Ravi Zacharias

Betrayed Trust, Part Two: Woman Accused in Sexting Scandal Claims Ravi Zacharias Groomed & Exploited Her

By Julie Roys

 “It would be near impossible that this was the first time that R has fallen in this capacity for the first time at seventy years old; it will not be the last, no matter how much he defends otherwise.

 “I am coming forward with this information . . . To honour God by telling the truth and doing justice. Silence only helps the perpetrators, never the victims.”

So wrote Lori Anne Thompson about Ravi Zacharias in a letter dated December 27, 2016, which was obtained by The Roys Report last week.

Thompson is the Canadian woman accused by Zacharias in 2017 of sending “unwanted” nude pictures to the late apologist in an attempt to extort him. (Zacharias died on May 19, 2020.)

Yet according to the letter, the nude photos were not only wanted by Zacharias; they were invited. And they were the culmination of months of emails, phone calls, gifts, and other advances by a man who “sensed” Thompson’s “deficit and used it to his own end.

As reported in Part One of this series, both Thompson and her husband, Brad, signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with Zacharias in 2017. And even though Zacharias reportedly broke that agreement, the Thompsons have not spoken publicly because of the NDA. The Thompsons told me earlier this year that they feared if they broke the NDA, Zacharias (and now his heirs) might sue them.

However, Lori Anne’s 2016 letter was written and sent by the Thompsons to third parties before the Thompsons signed the NDA with Zacharias. Brad Thompson also reportedly wrote and sent a letter at the same time, which was given to me in a single PDF document with Lori Anne’s letter.

The third parties never published the letters and the letters have remained secret until now.  

Last week, the letters came to me through a trusted source and I have confirmed their authenticity with the Thompsons’ counselors, Jerry and Denise Basel, who also have a copy of the letters.

I sent the letters to RZIM for comment last week, but RZIM has not responded.

The Roys Report also has obtained numerous documents corroborating the narrative in the Thompsons’ letters. These include Lori Anne Thompson’s cell phone records, showing numerous calls to and from Zacharias, as well as shipping receipts of gifts from Zacharias to Lori Anne.

The documents were sent to me by Lori Anne’s sister, Tamara Battiste, a former missionary and critical care nurse in North Carolina. Battiste said Thompson gave her the documents four years ago in case something happened to Thompson.

Battiste said she is releasing the documents now “because I want to see my sister freed from the shame and the torment of being painted as the perpetrator in this scenario. It’s time.”

On May 21, 2020—two days after Zacharias’ death—Thompson posted a video to her blog, pleading with the Zacharias family to release her from her NDA. Thompson said she signed the NDA “under excruciating circumstances” and that she and her husband “have nothing that we do not wish disclosed.”

Thompson said to date, she has received no response from the Zacharias family to her request.

The Early Stages

The Thompsons wrote in their letters that they met Zacharias at a businessman’s luncheon in 2014 where Zacharias spoke.

Brad Thompson said he had sponsored a table at the luncheon, adding that Zacharias was “a hero” to him, and he “was very proud” to have a picture taken with Zacharias between him and his wife at the event.

Lori Anne wrote that at the meeting, Zacharias suggested the three stay in touch and directed his assistant to get the Thompson’s contact information and give them his.

This led to subsequent email correspondence, which Lori Anne wrote was intermittent at first. She added that the emails between her and Zacharias initially included Brad. Zacharias asked both of them about their stories, she wrote, but “Brad is not much for communication and did not ever follow through with (Zacharias’) interest.”

Lori Anne, on the other hand, wrote that she slowly began sharing her life with Zacharias. This included stories about her childhood and the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse she had suffered at the hands of her father.

As a result of the abuse, Thompson wrote she had “one place where heartache has reigned, where the past has constantly crept into the present to haunt, hunt and deeply hurt. I have longed to be loved like someone’s daughter. It is safe to say that my daughterhood and my body have always been literally and figuratively up for grabs.”

Over time, Thompson wrote that she and Zacharias, who’s more than 30 years her senior, developed a relationship “in which I felt honoured and delighted in. This was nourishment to a very deep place in me. . . . I trusted him, his experience was vast, his opinion important, his favour and friendship an unspeakable gift to me.” 

In June of 2015, Thompson wrote that Zacharias invited her and Brad to join him at a fundraising event in Toronto. The night before, she wrote that the couple ate dinner with Zacharias and his wife. “It seemed that our friendship was flourishing,” Thompson wrote. (Zacharias mentioned this dinner in his 2017 statement to Christianity Today, but said the dinner was after the event, not before.)

“Shift to Secrecy”

In her letter, Thompson said that she couldn’t imagine why someone like Zacharias would be taking such an interest in her. She wrote that she emailed Zacharias in October 2015, asking him what he was getting out of the relationship.

The letter states that in his response, which Zacharias asked Thompson to keep confidential, Zacharias divulged that his marriage was “more of a business partnership” and that “he was profoundly alone.” Thompson wrote that Zacharias added that her “emails were a connection and a kindness that he enjoyed immensely.”

At that point, Thompson wrote that she felt a “shift to secrecy” and didn’t share Zacharias’ email with her husband.

In January of 2016, Lori Anne wrote that Zacharias professed his love for her during a phone call. (In Zacharias’ lawsuit against the Thompsons, Zacharias claims that Lori Anne expressed her love for Zacharias “and then began making sexually suggestive statements.”)

