JOIN US MAY 20-21 FOR RESTORE CONFERENCE

Mary
DeMuth

Scot
McKnight

Screenshot 2023-01-13 at 1.50.18 PM

Naghmeh
Panahi

Reporting the Truth.
Restoring the Church.

EXCLUSIVE: Whistleblowers Accuse Voice of the Martyrs’ President of Deception and Retaliation

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)

Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) claims its goal is serving persecuted Christians. But whistleblowers say VOM’s president doesn’t respect the rights of his own employees and persecutes them.

In exclusive interviews with The Roys Report (TRR), 10 former VOM staff accused VOM President Cole Richards of retaliating against employees for failing to give him unquestioning support. They also claimed Richards pushed out his predecessor to gain control of the organization. And they say Richards has a pattern of lying to protect himself and VOM, including deceiving people about his background and credentials.

The whistleblowers added that they reported Richard’s alleged misconduct to VOM’s board, but the board didn’t take their concerns seriously. Instead, they said VOM pressured some of them to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDA) in exchange for severance.

TRR reached out to Richards for comment, and he provided written answers to several rounds of questions and agreed to a Zoom interview. However, he didn’t respond to TRR’s emailed request to meet only one on one, and instead asked other VOM leaders to join him in the interview.

Richards told TRR that the “handful” of former employees with concerns are “disgruntled,” and that VOM is a growing organization with 330 staff around the world. Richards also denied that VOM uses NDAs but insisted that they merely use “confidentiality clauses.”

Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $50 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “Ghosted: An American Story” by Nancy French. To donate, click here.

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

A severance agreement obtained by TRR included both a non-disparagement clause and a several-point, confidentiality clause. The clause prohibited disclosure of information “affecting . . . reputation of VOM or its directors, officers, employees, agents, contacts, or partner ministries, where said information is not specifically previously known to the third parties.”

TRR also reached out to VOM’s board, which provided a joint response through VOM Board Chairman Harvey Little. The board claimed it conducted an internal review of the allegations against Richards, but “did not find evidence to support the allegations of wrongdoing.” The board added that it is “firmly supportive of VOM’s President Cole Richards and other leaders.”

Of the 10 whistleblowers interviewed by TRR, only four said they had initial conversations with board members about their concerns. The rest said the board never interviewed them as part of any review.

The whistleblowers have petitioned the board to conduct a third-party investigation, said former VOM field leader Derrick Stewart, but the board has been unresponsive.

As a result, the whistleblowers have released to TRR several hours of recorded meetings and more than 100 pages of emails, texts, and other documentation. These paint a picture of years of growing concerns by both high-level leaders and VOM’s frontline workers.

In one document from 2018—the beginning of Richards’ tenure as president—former board member Merv Knight emailed Peggy Dau, wife of then-recently exited President Jim Dau, that “foxes” with an “egotistical agenda” had entered VOM.

In an email exchange with Peggy discussing the change of presidents from Dau to Richards, founder of VOM-Australia, Knight wrote, “a certain lobby group was very powerful with a strong and persuasive voice.”

“I tremble for the future,” Knight wrote.

Who is Cole Richards?

In written answers, Richards has referenced VOM’s need to guard information because VOM works in countries hostile to Christianity.  The name Cole Richards itself is a pseudonym. But Richards uses the name on VOM’s website, on VOM radio, in VOM’s magazines, on official employee agreements,  in internal emails, on audits, and on official government documents, specifically 990s.

One whistleblower said Richards has obscured his background, too, to inflate his ministry credentials.

An editorial for VOM’s magazine states Richards and his family served persecuted Christians for 20 years and “served on dangerous missions frontiers.” The 2022 employee handbook characterizes Richards’ pre-VOM status as a “tent-making missionary” in the Middle East.

But this is a “gross misrepresentation” of Richards’ role there, said Peters, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. Richards wasn’t a missionary but a U.S. Air Force civil engineer in Turkey, Jason Peters said.

Richards told TRR he combined both missions and military service overseas. Richards said he’s an ordained minister, and his denomination sent him to be a missionary in the Middle East but with the military.

