of her problems (not all) are self imposed by her poor decisions. From my own personal experience, I can tell you that it is very hard to live with a manipulative, accusing, drama queen. No matter how hard family members try to accommodate and sympathize, she always has a new crisis and causes a lot of heartache for us. So I might agree with “Frustrated.”

    GT – not trying to be rude, but I think your comments to “Frustrated” were harsh. And in case you find any typos in my response, I do find it difficult to type on this tiny screen and I do make some typos. I try to proof read my posts but don’t always catch my typos. So in case you are wondering, I have a HS education; I also have a bachelors degree – please pardon any typos.

    Thanks for letting me share my opinion on this very sad matter.

    1. Replying to Sally Marriner, I too noticed Anne’s victim mentality. Note, when JR first asked Anne how the relationship with Dr B started, Anne felt the need to include details of her relationship wounds which led her to Willow, but this was not the question that was asked of her and it had nothing to do with how she first met Dr B in person. I understand that she was a very wounded individual at the time she started up the friendship/relationship with Dr B and in her wounded heart and mind he may have fulfilled a void in her life not met by her own father as she explains. She admits feelings of never being acknowledged by anyone until meeting Dr B. In her interview she also states that she wanted to know if Dr B had any literature about speaking in tongues, this seems scripted to me. Would she not more realistically have asked if he had any knowledge or insight about speaking in tongues that might help her better understand it? But she specifically used the word “literature” which then fits nicely in with her details following where he says ‘yes I have literature why don’t you meet me at my office this week so I can give it to you’… And why not say he aggressively or forcefully french kissed me, rather than how she stated both verbally and in writing that “he stuck his tongue down her throat.” This all seems too convenient to me. Her perceptions are off and contradictory. Why has everyone accepted her details as the full truth so quickly, without anyone fact checking any of the information she has provided? Is the rush to this conclusion brought on by those who are now ashamed that they questioned the women who first brought attention to Hybels’ abuse and now everyone is trying to save face?

  4. Frustrated Staff Member, definitely agreeing with you on some points here. Not all of Anne’s details quite add up and some of her comments are speculative and not based on facts. I find it extremely difficult for someone on stage to overlook an individual wearing homemade obnoxious large and loud colored hats and bright clothes in the front rows… plus having been on the same stage before it’s difficult to focus in on individual faces, much less have eye contact with anyone beyond the bright lights, so the locking of the eyes with her detail does not cut it. I do believe some of her story may be factual but I also believe she is either somewhat delusional or fabricating some of the details. I agree there was some abuse of his Pastoral position here, but one who feels they do not want to be touched by a person so instead she holds his hands on walks alone makes absolutely no logical sense. Dr B by no means did himself any favors by earning the rep of the flirty Professor or by spending any time alone with a woman other than his wife. I challenge others to pick apart her detailed comments and speculations a bit more to further piece this together. Did anyone else see his office desk back in the day with this banner on it by the way? If so, it would be interesting to hear a second accounts of some of these details. Her story was acknowledged by Willow Creek leaders within 48 hours and by 72 hours hit the local news and posted about on numerous Christian blogs across the country. Where was everyone coming to the rescue of the initial 9 women who reported Hybels’ abuse? Why so quick to believe this one account and still have yet to apologize for the months it took Willow to acknowledge the other women and offer apologies for initially not believing them?

  5. Regarding the notion of an accuser not fitting in perfectly and even being known as “someone who might be known as causing issues”, as one commenter notes here, wouldn’t we guess that the person selected as a victim would be perceived as somewhat weak, isolated, and vulnerable? Let’s face facts here; when we see friends and relatives fall into relationships that are disastrous (though not necessarily abusive), don’t we generally see (at least afterwards) the signs that our friend or relative was isolated, vulnerable, etc..?

    So I can personally admit the possibility that “Frustrated Staff Member” is mostly or entirely correct without jettisoning the notion that the accuser’s complaint has merit.

  6. Pretty brave of you to be anonymous! Maybe the staff members need to step up and do the right things and stop hero worshipping their leaders.

  7. @ Sally Marriner. You must be a licensed phycologist or something. Interesting your comments and observations on someone you supposedly don’t know.

  8. @ Calling more BS. You are a misinformed and a possible proxy for someone else. Obviously, you have not read the additional stories of Wheaton college alumni that are confirmation to how this particular man operated. Love how you hide behind your anonymity. Would be happy to meet with you if you need more facts. The main point to her story is that the status quo still exists. Men in power still get away with and our enabled to take advantage of women. The governance and culture of the large churches and college campuses needs to evolve. Ann is feeing just fine now, and is glad to have told her story that gave the courage for others to tell theirs’s.