“I couldn’t believe what I had heard . . .” Thompson writes. “I distinctly remember thinking—I wanted you to love me like a daughter.” Yet Thompson said she didn’t reject Zacharias. “To reject him would be to destroy the intimate fatherly friendship we had, the one I had longed for my whole life. I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t.”

Thompson said Zacharias requested that she begin using a BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app for iPhone to communicate with him for “his safety and protection.” Calls initiated from the BBM app are not traceable.

According to cell phone records Thompson’s sister, Tamara Battiste, sent to me, Zacharias called Thompson twice from his cell phone in February 2016. (A separate, independent background check on Zacharias confirmed the cell phone number belonged to him.)

It also shows an outgoing call from Thompson to Zacharias’ cell phone on February 10. That call was at 11:34 a.m. and lasted 7 minutes. At 11:41 a.m.—immediately after the previous call ended—Thompson received a call noted in the call records as “INCOMING ZZ,” which lasted 35 minutes.

Thompson’s sister, Tamara Battiste, claimed that all calls designated “INCOMING ZZ” were from Zacharias’ encrypted BlackBerry. She said often these calls would be requests to contact Zacharias through the BBM app on Thompson’s phone.

I called Thompson’s cell phone company, Telus, and asked what the code “INCOMING ZZ” means. A representative said “ZZ” is the code used for incoming calls that are not recognized by Caller ID.

Sexting & Phone Sex

Thompson wrote that Zacharias would ask what she’s wearing when they’d communicate, and Thompson would send him a picture of her with her clothes on. Zacharias called these photos “his vitamins for the day,” she wrote.

According to Thompson’s letter, Zacharias then asked for a photo of her with her jacket off and one in her “night clothes.”

“I stupidly shared that I did not wear night clothes,” Thompson wrote, “which is . . . what led to the first photos being sent without clothes on. Still, I covered up my breast with my arm and hid my pubic area with my legs.”

She said Zacharias also expressed that he wanted to meet in person for “an intimate sexual encounter.” “Since we were ‘in love,’ it would be one time at least, for ‘the heart,’” she recounted.

Thompson wrote that Zacharias called her in March 2016 when her family was in Florida and the two engaged in “sex over the phone.” Thompson wrote that she “was overwhelmed by his words,” adding that she is “terribly ashamed now” about the encounter and finds it the “hardest part to process.”

Thompson’s cell phone records show several, short incoming calls from Zacharias’ cell phone throughout March.

However, there are eight short “INCOMING ZZ” calls to Thompson’s cell phone in Florida from March 16—March 25. There’s also one call from Thompson to Zacharias’ cell phone.

Thompson wrote that she sent the first “full nudes” to Zacharias via BBM on or near the time of his 70th birthday.

“In this circumstance, as in all future times,” she wrote, “pictures flowed one way—from me to him. He acknowledged that it was something that I did for him, that it was not for me and he was very grateful.”

Thompson said Zacharias sent her gifts of two necklaces with crosses on them and two scarves from India around this time.

This is corroborated by a shipment invoice I received dated May 12, 2016, and apparently signed by Zacharias.

 

Thompson’s cell phone records show four incoming calls from Zacharias’ cell phone in April and May, each 17—20 minutes long.

Thompson said after each sexual encounter, “shame washed over me like a tidal wave.” Several times, Thompson said she and Zacharias decided to stop communicating through his BlackBerry Messenger.

Yet she writes: “Each time I deleted the app from my phone only to reload it at his request. This went on for an extended period of time. I was deeply enmeshed with him.”

“Groomed” & Exploited

Near the end of October, 2016, Thompson wrote that she told her sister, who’s a survivor of sexual abuse, about her relationship with Zacharias. Thompson wrote that her sister immediately told Thompson that Zacharias had “groomed” her.

“I rejected this idea wholesale,” Thompson said. “I didn’t even know what grooming was.”

Battiste remembers well when Thompson confided in her and said she was “flabbergasted” when she heard Thompson describe the relationship. She said the relationship seemed very predatory and “wrong on so many levels.”

She said it sounded like the relationship began as more of a parent-child relationship. But after Zacharias confessed his love to Thompson, Battiste said Thompson began to think, “This is what love is. . . . She really wasn’t able to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy,” Battiste said.

A week later, Thompson wrote that she traveled to Georgia for an “intensive” with Christian counselors, Jerry and Denise Basel. During their time together, Thompson wrote that the Basels had her watch a movie called Trust, a film about a teenage girl who is slowly lured into sexual abuse with someone she meets online.

“I watched with unabashed bewilderment; completely recoiled inside,” Thompson wrote. “It was plain to see that it was not her fault. He groomed her.”

While Thompson conceded that she is “old enough to not be innocent in such matters,” she added: “I didn’t even really know what grooming was . . . my father had always been so stupid and so blatant. R on the other hand was so intelligent, inviting, kind and loving. I suppose it doesn’t matter which way you were devoured, whether ripped off in pieces by a stupid illiterate savage, or eloquently eaten by an intellectual; slowly enough to enjoy it.”

“I suppose it doesn’t matter which way you were devoured, whether ripped off in pieces by a stupid illiterate savage, or eloquently eaten by an intellectual; slowly enough to enjoy it.”

Thompson concludes in her letter that Zacharias’ conduct “was at minimum unbecoming of a global Christian leader, at worst it is full on predatory behavior and clergy sexual abuse.”

The Aftermath

Thompson reportedly wrote her letter about two months after she told her husband about the illicit relationship and received emails from Zacharias threatening suicide. (Those were published in Part One of this series.)

Thompson references events in her letter and adds that since then, she and Brad “have been trying to process the betrayal of trust.”