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)

When TRR asked the name of Richards’ sending denomination and for more evidence of the missionary sending relationship, Richards said the denomination does not disclose that information. But Richards said his military role put him in constant contact with Turkish Christians—relationships he’s carried into VOM.

Peters also accused Richards of “stolen valor.” He said Richards misled people about his military career. For example, Richards implied he led troops into combat, but that’s not true, Peters said.

“As a military officer, I risked my life for years and lost both friends and troops I led to provide you with that right,” Richards wrote to staff in 2021.

Richards told TRR he didn’t mean to imply that he was in combat. Richards told TRR he served in the “relative safety of a ‘command-and-control center on base,’” but he added that one of his troops was killed while responding to an Improvised Explosive Device.

Richards also said he isn’t allowed to disclose what he did in the military or where he served.

“I served in four different nations while I was in the military,” Richards said. “I can say that this includes the region of the Middle East and includes the region of Asia. But I cannot say more than that. And no service member can say more than that usually.”

Richards’ last statement is not accurate, an official from the U.S. Department of Defense told TRR.

“While there may be specific deployed locations that a military member may not be able to discuss, in general, members can disclose overseas service,” she said.

Also, an Air Force media official provided information to TRR about Richards’ military service that the military has made publicly available. This included Richards’ last active duty station of Incirlik Air Force Base, Turkey, his dates of active duty from 1999 to 2006, and his specialty code of civil engineering. Richards’ last active duty title was flight readiness commander, wrote Michael Dickerson, chief of media relations for the Air Force Personnel Center.

Richards’ deceptions, often used to prop up Richards’ reputation or disparage others, became a pattern of Richards’ leadership, said “Sean Paton,” a former regional director.  (Paton is a pseudonym because he works in a country with high risk of persecution. TRR confirmed his identity with Derrick Stewart, a former VOM field leader.)

“When you’re going to lie in newsletters and in broad daylight . . . you’re definitely going to do it when your rear’s really on the line,” Paton said.

Richards accused of pushing out former VOM CEO

Several former VOM staff told TRR that Richards pushed out former VOM President Jim Dau in 2017 so Richards could take over as VOM’s top leader.

Richards frequently talked about the need for a leadership change, blaming Dau for anything that wasn’t going well, said Stewart and Nick Gray, former deputy regional director for South Asia.

Richards denied this, telling TRR that he and Dau sometimes disagreed but that Richards “loyally carried out (Dau’s) decisions.”

According to a January 2017 board announcement, VOM was preparing Richards to take over Dau’s position upon Dau’s retirement.

In March 2017, Richards sent Dau and Peggy an email, suggesting that Dau should consider taking an “absolutely wonderful” job offer from Revelation Media upon retirement. Revelation Media is a separate company run by Steve Cleary, who is a VOM contractor and producer of the movie “Tortured for Christ,” the story of VOM Founder Richard Wurmbrand.

Jason Peters, VOM’s former chief of connection, called Richards’ email “manipulative.”

“When I read that email from (Richards) to Jim, I was sickened, like physically sickened,” Peters said. “This is exactly the kind of manipulative language, ‘What’s best for your family.’ ‘You have too much to offer the kingdom.’ ‘You can be a photographer.’”

TRR reached out to Dau for comment, but Dau said he had signed an NDA and was not able to go on the record.

jim dau voice martyrs
Jim Dau, former president of Voice of the Martyrs (Photo via social media)

However, Dau’s wife, Peggy Dau, told TRR that her husband hadn’t asked for the job at Revelation Media and didn’t want it.

In an August 2017 memo obtained by TRR, VOM Board Chairman Harvey Little states that Dau communicated in a meeting that he had “not received a firm word from the Lord” regarding a date to transition out of his position as president. Little added that Dau proposed “a formal transition take place mid-year 2019.”

But in November 2017, the VOM board told Dau he needed to retire “no later than December 31″ of that year, according to an email from Chairman Little to the VOM Board, which was obtained by TRR.