    1. Mark Lindberg you still don’t hold any facts that you can share with anyone. I can appreciate yoi being a supportive husband, defending your wife, however you were not there either so your “factual” insight comes only from one side of the story. I am not a proxy for anyone, I have no relationship with Dr Bilezekian or any of his family members. I am looking from the outside in and noticing some inaccuracies with some of Anne’s account. Fully aware of Bilezekian’s history of inappropriate behavior with students. The reason why many of us are calling BS to Anne being a complete victim here is that she repeatedly went on walks alone with him, she even admits to holding his hand SO that he would not touch other parts of her body! She did not like him touching her so why even allow the hand holding so as to stop the other bad behavior? Anne was not a child, or even a student. She is certainly to blame for part of this ongoing behavior. I also agree that the real and unfortunate victim here is his wife, Maria. How completely painful it must have been for her to hear (and I am hoping Maria did not listen to the podcast) Anne repeat what her husband allegedly spoke about her to another woman. I’m sorry but Anne did not need to share those details with the rest of the world. If Bilezekian indeed said those hurtful things about his wife to Anne, how cruel to repeat them detail by detail. There are other ways to get your point across. I believe that both Dr Bilezekian and Anne Lindberg owe an apology to Maria Bilezekian for allowing this affair to continue.

  9. It is beyond preposterous that anyone would blame Ann Lindberg in this.

    Either Bilezikian did what she says he did or he didn’t.

    If he didn’t do it, then that would make her a liar.

    If he did, then none of this is her fault; the shame belongs to him. Even if she were a “drama queen”–which I don’t believe–the bottom line is that, if he did what he is accused of doing, then he’s guilty.

    According to the elders, they believed her 10 years ago. Looking at her account, I see no reason NOT to believe her, especially given that we now have former students at Wheaton who are saying he was up to no good back then. And Wheaton is not being forthcoming about anything.

    Fact is, WCCC was founded by three sexual deviants: Hybels, Bilezikian, and Holmbo. While many people found Jesus there, and while many good Christian people flourished there, the fact remains: WCCC was founded and run–for more than three decades–by wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    Ann Lindberg is not at fault here. The shame belongs to Bilezikian and everyone who covered his butt.

  10. So…..correct me if I’m wrong: according to your “story”, THE VERY FIRST day you met Dr. B, he invited you up to his office and he sexually assaulted you, at the church??!! ARE YOU SERIOUS? This “story” is so ridiculous! So….you were meeting with the Tribune reporter in 2018 (when the other allegations came out about BH) about your own sexual abuse by Dr B. But yet your tweets from that time were all defending BH and the elders and the church, saying the women were making it up for the notoriety and fame. There are so many inconsistencies with your “story”, it’s absolutely unbelievable! How sad to do this to a failing 93 year old and to WCCC for your own notoriety and fame. Show specific proof of the sexual assaults. Not friendly postcards from a friend. And don’t use the excuse that SV shredded it. i DON’T believe you and you are hurting the real victims!

    1. Kathy K, I too witnessed early on, Anne’s NUMEROUS unsupportive and derogatory comments on social media towards the victims that came forward with claims against Hybels. Anne, how do you explain this hypocracy? Inquiring minds really want to understand! Your actions in themselves, discredit your claims about being a clergy abuse victim. Period. Is anyone else seeing through her story as many of us others are? Again, Bilezekian without a doubt abused his power over women in the church and in the college(s) where he taught, but to believe in every detail that Anne is feeding us is foolish. Wake up folks! Start asking more questions here.

  11. So many inconsistencies……….Ann’s own personal blog states “from October 1984 to 1988, Dr B pursued an inappropriate relationship with me. It began with subtle flirtations after weekend services, and grew to include hand holding, emotional sharing and intimacy, kissing and fondling”. HOWEVER, her story is completely different on the Podcast with Julie R. During the podcast, Ann said it was after a midweek service in Dec 1985, the VERY FIRST TIME she met DrB, that he assaulted her at the church, and he told her how important she was to him, and how he couldn’t stand his wife, and how he needed Ann for Willow to survive…..at their 1st meeting!! Which version is it?

  12. Julie, maybe you should have had Marvin Olasky or another good friend who is a journalist vet this. Just saying ….

    1. The bottom line: Ann L contradicts herself. She wrote on her 1/25/20 blog: the relationship with DrB began with subtle flirtations after weekend services, and grew to include hand holding, emotional sharing and intimacy, kissing and fondling, and pressure to have sex.
      HOWEVER, during her 1/31/20 podcast with Julie R she said: after meeting DrB for the VERY FIRST TIME after a midweek service in Dec ’85, she accepted an invitation to his office that day, and while she was there, he told her he couldn’t live without her, that he didn’t love his wife and he violently sexually assaulted her. Which is it??