In a separate letter, written on the same day as Lori Anne’s and addressed “To whom it may concern,” Brad talks about his own trauma. He wrote that Lori Ann’s revelations about her and Zacharias were shocking to him, especially given his history with Lori Anne.

He wrote that the couple’s first kiss was at the altar. And in 13 years of marriage, Lori Anne “has been the upmost of sexual purity.”

In the letter, Brad recounts that when Lori Anne told him about her relationship with Zacharias and the nude photos, “I went from wanting to leave my beloved to killing myself.”

He said when he learned that Zacharias first asked for nudes from his wife on his 70th birthday, he wanted to vomit.

“I don’t know what each of you got Ravi for his birthday,” he wrote, “but my wife’s body and soul was on his wish list and she was unable to say no.”

“I don’t know what each of you got Ravi for his birthday but my wife’s body and soul was on his wish list and she was unable to say no.”

Near the end of the letter, Brad states that the cost of meeting Zacharias “has been devastating. For two months our children have watched their parents be destroyed.  Barely able to parent, having to fly out three different times for counselling for days all the while having no idea what happened to their once stable home.  Both Lori Anne and I unsure sometimes if the other will return alive.”

Unlike the emails between Brad and Zacharias in November 2016, which I reported in Part One, this letter, written a month later, does not offer forgiveness to Zacharias. Instead, Brad wrote of feeling rage toward Zacharias.

There’s also an indication in Brad’s letter that Zacharias has moved from pledging to “be a better man” to denying willing participation in the illicit relationship with Lori Ann.

“You can make my wife out to be what ever you want,” Brad writes, “but I and all else who know her would testify to the the (sic) integrity of LA. There is no way she would ever try to lure a seventy year old man who is world famous into an affair. Such a statement would be a desperate attempt to distort the truth.”

Yet this was the argument Zacharias made in his lawsuit eight months later and then in December 2017, published to the world. Part Three examines the evidence on both sides of this claim, which includes documentation never before released.

Below is the email I received containing Lori Anne and Brad Thompson’s stories.

According to the Basels, there is a typo: the date of Lori Anne’s letter was not “2017,” but “2016.” Also, in one place, the letter says, “Sometime in the fall of 2016 R had asked me to send some photos . . .” This appears to be a typo as well and likely should be “2015.”

Lori Ann and Brad’s Story_Redacted
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134 thoughts on “Betrayed Trust, Part Two: Woman Accused in Sexting Scandal Claims Ravi Zacharias Groomed & Exploited Her”

  1. Why are they bringing this out now he’s dead. It’s sickening that we don’t have any godly leaders anymore. This is why America is going to hell Christians are living in sin. God’s judgment is upon us.

      1. Julie,

        I think Barb has a point, we should turn a blind eye and ignore the truth. That seems to be what the Bible calls us to to right? “Oh let those damaged never heal, protect the celebrity Pastor and Church leader, burry the past, ignorance is bliss.” This is somewhere in Psalms I think.

        (sarcasm, for those who seem not to understand my post.)

      2. Thank you, Julie for patiently researching and now offering the details of ‘the sin committed’.
        So-called godly leaders need to be held accountable.
        I pray that those who protected these leaders from being exposed will also be dealt with according God’s high standards. There is grace and forgiveness but the Word also enlightens us concerning accountability for sin.
        So often, leaders caught in sexual sins have it labeled as “a bad choice” for the moment that “they fell”.

    1. “now he’s dead”

      So you need offer Ravi no compassion.

      But the victims of Ravi’s sin are not dead.

      Nor are Ravi’s lies about them, circulated to protect his $40M “ministry”, which is still out there buying and selling for monetary gain.

      1. I’ve been working and studying with RZIM for quite some time and I can tell you that the ministry is not working for monetary gain. I do not seek to defend Ravi or RZIM’s reaction, but I know that the ministry is led by and lived out by many men and women of God.

        Please don’t judge the organization and their ministry only by these incidents.

        Still, Julie, I am very grateful for your investigation and I know RZIM is planning to respond to the incidents you mentioned.

        1. Thank you. I look forward to RZIM’s response. One thing RZIM could do to allay the accusations of monetary gain would be to begin publishing IRS 990 forms again. They haven’t published one since 2015, so no executive salaries are being disclosed. When an organization pulls in $40 million and doesn’t disclose salaries, that’s a red flag. (Actually, not reporting executive salaries is a red flag for any nonprofit imho.)

        2. Thanks for posting here, FREE. But it appears these are not the only incidents by which to evalute your organization.

          Ravi founded his spas–offering Ayurveda and massage–way back in 2009. What was RZIM’s position on this at the time? What is the response now to the allegations of further sexual abuse by Ravi there?

          “According to Hunt, Ravi Zacharias would “fly women in from India” to give him treatment at Jivan. This should have raised a red flag to Hunt and any other onlookers but it apparently it did not. Now, after Ravi’s untimely death and the controversy of his previous sex scandal, Baughman has uncovered new claims of sexual impropriety against Zacharias. According to Ravi’s erstwhile business partner, Anurag Sharma (co-founder of Jivan), the business had to be closed because of the way Ravi treated the women who worked there. Baughman has communicated with masseuses who were formerly in the employ of Zacharias. These women are not willing to come forward publicly and be named, perhaps out of fear or embarrassment, but, according to Baughman, these women claim that Ravi Zacharias sexually molested the help at his spa.”

