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Reporting the Truth.
Restoring the Church.

Voice of the Martyrs Whistleblowers Send Letter to Board Calling for Third-Party Investigation

By Rebecca Hopkins
cole richards VOM voice martyrs whistleblowers
Voice of the Martyrs President Cole Richards speaks at the Day of the Christian Martyr ceremony, at the ministry's headquarters in in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. (Photo via social media)

Eight former Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) employees, with a collective 66 years of VOM service, have sent a letter to VOM’s board, calling for a third-party investigation into allegations of misconduct by VOM President Cole Richards.

“We want to be able to share our evidence and refute counteraccusations by VOM’s leadership,” the letter states. “We want a real third-party investigation that considers all the testimonies, all the documentation, all the facts.”

The letter adds, “Many times in VOM’s history, (within this group, stretches back to 2007) VOM chooses to keep ‘dirty laundry’ under wraps rather than deal with crisis in an open, transparent manner. Keeping things secret and on a ‘need-to-know’ basis does not cultivate a culture of living in Christ’s light as detailed in 1 John and elsewhere in Scripture.”

The letter follows three articles published by The Roys Report (TRR) documenting allegations that Richards has a pattern of deception, has retaliated against whistleblowers, and has put optics over the needs of persecuted Christians. Former staff also accused the VOM board of conducting a sham investigation.

Jason Peters, former VOM chief of connection, wrote the letter in cooperation with seven other former VOM employees. But Peters said he considers the letter to represent more than 30 peoples’ concerns, which were gathered from a 2022 survey. Peters then signed and emailed the letter to 16 former and current board members.

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voice martyrs
Headquarters of The Voice of the Martyrs in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. (Photo: Facebook)

Peters said he’s received no response.

TRR also emailed the 16 people, requesting their response.

TRR received two immediate responses from former board members Tatton Manning and Don Banner, declining comment because they no longer serve on the board.

Jon Wilke, VOM’s spokesperson, also replied and directed TRR to a May 17 statement the board published on its website, following our first article.

However, the whistleblowers’ letter is a response to that May 17 board statement, in which the board affirmed Richards’ leadership.  That VOM statement is worded similarly to a statement  VOM gave TRR for our reporting, which claimed the former staff raising concerns were “attempting to discredit VOM’s leadership.” The board said in both statements that “after a lengthy process” it found no evidence “to support the allegations of wrongdoing.”

“The board is very pleased with the work of Cole and our leadership team!” the board’s May statement says. “We fully stand behind them and are grateful to God for each of them and the value they, both individually and collectively, bring to this mission.”

cole richards VOM martyrs
Cole Richards, president of The Voice of the Martyrs, poses at the Martyrs Memorial at the group’s headaquarters in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. (Photo: VOM)

But the whistleblowers’ letter stated that the board claimed it didn’t want more evidence but instead was waiting on “a word from the Lord.” The whistleblowers’ letter also refutes the board’s claim that it conducted a full investigation.

“Why were the whistleblowers or those who were hurt never followed up with?” the whistleblowers’ letter states. “We have never desired to go public, but after repeated attempts and with much prayer, felt this was the only option.”

The board said in its statements that since 2022, VOM has made some improvements. But the whistleblowers refuted the effectiveness of the improvements, stating that more staff have recently resigned, been demoted, or were “forced out.”

“How can the board fail to act when things continue to happen?” the letter states.

Both a board member and a vice president resigned, too, the letter notes.

Board member Tatton Manning told TRR yesterday that he resigned in September 2023 but wouldn’t say why. In April, Richards confirmed to TRR by email the “departure” of Jeremy Burton, VOM’s vice president of outreach.

Burton has not responded to multiple attempts for comment on his departure.

The whistleblowers’ letter also requests that, at a recent VOM dedication of a new wing to its headquarters in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, the board discuss their concerns with each other.

voice of the martyrs VOM
Entrance sign for The Voice of the Martyrs headquarters in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. (Photo via social media)

The whistleblowers urged the board to re-consider their concerns about Richards’ leadership in light of their past dedication to VOM’s work and to founder Richard Wurmbrand’s vision to serve the persecuted global church.  

“We love VOM, its ministry, and the Wurmbrand vision,” the letter states. “Many of us whistleblowers have given our heart and soul to help advance VOM’s mission—executing VOM projects in some of the most dangerous locations in the world.”

The whistleblowers say they wish only for VOM’s success in that “crucial” mission, but “each of us believe this is not possible with the current leadership.”

Whistleblowers’ Letter to Board of Voice of the Martyrs 

To Current and Former VOM Directors, in response to the press release today_Redacted

Rebecca Hopkins is a journalist based in Colorado.

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4 Responses

  1. Very reminiscent of what started the Gospel for Asia saga. GFA diaspora wrote a letter to their board. Followed by a 2nd letter with even more signatures. That all did nothing but got some Calvary Chapel board members to quit, but that got the ball rolling to where things ended in a lawsuit. In this case though, everything and I mean ABSOLUTELY everything is hidden in the dark. There will be no investigation as all signs that this ministry, grown so large by a child molester, is a complete scam. There is no proof anywhere that any good has been done to anyone, but everyone I know involved, and I am one of those diaspora, has been burned. 100% of the observable proof is bad. This has always been a dumpster fire. It just kept getting worse to where it is so obvious even the most ignorant idealist can see what it is. It takes donor funds and abuses people. Always has since Tom White made it the white-washed septic tank that it is.

    1. Of course if a lawsuit is filed then things should begin to open up. Amazing what a subpoena can do…

  2. The long history of abusive, immorality-plagued, financially irresponsible leadership within VOM and supported by them is appalling, continuing up to the present with “Cole Richards,” the board, and other leaders who refuse to act on the overwhelming evidence presented by whistleblowers and survey respondents.

    Ironic and shameful VOM is itself persecuting and silencing Christians among its own ranks who speak out against its ungodly actions.

    1. I understand that ultimately VOM leadership is accountable before God. But when the Board of Directors refuses to answer donor questions, refuses any sort of transparency (as called for by the ECFA) where does accountability rest? Shame on VOM for covering up TRUTH!

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