Little noted in the email that Jim and Peggy Dau were “shocked and hurt by our action.”

Little added that a proposed statement to staff, announcing VOM’s change of leadership, was “much different from the statement Cole spoke to us about yesterday.”

However, Little said it was the best he and Attorney Don Banner, a VOM board member and Peggy Dau’s brother, “could get to and have Jim and Peggy agree for it to be issued. The potential response if we issue something Jim and Peggy disagree with is that Jim would issue a statement correcting or refuting our statement. The potential damage to VOM from that action could be much worse than issuing a statement that is less than our desire.”

The email adds that Richards “will effectively be in charge as of Monday morning.”

The statement VOM released said that Dau was transitioning out of his position because “a significant conflict of interest could occur in the future as a result of a contractor relationship.”

voice of the martyrs cole richards VOM
Voice of the Martyrs president Cole Richards, at right, speaks in a podcast with VOM Radio host Todd Nettleton. (Photo via social media)

According to Mike Derkez, former VOM graphic designer, this conflict of interest allegedly related to the job offer from Revelation Media.

Derkez told TRR that Richards called a meeting with a few staff the day after the board decided that Dau should resign. Richards said Dau would be leaving because he “wanted” to take the job at Revelation Media, which presented a conflict of interest, Derkez said.

“(Richards) said that Jim submitted something that showed that once he retires, he wants to work directly with (Revelation Media CEO) Steve Cleary . . . and the board felt that it was too much that Jim wanted to do this,” Derkez added.

Richards warned the staff in the meeting not to talk directly to Steve Cleary or to the Daus, Derkez said.

Peggy Dau told TRR she believes Richards orchestrated the alleged conflict of interest to oust her husband.

Richards denied this.

“It would not be possible for our board to be influenced in that way by anyone and especially not by me because I was recused from board discussions about personnel issues,” Richards wrote to TRR. In his interview with TRR, Richards added, “The idea that I’m trying to steer him into a conflict, that’s completely false.”

A couple months after Jim Dau’s time with VOM ended, Richards wrote in the VOM magazine that Dau was serving as an adviser to him.

Dau told TRR he never served as an advisor to Richards after leaving VOM.

Chairman Little’s email to the board said Peggy Dau could keep her job with VOM. But in January 2018, Richards asked her to sign an agreement, changing her employment status to contract worker.

Richards told TRR he changed Peggy Dau’s employment status due to restructuring and IRS guidelines.

But Peggy Dau doesn’t see it that way and called Richards’ actions “a betrayal.”

Requiring loyalty and consolidating power

As VOM’s new president, Richards talked of VOM becoming “world class,” Derkez said.  There’s no doubt the organization has grown under Richards, but according to former Regional Director Joe Hill it’s done so at the expense of VOM’s collaborative, field-driven culture in which frontline persecution work was the priority. (Like Paton, Hill uses a pseudonym because he works in a country with a high risk of persecution. However, TRR confirmed both their identities with Stewart.)

“There was a cultural shift,” said Hill. “What makes (Richards) look good? What makes VOM look good? He used to always talk about, we want to be respected in the global mission community. . . It was almost like little brother syndrome.”

Richards expanded both the staff and the budget, said former VOM Field Leader Stewart. But Stewart said Richards was hiring too many people, sometimes for redundant work, and many people didn’t have enough tasks to fill their week.

Richards frequently shuffled people and changed their job descriptions, with often contradictory explanations, said Lisa Slack, former regional coordinator for VOM. Employees weren’t allowed to share information or ideas with other teams, she said.

cole richards
Cole Richards, president of The Voice of the Martyrs, in a promotional image. (Screengrab)

This created a chaotic, confusing, and isolating work environment that protected Richards’ lies from being discovered, both Slack and former Field Leader FP Vanveen said. It also consolidated Richards’ power, Stewart said.

“Each year, he’s gained more power and really lessened the influence of other positions,” Stewart added.

In 2018, Richards emailed leaders in international ministries to say they were “vested,” and therefore free to share their true opinions and vote in meetings. But behind closed doors, Richards retaliated against those who offered dissenting opinions, said Gray, Stewart, Slack, and Paton.