          [seehttps://pulpitandpen.org/2020/09/10/ravi-zacharias-jivan-spa-and-sexual-abuse-its-time-to-speak-out/]

          Do you really expect Christians to accept the idea that an organization with such a leader is “led by and lived out by many men and women of God”?

    2. There are still godly leaders. They don’t have big fancy buildings or shiny programs. They remain obscure and their churches remain small because people shun them for the flashy mega churches and big name pastors.

      1. I’m having a difficult time believing any of this! What if the woman accusing Ravi is lyjng and out for $5,000,000 and to slander him.

  2. Hate to say it. But. just a reality that every man needs to know and learn. Especially if you are a man in a leadership position.

    If you are having a relationship with a Woman and you are involved in a relationship with another woman you should never under any circumstances expect discretion or expect the relationship to ever be protected. As soon as the woman senses she might be rejected or dismissed or if she thinks she can possibly get some benefit out of it you should expect to be betrayed.

    Dont do it! Seen this over and over and over again. If you are a married man or in a serious relationship with Woman stay away from any other Woman. No matter how much you hide it you will always be in danger.

    1. *Sigh* All those poor men out there… Steppin’ out on their partners only to be backstabbed by those darn, money hungry, broads.

      Give me a break… 😒

      1. Hence the warning. Married Men: Stay away from other Women! If you don’t you are putting yourself in danger. Possibly mortal danger. This warning can also apply to even single men. Seen a lot of single men punished just for seeking a relationship with a woman. Just a simple truth.

        1. if men were as self-involved & self-important as you present yourself, it would be in women’s best interest to avoid all of them. Thankfully, this is not the case and there are as many good men as there are good women.

    2. WHAT??? You don’t get in a relationship with a woman other than your wife because it is a sin, it hurts the church body, and God tells you NOT to do that!! Your reasoning is, don’t do it because you will get caught. That exposes a heart that is still all about self! Where is your love and care for your sisters in Christ? What about protect and do not ever harm those you lead or serve with?
      Your post is so discouraging. You blame the man’s sin being revealed on the vengeance of a woman scorned, like he is an innocent being betrayed! What about the abuse of power and lechery of the man in LEADERSHIP. I pray your eyes will be opened to the brokenness of the motivation for faithfulness you espouse and the blame you lay at the women’s feet.
      Don’t be unfaithful because you grief God and it’s sin, not don’t be unfaithful because the woman will tell( and then you assign the women’s motivations for telling for her benefit or revenge) and she will bring you down! Could it be the conviction of sin and the desire to expose the truth and protect others are the motivations? “Telling” comes with great cost. Just read what people are saying about those who dare to tell.
      May God give you a new heart for your heart of stone. Your response to this situation is why men in power in the church can be so terribly unsafe for their sisters in Christ. I am keeping my distance from men in Christian leadership. So many have failed their sisters. So many are unsafe and only “good” because apparently, we might tell on them. God help us. Praying….

      1. Thank you for the rebuke. Appreciate it. Really do. At the same time made myself very clear. If you are a married man or in a committed relationship to a Woman advice is very clear. Don’t get involved with another woman. If you do you are endangering yourself and others. Including Church and your Christian testimony. Seen it over and over and over again. The woman scorned or who plays 2nd fiddle will oppose you if and when she sees an opportunity. It is a fair warning. Dont see why you have a problem with it. Pretty sure the Bible advises the same.

          1. Vance, as for your question. Really hone of your business. But, in any case, Yes. Your comment also made me think of something else. In the secular world of the younger generation of men their are quite an interesting amount of social media discussion of men (Who are accepting a non Christian philosophy) called MGTOW. I don’t agree with all of their points and sometimes find it abhorrent. But, those who promote it I find to give very good and proven points. Reality is I have seen a lot of single men accused of inappropriate behavior and punished simply for asking a woman for a date or some form of attention. Little alone married men involved in extra marital relationships. You go ahead Vance. Accept everything a woman says to be given credibility. I am going to be skeptical and see if their are ulterior motives. From my experience they are often found.

      2. A lot of this comes from not looking to Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith. Why did this woman trust in Ravi Zacharias instead of Jesus? Her most intimate friend should be Jesus, not any man or woman. It sounds like she didn’t have a very strong faith, or wasn’t grounded in the bible to know right from wrong. But she was lured and enticed by her own desires with resulting adultery with her own husband and this leader. She also needs to repent and be cleansed and healed. The Lord was giving her the shame to get her to stop it. But she wouldn’t.

        I don’t know if the whole story is a scam or if true. If I was her and this is true, I wouldn’t want $5,000,000 hush money from RZIM, but would want the truth to come out. Isn’t our reputation more precious than fine gold? Why didn’t they follow the biblical model of going to a person to get it right, If he won’t listen get wise counselors to confront the person. if not that, expose it to the whole church or organization, to get him to repent and be cleansed. Slander is also a sin and she can’t just rely on her own word or doctored evidence. If she has tried all this and RZIM still puts her off, God will move in and they will suffer God’s wrath, either in this world or the world to come. Paul said 1 Timothy 3:7 (An overseer) “should have a good reputation with outsiders so he won’t fall into disgrace and into the snare of the devil.”

        We are all tempted by our own desires and tried by the evil one until Jesus returns. There is no one righteous except Him. We need to heal, and be cleansed and let Him save us from our sins.

    3. How about telling men that for the sake of honoring the person they are in an intimate relationship with, they should avoid having an affair?

      It’s pure entitlement for a person to think they deserve to be able to have an affair no one finds out about. It’s also pretty selfish for the hurt to yourself to be the only motivator to act right.

