The board of Zacharias Trust—the U.K. branch of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)—is calling on RZIM’s U.S. board to “reform radically the governance, leadership and accountability of the RZIM organization globally.” The U.K. Board also says the alleged victims of RZIM founder, Ravi Zacharias, deserve a “profound apology.”
In a portion of a letter to the U.S. Board, which the U.K. Board posted to the Zacharias Trust website, the U.K. Board stated that the global ministry of RZIM “has been damaged” by “the historic and current issues which have been raised in recent weeks.”
These include allegations by RZIM speakers and managers that the U.S. board “betrayed” and “misled” its employees and the public by covering up the wrongdoing of Ravi Zacharias.
In 2017, Zacharias was accused of misrepresenting his credentials and sexually exploiting a Canadian woman as part of a sexting relationship. More recently, Zacharias has been accused of sexually abusing massage therapists at two spas he co-owned.
For years, the RZIM board has maintained that Zacharias was a victim in the sexting relationship, not a predator. As recently as September, RZIM stated, that Zacharias “denied any sexually or romantically inappropriate conduct” and “his denial is consistent with the character of the man we knew and worked alongside for years.”
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Similarly, when the spa allegations first surfaced, RZIM responded by calling the accusations false. The organization later changed its statement and launched an independent investigation into the spa allegations. That investigation recently released a preliminary report, which found “credible evidence” that Zacharias “engaged in sexual misconduct over many years.”
In its statement, the U.K. Board said it recognized that Zacharias’ “alleged victims have not been listened to or treated with compassion in the past.”
The U.K. Board also acknowledged that the situation has been difficult for staff and “some are concerned that their credibility is being affected and their own reputations are being damaged by events that are outside their control.” The board added it must “act swiftly to rebuild trust” with staff, partner churches, and supporters.
The U.K. Board then stated that “as a matter of urgency,” it is seeking a meeting with the U.S. Board “to confirm our mutual commitment” to the items listed below:
A profound apology to any victims and a commitment to engaging and listening to them to reach a point of reconciliation.
Ensuring Zacharias Trust in the UK inputs into the public announcement that will be made when the investigation report is issued.
A commitment to reform radically the governance, leadership and accountability of the RZIM organisation globally and to recognise the need to transform our culture by reconnecting to the Gospel values that underpin our organisation. We anticipate that there will be significant change across the global organisation.
A prayerful and consultative reflection on how the ministry should move forward from this point, and if so, what changes are required. That consultation will include all staff, key partners and supporters.
The UK Board added that conversations between the U.K Board and the U.S. Board have already started and that some of the reforms should be implemented before the findings of the independent investigation are made public. This “means coming to an agreement in the next few weeks.”