At leadership meetings, the leaders would decide together how to allocate money to ministry projects, Paton and Hill said.

Yet Richards got around the collaborative financial decisions by issuing large “executive grants,” Hill and Paton said.

In 2019, Richards unilaterally allocated at least $300,000 to a Middle Eastern partner about whom another Middle Eastern worker had grave concerns, Hill said. This worker had been imprisoned for the religious work he did for the partner, and the partner didn’t provide any kind of care for him, Hill said.

Richards insisted on knowing the imprisoned worker’s name, Hill said, but another VOM employee wouldn’t break his promise to protect the man’s identity. Richards later pressured Hill to demote the VOM employee who refused to divulge the name, but Hill said he refused, citing the employee’s 25-year work history in the Middle East.

Soon afterwards, Richards demoted and then fired Hill. Richards also fired the employee who wouldn’t disclose the persecuted Christian’s identity, Stewart said.

Hill confronted Richards about the reasons for his firing in a meeting Hill recorded and released to TRR, but requested not be published for security reasons.

In that meeting, Richards contradicted himself, telling Hill at the 17-minute mark that Hill wasn’t being punished because of his differing opinions. But at the 1 hour, 10-minute mark, Richards claimed Hill had “spread dissension.”

cole richards voice martyrs VOM
Cole Richards, president of The Voice of the Martyrs, in a promotional image. (Screengrab)

About the same time, Paton said he also lost trust in Richards and kept a list of Richards’ deceptions and people Richards had fired. In 2019, Paton wrote in a note to himself that he believed Richards was using his position to fire people, create false narratives about them, and then to target people who question the narratives.

“And the person being terminated has no right to a fair trial or any kind of appeal process, for even HR is controlled by the President,” Paton wrote. “Further, to receive a severance the terminated party has to sign a non-disclosure agreement, meaning they cannot talk to board members.”

Richards countered that he has an open door policy, and showed TRR a whistleblower policy that he said employees can access digitally and through the HR department.

However, none of the whistleblowers recognized this whistleblower policy when TRR showed it to them. The policy also was not included in 2022’s staff handbook, which TRR obtained.

The handbook does state, however, that VOM has a “no-tolerance policy for gossip,” which it defines as “spreading malicious, salacious, or personal information about others or causing discord or dissension.” The handbook adds that employees who tell concerns to the “wrong people” are gossiping.

Whistleblower policy or not, Gray said, “There was no trust of policies . . . (E)very conversation made it back to Cole (Richards) and there were always repercussions.”

*This is part one of a three-part series. Our next article, which will be released early next week, includes numerous reports by whistleblowers that Cole Richards put optics over the needs of persecuted Christians.

*This article has been updated to more accurately reflect VOM’s mission statement and Don Banner’s relationship to Peggy Dau.

Rebecca Hopkins is a journalist based in Colorado.

SHARE THIS:

GET EMAIL UPDATES!

Keep in touch with Julie and get updates in your inbox!

Don’t worry we won’t spam you.

More to explore
discussion

34 Responses

  1. How tragic that this organization, built from the suffering and imprisonment out of loyalty to Christ by its founders, is now apparently held captive by a dishonest and power hungry man. It has happened to other once great Christian organizations, and unless this Board gets a backbone and puts the ministry first, it will fall. It cannot be built on lies in the leadership. God will not honor it. I will not be giving under these circumstances, as money is always behind these power plays.

  2. I will write more later but let me say that I am a one time volunteer/employee who worked for VOM some decades ago. I lived a block away from Tom White, who later killed himself after molesting a 10 year old in 2012. I was there when Tom White gave up his position to Jim Dau. I lived in Bartlesville, where Little was, a very long time ago, the mayor. I was still there when Tom killed himself. I have met the girl whom Tom molested and their father who went to the police. I saw warning signs while I was there of things being very off. I have written my entire testimony down concerning that and it was published on the ThorArtTheMan blog. I am convinced Tom took donor funds and went overseas and used it to get his kicks in child brothels that exist in some of these countries. I am also convinced that this whole thing is a scam. Just ask yourself, what kind of an org would a child molester build? Do not give to them! Other funds have gone to other child molesters overseas.