    4. Dirk, your statement is not responsive to Scripture and is devoid of anything recognizable as Christian moral values.

      Christians “don’t do it” out of love and loyalty for Christ, his church, and our loved ones, not because we’re afraid of getting caught.

      1. Pretty sure the bible stories involving King David make it clear. And in the New Testament. “Run, flee” refer to sexual sin. Also heard many a Preachers tell men and boys warnings that sexual sin is extremely difficult to hide forever.

    5. Dirk,

      The only solution to this problem is to have woman cover themselves from head to toe and fully separate them from society at large. If we do that peace and harmony would reign. It’s the women that’s the problem, mainly their ankles, too much ankle these days, and uncovered toes, painted with nail polish. It all starts there.

      (I’m mocking Dirk, this is sarcasm, save your wrath for him.)

    6. Alternatively, married men should never conduct themselves with another woman in a way that requires discretion. All speech and actions directed towards another woman should be such that if your wife were present, there would be nothing to be ashamed of.

    7. I think wandering men have more to fear than being exposed by men. How about the one true Judge that you have to give account for “on the day of wrath?” “Through the fear of the Lord men depart from evil” Prov 16:6

  3. Julie,

    I have been a long time reader of your blog and ministry at Moody Bible. I bleed Moody blue, as I graduated from there. Thank you for doing the work of Ephesians 5:11, “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

    I do have a question for you. I have been following this case and understand how heart wrenching it can be to see all of this unfold. My question in no way diminishes what the Thompson are alleging. I saw that they sent a demand letter for 5 million dollars threatening a lawsuit. They also attempted to sue another pastor for 1 million dollars in 2011 but it failed. Will you be dealing with this in these allegations? These actions cause me to question what is being told.

    Ravi has been a huge blessing to my walk with Christ for over a decade now. But, like any of us, we can fall quickly. I appreciate your ministry as the church needs to do a better job of policing ourselves and striving after the holiness without which we will never see God.

      1. I agree with Lea’s thankfulness in the way Mark asked that question. I too have had the same concern, reservations and questions.

    1. Ravi misrepresented that situation with the church in his CT statement and made them out greedy types.

      It was a lawsuit to recover money. It’s in the local newspapers and fully documented on Thompson’s website.

  4. Even before reading this post, I always disbelieved RZ’s half-baked explanation about LA sending “unwanted” nudes.
    If she really did such a thing, why didn’t he immediately tell his wife, notify a trusted board member, or change his phone number. In short there were a million ways to take action against something “unwanted.” The fact he didn’t never made any sense. Let’s not forget the suicide email, either.
    The truth is, RZ did want the photos and solicited them for his evil desires.
    Lori Anne, I have believed you from the beginning and am so sorry about what he did to you. And, what his family and ministry continue to do by perpetuating his lies, no independent investigation forthcoming, and not releasing you from the NDA.
    I can’t imagine what this is costing you personally and am amazed equally at your strength and vulnerability. ❤️

  5. Not big on “famous celebrity” Christians. I could share lots of stories of lots of them as I got out of circles many years ago. Bottom line is people are people.

    1. The fact is many people have very high personal standards of integrity, at their own personal cost. As it turns out, christians are outshined by those of other faiths or no faith.

  6. Having researched sexual abuse in evangelical circles beginning while I was a seminary student at TEDS in 1984 (!!), it gives me no joy to say that much of what Julie Is so capably and necessarily documenting here I can affirm from my own research, counseling experience, and interaction with the Thompsons

  7. Is there no more integrity or purity or holiness or anything Christ-like left in God’s house? I can’t even begin to describe what I’m felling right now.

    1. Sams, this may sound like a cliche, but you really have to be focused on Jesus and how he treated women and children. He is the supreme example of how we are to love others. The Evangelical media/power machine is not of Christ or His Church, and it is getting exposed. Take Heart and Keep the Faith.

    2. I know how you feel, Sams. But the Lord rested on my heart while reading this and brought to memory of King David (I am not defending predators so hear me out)
      Jesus knows our very beings inside and out, and still He loves us. He had His own lineage linked to an adulterer and murderer, and still He called King David “one after His own heart”. Please remember Jesus is the judge and sees all. No one is holy but Christ, and this is horrible IF true (I say if because I’d like to read the third part once it comes out) but let’s remember God is still good.

    3. Thank you Julie, Lori Anne, Brad, and everyone else who played a part in bringing Ravi’s abuses to light. Calling his actions “sin” and “adultery,” as many people are saying in the comments, doesn’t begin to cover it. Are sexual predation sinful and adulterous? Yes, but let’s name the sin accurately. This was sexual predation and emotional manipulation of the worst kind. As horrifying as every part of this was to read, I somehow come away most disturbed by two things: RZ’s sudden switch from threatening suicide (manipulation) when Lori Anne said she was telling her husband to his pious public persona after being emailed by her counselors, and RZ casting Lori Anne, his victim, as the predator. I am disgusted that anyone sees this as anything other than what it so clearly is: a case of a powerful man wielding his power to abuse a woman who saw him as a father, then trashing her reputation to avoid telling the truth about what he did to her. I would put money on RZ having had narcissistic personality disorder; every choice he made in the course of their interactions was classic narcissistic behavior. Lori Anne had the misfortune of crossing paths with a predator, and the predator did what predators do. He devoured. To call RZ a man of God is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

    4. I’ve been in at least 7 different churches during my faith lifetime of almost 50 years. (7 churches due to changes of location). Of those 7, only one fell apart because of an adulterous pastor. The leadership just didn’t want to deal with him or the problem. He continued this way of ministry until he finally was dealt with by a very assertive church leadership board. One church had a pastor who had an affair, and they lovingly terminated him (under discipline) because he was unrepentant. That church still goes on strong. The other churches are doing well and have had loving, caring pastors who appear to have no issues with flagrant public sexual sin. I still trust my pastor, and I also understand that they are human and open to the same temptations as anyone else. That’s why I pray for them more than I every have.