  13. As I understand it, Dr. Bilezikian invited Ann to his office when they first met after he preached a sermon at Willow Creek. At that first encounter, Ann accepted the invitation to his office, thinking it was merely to receive an article on tongues. However, she did not actually go to Bilezikian’s office until later. (Bilezikian’s office was at Wheaton College, not Willow Creek, so it wouldn’t make sense that Ann went to his office the evening she first met Bilezikian.) This does not conflict with her earlier statement that the relationship began with subtle flirtations and progressed to physical interactions.

    Also, I think it should be noted that Willow Creek has corroborated Ann’s story of abuse and said the church believes her. Plus, there are additional victims of Bilezikian’s who have come forward and told their stories on the record.

    1. That’s not what Ann said on your podcast, this is what she said on your podcast:

      ANN LINDBERG: “Right, Well, when I finally got to talk to him that day (after the midweek service) I told him that I was looking for some information on speaking in tongues. And he said, “No problem. I just wrote something”. He said, “Why don’t you stop by my office and pick it up?”. And again, I thought, “My gosh, this church takes such a personal interest in people. I get to go to Dr. B’s office and pick up this literature.” And I thought maybe learn more about God. I was kind of stunned. And so that afternoon in December, I went up to his office and all kind of by itself……….

      It still contradicts what her blog says about how the relationship started. Nowhere in her blog does she say the first time she met with DrB – that he violently assaulted her, at Wheaton College. She never mentions Wheaton College ever in her blog That’s a pretty big detail to leave out.

      Of course they are going to say they believe her, are you kidding me? Look what happened with the BH situation.

      1. So it sound like you think Dr. B had an office at both Willow and Wheaton. I wonder if anyone can provide information on whether or not he had an office at Willow.

        1. Neal Roy’s, Dr B did not have his own office at Willow. He would sometimes use the elde’s office on the third floor at Willow. Nowhere does Ann state that any of her details took place at Wheaton college, not in her blog and not on the podcast. She said that day they met in his office on third floor and then he later groped her and shoved his tongue down her throat and skipped down the stairs, she said this all took place in the hallway of the church on the same day! Which is it Ann? When one’s story and details change, and also do not factually match up, we must question the credibility of an accuser such as this. Willow royally messed up by not first believing the Hybels’ victims and it is quite obvious that everyone is being far too quick to believe Ann’s story due to former mistakes. This is unbearable to watch, everyone needs to wake up and consider if the details Ann is giving are correct. From what I understand, the other victims currently speaking up are former Wheaton College students.

          1. Ann simply says Dr. B invited her to his office in the podcast. She doesn’t say the office was at Willow Creek. And she doesn’t say the meeting took place the same evening as the Willow Creek service. What she does say is that when she got to his office, Dr. B was speaking with three college men. That indicates that Dr. B’s office was at Wheaton College, not at Willow Creek. Plus, she says her meeting at Dr. B’s office was in the afternoon, not in the evening after a midweek service.

            Ann also interviewed with me separately before the podcast. And in that interview, she very clearly stated that the meeting in Dr. B’s office was at Wheaton. Your accusations do not hold water.

  14. Sally, your manipulative, accusing drama queen relative sounds like my victim Narcissist mid-range sister.
    See HG Tudor’s work at narcsite.com to better understand.
    Tudor is a Narcissist sociopath and knows his kind inside out.

    Ann’s story, by contrast, sounds like it has the hallmarks of a Narcissist selecting a target, grooming her ‘love-bombing’, and she was stuck in a situation with a power imbalance.
    She was a prime target, and Ns sniff out vulnerability that they can exploit very quickly.
    The rushing of intimacy, and physical contact produces a chemical bond in the victim’s brain. It’s confusing and can create feelings of love, guilt, obligation and then fear.
    The Narcissist predator is self-serving and feels great pleasure finding a new love-interest/target. They power-trip on your emotional responses. They thrive on schadenfreude, and they quickly become bored and their real persona is seen: the nasty, antagonistic, critical, cruel, unempathetic, shallow and selfish selves.
    Ann’s description of Dr B’s skipping and happy euphoria is a recognised state in the N. Tudor states that when they secure a new love-interest, they become infatuated.
    I hear nothing in Ann’s story and in the context of the sickening utter failure to handle the whole Hybels and Dr B situation appropriately that would make me doubt her veracity.

    The trauma bond is real.
    The victim of the Narcissist is in survival mode. It isn’t a level playing field ever. The Narcissist is always running the show.

    Narcissistic abuse is alive and well in the church.

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