    This article looks like thieves pointing fingers and complaining at each other to me, as far as Dau and Cole go. These people just ask for mammon and then ask you to trust them, although no one knows anything about how or where those funds are spent. This is a conman’s dream! Everything is hidden, which is not Christian in principal at all.

      1. To contact me directly you can contact Todd at his website and he can forward your email to me. I would be glad to compare notes with you.

        Also, regarding where I got the word that Tom White was in jail somewhere in South America shortly before his suicide, I have two separate sources both from within the extended White family in Bartlesville. The first was from the other volunteers I met who later moved on to the GFA scam. One of them sat down with a family member shortly after the death and heard the story without much details. The other source was my own pastor who has a continuing friendship with a different family member. This pastor confirmed it. So Dau is either a liar or totally incompetent when he wrote his letter to donors claiming he had no idea Tom White was molesting children. Neither look is good. Someone had to pay a bribe to get Tom back into the US. And VOM is where the pockets are deep.

  3. Thank you for this report. I am sad to say as a former supporter that this organization is not worthy of any donations, and has not been for many years, if ever.

  4. Dear Moderator, Could you please remove Mr. Jesperson’s comments. It has a ‘nasty tone” and many factual errors:
    1. VoM was founded by Richard Wurmbrand, not Tom White. Richard Wurmbrand build the organization and was not a child molester.
    2. No proof has ever been presented that Tom White was a child molester. The police wanted to question him, which is not the same.
    3. Being convinced that somebody took donor funds and misused them is not proof that donor funds were misused. Mr. Jesperson has no idea what Tom White did or did not do on trips.
    4. Mr. Jesperson is convinced that VOM is a scam. That does not make it so. VoM, for all the failings of human beings, still does wonderful work carried out by human beings.
    5. Mr. Jesperson says that Mr. Dau and Mr. Cole are thieves. This is an unfounded accusation. Mr. Jesperson’s bitterness is coming through here.

    It would be more helpful that the comments are limited to what the article is about. For instance:
    A. Now that these issues have come to light, is there any way for the board to take a closer look at the leadership issues and determine if any changes are needed?
    B. If the board backs Mr. Cole without reservation and is not willing to even consider the problems, is it time for a new board?
    C. Why does VoM use NDAs? Even if there is nothing to hide, this is a very poor optic for a Christian organization.

    1. And it starts. Those who bury their heads in the sand and loudly proclaim that there are no issues when the whole thing has been a dumpster fire for 25 years now. And they complain that people like me and those who contacted Julie so she could write this article NEED TO SHUT UP! Never mind that Tom White killed himself! Never mind the incidence in Africa where a sister VOM org has been run by a child molester. Oh gosh. How very illogical all that is. And please keep complaining Walter, for it makes the problems just that much clearer for all to see.

      The reality is that Jim Dau is a liar as I have knowledge that Tom White was arrested in South America for molesting a girl there shortly before coming back and molesting the US 10 year old girl that I have met. Then the father went to the police. Then late that night the suicide. Third world counties are very corrupt and when westerners have money, bribes can certainly get you released. I find it simply impossible to believe that Dau did not know about this incident. Highly unlikely that VOM funds were NOT the source of the bribe that got Tom released. Dau claimed that he was blindsided by the allegation that led to the suicide. Let the readers decide whom to believe.

    2. I wrote the VOM blog for 8 years and was there when the whole thing with Tom went down. VOM needs to be shut down. Believe me, I could tell you stories. Everything that Ralph says is “probably” true. But given that the chief of police was on the board of VOM at the time Tom killed himself and they shut down the investigation, we will never know the truth. Christian media outlets covered it up at the time. The tone you call “nasty” isn’t nasty at all. It’s truthful. The problem with the truth is that sacred cows never like to fall.