  8. “While Thompson conceded that she is “old enough to not be innocent in such matters….” No question that Ravi was wrong in his requests (which I accept happened), but Mrs. Thompson should have hung up on him right there and then. Secondly, I’m concerned that this happened to another spiritual leader and Mrs.Thompson. At the very least, she is a very troubled person. What’s coming next?

      1. “At that point, Thompson wrote that she felt a “shift to secrecy” and didn’t share Zacharias’ email with her husband.” Interesting that this grown and mature woman did not inform her husband of the uncomfortable emails, this is suspect. She is not the innocent victim she is portraying herself.

        1. …and another one misses the point.

          G7, she clearly is not claiming innocence. RZ exploited her and then silenced her and lied to protect himself, knowing she would remain silenced.

        1. I always wondered what the Pharisees were really like with their condemnation, judgement, circling their wagons to protect their own. Thanks G7, Peter, and many others on this thread, you have answered my question.

    1. I would recommend that you take some time to learn about grooming. A sexual predator studies their mark and learns their vulnerabilities. As a child, Lori Anne had been the victim of heinous sexual abuse by her father. She revealed this to Ravi, looking to him to be the godly the father figure she had been deprived of. Ravi used this knowledge to break down her defenses and to use her for his own perverse gratification.
      Lori has never once denied her part in this. She owns her sin and has made a full confession.
      Ravi should have been held to account and urged to repent while living.

  9. Two days after he died though? No time for mourning? That’s part of what makes me question these people. But it’s probably more complicated than this. There doesn’t have to be one bad guy and one good guy. There can be two bad guys. But hey, could someone explain something to me? If I had done what RZ was accused of doing, I wouldn’t want anyone violating the NDA. It doesn’t make sense that RZ would want to break it. Unless someone else had already violated it and he felt like he ought to get out in front of the story. For better or for worse, I’m just speaking from a practical standpoint and not an ethical one. Does that make sense? I might be missing a piece of the puzzle.

    1. “It doesn’t make sense that RZ would want to break it.”

      No, it doesn’t. But RZ’s actions in this case and others indicate that he saw himself as above accountability.
      I mean, really. What Christian author opens massage parlors and expects to get away with it?

      People who are convinced that they will experience no consequences rarely act in a way that others would recognize as logical.

    2. The point regarding the supposed ‘breaking’ of the NDA by Ravi Z is that his 2017 press-release in which he made a defense of his conduct and imputed ill-motive to the complainants, infringed on the scope of that agreement. There is no way to verify what the strictures of that agreement actually are.

      It makes complete sense that a party to an NDA would sign, and then put out a statement that supported their version of events and cast doubt on the other party. This happens all of the time, its simple PR strategy and frankly, it works, especially when there is an imbalance of power between the parties. The recourse here is merely civil and the balance of power is firmly on the side of RZIM and the late Ravi Z, making further litigation a massive risk for the complainants.

  10. Like many I have mixed feelings on the necessity of this being made public after RZ death. But, if the victim was my wife or sister I’m sure I’d feel very different. Just bad for everyone involved. Bigger question, like LU/Falwell, is concerning the RZIM board and what/when they knew and what involvement did RZIM resources become a part of this “NDA” settlement? Is the ministry trustworthy moving forward? This and RZ “spa business” in GA adds to this terrible saga.

    1. Tim, I’ll explain.

      imagine being exploited by a famous christian celebrity, he then silences you, and he then lies about it all blaming you, knowing you would remain silenced.

      Imagine such a person reaps lavish praise and extravagant financial support wherever he goes by the entire christian culture. You are a part of this christian culture, and observe how your fellows do this, and how they either easily believed Ravi’s lies about you or simply don’t care.

      Over time, you hoped he would do right, and retract his statements about you and be truthful, at the very least, if not remove the NDA so you could explain & represent yourself in the matter.

      He dies. He can no longer make this right. You are consigned to being tarnished in the public eye because of his lies. He dies a hero of the faith.

      I’m expecting you to summon your powers of empathy and imagination to put yourself in her shoes.

  11. I was long divided between finding RZ’s speeches and books unconvincing (I know convincing and unconvincing Anglo-Indians and theology alike) and dismissing him as yet another boring muddier of waters. It’s such a shame his erstwhile employees feel trapped into this. I likewise have a bad feeling about the rag of the famous Galli (CT) and the obvious insinuations by his staff around the RZ question, and the unbalanced “wikipedia” article as it currently stands.

