Ravi Zacharias RZIM
Ravi Zacharias speaks to students at the Zacharias Institute in Alpharetta, Georgia, in July 2018. (Photo by Gary S. Chapman)

RZIM Donors Fight to Get Records Showing if Their Money Financed Abuse

By Sarah Einselen

Donors to Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) say their money financed Ravi Zacharias’ predatory sexual misconduct. And they’re asking a Georgia court to force RZIM to turn over years of financial records to prove it.

Ravi Zacharias, who died in 2020, was known worldwide as a Christian apologist. However, his pattern of abusive and predatory behavior since at least the mid-2000s came to light starting in 2017. A third-party investigation is reportedly underway examining how RZIM’s culture, policies and practices permitted Zacharias’s misconduct to go on for so long.

In August, some RZIM donors, including an NFL player, filed suit in federal court alleging the organization misled them into thinking their donations were going to further “Christian evangelism, apologetic defense of Christianity, and humanitarian efforts.”

Instead, they said in the lawsuit, Zacharias “used his ministry and RZIM funds to perpetrate sexual and spiritual abuse against women.”

Two of the donors, Derek and Dora Carrier of Nevada, gave $30,000 to RZIM in January 2020. Derek Carrier has played for the Las Vegas Raiders football team since 2018.

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The donors are seeking class action status for their suit, Christianity Today reported. And in a hearing Monday, they argued for quick access to records of donations RZIM has received since 2004 and how those funds were used.

The donors’ attorneys wrote in their motion for expedited discovery that they needed RZIM and Zacharias’s estate to turn over the requested documents within two weeks because of their “use, and continued misuse, of Plaintiffs’ donated funds, obtained by deceit, for the purpose of managing the fallout from their wrongful conduct. . .”

Attorneys for the donors also said there’s a “substantial likelihood” that RZIM would “engage in deceitful maneuvers” to shrink the value of the organization’s assets so donors wouldn’t get their donations refunded.

RZIM CEO Sarah Davis reportedly told the court that it would likely cost more than $100,000 to meet the plaintiffs’ demands and would probably require the ministry to bring in more accountants.

A federal judge on Monday denied the donors’ motion for expedited discovery and declined to order RZIM and Zacharias’s estate to turn over the documents that quickly.

However, Christianity Today reported the donors’ attorneys are expected to again argue for access to the records as the case moves forward.

For their part, RZIM’s attorneys have asked the court to dismiss the case, saying Zacharias’s abuse didn’t harm the donors.

Zacharias founded RZIM in 1984. In 2019, the organization received more than $35 million in contributions and had about $38.6 million in assets, according to MinistryWatch.

The records beginning in 2004 would coincide with Zacharias’s ownership of two day spas where he sexually harassed multiple employees.

An investigation RZIM paid for found that Zacharias raped a female massage therapist and sexually molested several others. After those findings, RZIM suspended fundraising and commissioned an investigation by Guidepost Solutions into its organizational culture and practices.

RZIM has provided no update on that investigation since.

Sarah Einselen is an award-winning writer and editor based in Texas.

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11 thoughts on “RZIM Donors Fight to Get Records Showing if Their Money Financed Abuse”

  1. What an opportunity to resolve this difficulty at the local church level rather than at the court level. I guess the church doesn’t have enough wise people in it to deal with such a problem even though it will judge angels.

    When Christians donate money, they do so with the possibility that it could be lost and that it is better to walk away from it then to litigate before unbelievers. Both the donors and RZIM show by this action that neither of them believe in the church they profess to believe in.

    James Lutzweiler

      1. Jacob, did you leave the /s off the end of your comment perchance?

        (If not you might want to explore the archives of this site to understand why I asked!)

    1. “Both the donors and RZIM show by this action that neither of them believe in the church they profess to believe in.”
      +++++++++++

      i thought christians profess their belief in God, not in the church.

      at least, that’s how it used to be.

  2. The fact the RZIM is fighting the release of these records confirms that nothing has changed. Lots of sad videos have been made with no real action to demonstrate true repentance.

    They continue to have the same corrupt leadership that enabled and defended RZ when he was alive, the public still has no idea who is on their board, and they fight donor transparency (probably paying their lawyers with past donor funds.)

    RZIM must shut down. Whatever “ministry” it performed in the past is now a complete mockery. They want to continue the darkness RZ embedded in his organization’s DNA.

  3. If anyone knows a more biblical approach than this, please advise:

    1. Procedurally, each donor takes his/her complaint against RZIM to the church of which Ravi Zacharias was a member. Good luck finding the name of this church. John Stumbo, The head of the Christian and missionary alliance, was unable even to convey to an inquirer what that church was.

    2. Failing to receive satisfaction from that church or any other church, the donors are entitled to characterize Ravi and RZIM as pagans, which they are and forever after most likely will be, and then proceed to a secular court.

    3. Donors might also consider going to the local churches of Franklin Graham, Steve Gaines, Al Mohler, Mack Brunson, and Russell Moore to claim redress. All knew about Ravi and gave him a free pass. there are plenty of deep pockets to go around.

    James Lutzweiler

  4. All very sad. I was spiritually abused by a man who regularly posts on this very website and despite my writing to his seminary, nothing has happened. Some people simply don’t care.

  5. Tony Cimmarrusti, RZIM Board Member, is proud to proclaim to anyone who will listen how he graduated from Harvard and has an MBA. What he won’t disclose is how he has historically throughout his career buddied up to the rich and famous. I did some digging and I have seen a pattern in Mr. Cimmarrusti that reveals his lust for power and admiration. He is the poster child for narcissism. All of his accolades, if they were true, would have resulted in him objecting to a board that was led first by Ravi and secondly by his wife with two other family members on the board and the rest sycophants like Tony. He would sell out just to be around perceived greatness and to have people express admiration for his Christian values. He’s a conman and has an incredible temper when provoked – it all comes out… the real Mr. Cimmarrusti. I demand that all records of voting of the board be revealed and let’s see if the board at any time voted to veto a desire of Ravi or an embellishment to Ravi’s life of luxury. Let’s see how much money and benefits were lavished on board members. Let’s reveal all of the phonies like Mr. Cimmarrusti. If one person is at fault it is Ravi. If two people are at fault it is Ravi and Cimmarrusti – Harvard bred genius and super-self-righteous conman.

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