  12. “We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of GOD,” Romans 3:23. I know that I am nobody to judge anyone else. Brother Ravi Zacharias is face to face with our LORD and Savior. He may have done the things Lori Anne Thompson accuses him of doing. However, we should all be very careful of casting aspersions. Ravi’s own words about “throwing mud only clouds the waters,” while also reminding that “if we cut off a person’s nose they will not be able to smell the rose.” I never heard him say anything that belittled another person. Ravi was no James McDonald. He was a true worker for JESUS. Even Paul reminded us that we do things we hate because of our sin nature. Ravi was a sinner, and he never shied away from that truth. I am in no way dismissing Ravi’s behavior, if he indeed did what he is accused of, but I need to look in the mirror and reflect on the woeful wretch I am before I throw stones. There are wonderful brothers and sisters working right now for the LORD at RZIM, like Michael Ramsden, John Lenox and Abdu Murrey. There are very few ministries that are going onto College campuses and speaking the truth to those confused young adults. Not to mention their work in the Muslim and Buddhist areas of the world. I pray they continue to keep witnessing the Gospel to our hurting broken world and that everyone on this thread will pray for them and Lori Anne, also. GOD bless you all.

    1. the consequences of some sin is far more damaging than others… particularly when it’s a leader in a public position… that’s why God uses strong language that the sins of leaders are meant to be made public as a WARNING for others (I Tim 5:20)…

      the Church has refused to expose leaders’ deeds of darkness in the past in most cases, under the deceptive pious sounding rationale of “protecting the reputation of Jesus”… when they are in fact protecting the leaders and the institution at the expense of the vulnerable, weak, abused, etc… the very OPPOSITE of scripture’s principles!

    2. If the RZIM leadership is godly, as you say, I suppose they will have no problem with an independent investigation. Remember, this is an organization that brings in millions per year.

  13. https://www.thebanner.org/news/2011/05/ontario-classis-asks-church-to-depose-pastor

    It appears from comments i the church and its denomination had a number of troubles (like I lived through) ii the Thompsons’ case was brought on a lawyer’s advice and then dropped on a lawyers’s advice. Rev Visser is partly the victim of his erratic denominational organisation. What was RZ (who is big enough to check everybody out in advance) doing not keeping his own side in the loop? And why weren’t others mentoring him throughout his career?

  14. I am an ex-evangelical (NOT ex-Christian) with both a ministry and legal background.

    I have been following the development of this fact pattern for the last two years with occasional interest. Ravi Z was a personal hero to me for years, I once went to hear him lecture at a university and took my youth volunteers along. I did not believe this could be true when I first reviewed Baughman’s initial work, a few gaps remained for me (not a deficiency of Baughman’s work).

    The recent work by Ms. Roys has ‘connected the dots’ with respect to the larger narrative, providing adequate basis for motive and further detail regarding the time-frame, something that has puzzled me since looking into all of this. Moreover, we now have substantive corroborative evidence and a recounting of events that has remained consistent from the point of initial coming forward by the complainant(s).

    It is entirely reasonable to conclude that the complainant’s have made a prima facie case that now (as it likely did since the beginning) deserves good faith engagement from RZIM. Moreover, those who support RZIM should grasp that, on the balance of probabilities, this deserves scrutiny. It is your responsibility, as a RZIM supporter to come to terms with this and recommend that RZIM engage through the proper channels with the individuals involved.

    It seems that RZIM needs to launch a full-scale investigation and engage in a transparent communication campaign if they have any hope of surviving.

  15. This is just a tough to read. Thank you. I know my own sin in this area. I can say that before temptation gave way to sin, I knew myself week and confessed it. None of my circle of friends had wisdom for me. I think of the counseling later, after the devastation and deeply regret not seeking it more tenaciously, shrewdly prior. In my own small way, I did not know how to be weak. Whatever work God had begun I clung to my testimony far more than my continued need for Him to continue to complete His work in me. My fall seemed to me wholly “out of the blue” and yet “completely to be expected.” In relationships, we are simultaneously revealed in our weakness and vulnerability and have the ability to restore or estrange each other. God, is to whom we need to return time and again. I see so much of our disappointments in each other in this tough read. I see responses and analysis. The “grooming” the lack of perspective and awareness of abuse. The predator and the victim. We are all. Ravi may have been estranged from his own wife. It is his burden and hers they did not work out. Thompson and her husband are now also needing to do the same, again, in the aftermath, not prior. Yes, King David comes to mind. My wife hates that story… I cling to God’s love of him in the aftermath. Look to God. Repent each of us and cherish and nurture the relationships with which He has blessed us.

  16. In James 1:13-15 God says ” When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

    Both of them willingly participated in these sinful transactions. That means that both have to confess their sins and repent. 1 John 1:8-10 and James 3:1

    1. Jacob VH, Lori Anne did confess and repent. There is nothing for her to do now but to rest in Christ’s atoning work. She is forgiven, washed clean, covered in His righteousness.

  17. Julie, I just discovered your site today. THANK YOU for doing this difficult and important work. I can only imagine how stressful it must be to research and write these stories. But the church and the world so desperately need for people in power (in this case, religious power) to be held accountable for how they use it. The more harmful the abuse of power, the more crucial the accountability. And this was clearly so harmful. Thank you again.

  18. “At that point, Thompson wrote that she felt a “shift to secrecy” and didn’t share Zacharias’ email with her husband.” Interesting that this grown and mature woman did not inform her husband of the uncomfortable emails, this is suspect. She is not the innocent victim she is portraying herself.

    1. Interesting that this elderly Christian celebrity did not inform his wife of the uncomfortable emails, this is suspect.
      Ravi was not the committed Christian leader he portrayed himself to be.

      “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” James 3:1

  19. Eric,
    Are you really so sure that this guy is “face to face with our Lord.”
    Adultery, lies, gas lighting this woman, narcissistic, non repentant? Really!
    “I think Jesus would say, “Depart from me I never knew you”
    I know so many woman that have suffered at the hands of people like Zacharias. To afraid to speak up. Must be a Godly woman and just take it.
    My friends who stayed in abusive marriages because it was the Fundamental thing to do. Suffered so badly. I think its time to bring these evil doers out in to the open. I thank Julie for taking the time to do this. Though these stories are hard to read an I find my spirit just sobs.,I am glad there is finally a place to tell them. I am 68 years old. When I was 12, the youth minister of my church got caught with another woman. But I was to young to understand. Then the next church, the pastor was caught watching porn on Church bushiness. The nest church had a famous person that made a popular christian movie and ended up attacking my best friend. We were talking about it tonight. She is 74 now. This was 45 years ago and we still talk about the damage.From there we went to a John Mac Arthur spin off church where we were drilled to see if we were really chosen and there have been 3 times people have left that church over the years. . We left in 1987 when our friend heard the pastor over the intercalm telling one of the pastors, his wife was to fat and they needed to dress better. He dropped dead a year or so later. They were later coined the frozen Chosen. Then to another church where there was a ponzi scheme going on, another church were the person running the sound was drunk every week, to another church where we were told we could not join because I wore pants and refused to wear a skirt and put my hair up like a puff! Then to the big Willow Creek where we know now has gone down and I was really sarcastic having a dinner and a show.
    These pastors have gotten away with to much for to long. I hope every woman who has suffered finds healing. Their voices are finally starting to be heard. I praise the Lord for that.
    Nance

  20. Thank you, Julie for your excellent reporting as usual and on the heels of the Pulpit and Pen piece.

    All I can say is “it takes two to tango” and “tangle” they did. Seems to me she was a little more than just a willing participant (but he who is without sin, cast the first stone). Back when this story first broke, I so much wanted to give Ravi the benefit of the doubt, but at the same time remained stunned and disillusioned by the allegations against this man of God and spiritual giant who, for years, I listened to regularly (Let My People Think) and held up on a pedestal. I must admit “the rest of the story” was cringe worthy and painfully embarrassing to read . . . at times ridiculously pathetic, if you will. Feel like I need a bath now. I’m just numb.

    Two things: rediscovered an old Ricky Nelson tune and checked out The Lunchbox trailer.

    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

    We’re living in times of the Great Apostasy, indeed (on so many levels).

    May a Holy God have Mercy on us all!

    p.s. my sincere, heartfelt prayers go out to Margie and family. . .

  21. Pardon me again. I see RZ’s mother was rejected by the Nambudiri Brahmins after being influenced by Swiss-Germans. His dad was from another region. RZ studied at the Trinity International University which is of Scandinavian “radical pietist” heritage and where Jeffrey Steenson also went. (I too am from a mixture.) He evidently had a flair for evangelism but Billy Graham probably diverted him too much into the moralising mould and detaching from churches, or into churches as institutions without charisms. I see his firm now has lots of offshoots and I’m going to follow them up. There is probably enough good in RZ’s books, especially earlier ones, on some subjects. RZ, the Thompsons, and Rev Visser and his parishioners, like me and commenters above, and countless people I knew in my last five churches, are serial victims of “set ups” and a cynical model offered to us by our “betters” for “having made it” rather than being adopted by a truer church model like the gifted widowed orphans we are. A nihilistic oriental atmosphere that on bad days spread through Rome to the Teutons fits the “christian industrial” or “sodality” model well – contrivings / connivings and not friendship or mentoring in fruitful works. Holy Trinity = room for the other other to gain their crown in turn. It’s ordinary disconnected folks like us that will have bright ideas (based on Holy Scripture and Holy Spirit both).

  22. Eph 6:12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers
    and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world,
    and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

    I’m not taking sides, one way or the other as I do not see that it serves any purpose. What I am saying is that, while we rightfully point out Lori Ann’s fragility and the terrible events of her life that led to the place where she was so vulnerable. I hope & pray that God heals her & she comes out of all this stronger emotionally & spiritually.

    What I don’t see is anyone talking about events of his life that led Ravi to the place in his life where he felt the need to do things like this to others.

    As I recently heard (can’t remember the source), the pornographers, abortionists, homosexual rights activists, etc. are not the enemy. They are the victims of our enemy. Our fight is not with them but with the powers of evil.

  23. Julie, thanks for your unbias investigating reporting. There are many lessons that we can learn from Ravi’s sinful behavior even in his passing. 1. Your sins will find you out no matter how you try to hide it, cover it up or spin the facts. 2. He chose to sin for a season(s) and leaves a lasting stench on Christianity, his name, reputation, family, legacy, ministry and organization. 3. It is a continue lesson not to repeat the sins of the past. The folly of Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert and others from the 80s should have been learnt by now. They have cause more harm than good in the name of Christ. 4. Elders, deacons, boards and trustees are responsible to hold these leaders accountable for their behavior and actions. (see Willow, Harvest, et ot. ) 5. Ministry funds are to be used properly to further the kingdom; not for legal fees and settlements. Thus withhold financial support until their house is clean and in order. 6. Christian ministries is not a family business as all three children are on staff in leadership positions

  24. We might infer here that if a ministry does not check up on its leaders, someone else will, and the fallout from that can be horrific. Let’s face facts; nobody put a gun to anyone’s head and told RZIM not to look into his transcripts like any responsible employer. Nobody threatened anyone to persuade them not to look into the details of the massage parlors. Nobody forced them to shove things under the carpet with the Thompsons. Nobody told them that they couldn’t walk back false claims about Ravi’s CV.

    But they did, and now it’s all coming to a head in the worst possible way. Let’s take a lesson from this.

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