      1. Thank you Stacy. A former IT worker has many stories to tell as well. He was there much longer, and had much greater access as he had to interface with literally everyone in order to keep everyone’s computer working. I have been praying for years that God would finally shut down this monstrosity of abuse, child molestation and outright theft. Perhaps now is the time. And I am used to be accused of “nastiness” and bitterness from my small role in getting Gospel for Asia exposed.

    3. Richard’s son, Micheal Wurmbrand, has been calling for an investigation for over a decade – both regarding alleged CSA by Tom White and misuse of funds.

      The perceived good of VOM’s ministry or their intentions does not justify covering up and silencing things: https://michaelwurmbrand.com/

    4. Did VoM direct you to request that Ralph’s comment be removed? (Probably not)

      At this point we can only hope there is a thorough investigation of the management at VoM and the corruption is weeded out and that its integrity is fully restored.

      1. Hi George,
        No, VoM did not direct me to remove Mr. Jesperson’s comment. In fact, Cole Richard’s policy is not to respond on web sites to allegations, proven or otherwise.

        As I said in an earlier post today, I am actually a “victim” of Cole’s actions and was, myself, let go after 15 years of service with narry a good bye or thank you because I disagreed or challenged Cole one too many times. I am not trying to cover up anything. I am simply calling for civil dialogue that does not include unfounded and unproven allegations. AND civil dialogue that does not include shutting down an organization that I know, personally, from work on the field, is doing TREMENDOUS good worldwide. We don’t destroy a work of God because of some bad actors. We call to repentance and revival, and where needed, make personnel changes. None of that can happen when people say shut it down, they are all corrupt. To me this is slanderous against the many VoM volunteers and staff both in the USA and worldwide who are serving faithfully and in many cases very valiantly, risking both life and limb for the King.

        1. Mr. Burns, I am an ex-volunteer and employee. When you attack me you are being a hypocrite and doing exactly what you claim I am doing and have condemned me for. I moved to Bartlesville just to be a part of this “ministry,” and paid a very high price. This thing you worked for is corrupt. It needs to be shut down. I am well familiar with child molestation as my own brother molested his own daughter some 30 plus years ago. Your dialog towards me is not civil. It comes across as very rude! You have not had to deal with the strong emotions of walking into a room and seeing the father and the daughter there that Tom White molested. I have. You have not had to deal with the feelings of walking into a room and seeing your niece which was molested by your own brother. How dare you say such things! What bitter, crude judgments you have made! Time to look into the mirror. You have not seen everything that has been done by everyone associated with VOM, nor do you appear to give a d*** about the actual children molested in South America, Bartlesville and Nigeria. And you speak of supposed good being done with absolutely no proof of any of it.

          The year my other brother died, I was shown a cell in hell, a place reserved for people who claimed to be Christians, but did not know Jesus. It was a warning to my brother. It was the most real experience I have ever had. It remains a warning for those who think they are saved but walk in darkness, just as VOM has since the founder got sick decades ago.

    5. Yes agreed. Thank you for the sound advice and trying to reason with Jesperson, but he will not accept what you say (Proverbs 9:8).

      I figured all the haters were going to come out of the wood work with these current allegations. I just question the motivation of these allegations, it’s seems like many are out for blood. Peters was an employee 7 years ago, thats a rather long time removed.

      The leadership style changed and it rubbed many people the wrong way, I understand this. If people were not going along with the leadership of VOM’s president what should have happened? How should the president have handled it in your view if people are not following his leadership? When does insubordination come into play?
      For you personally what is your motivation for exposing your disagreements with VOM’s president and what do you hope to accomplish? Were all attempts made to resolve this without going public?

      1. I ask you what your beef is here and what is your relationship to VOM? Are you a employee of them? Are you a donor, like I was? Are you paid by a online damage control reputation firm?

        PS. I have googled the following names: my own, Joseph Fierestein, Walter Burns, and for fun Stacy Lynn Harp. I found my own easily, book and photo. Stacy has a bunch of different social media accounts. But I have come up with zip with the other two. It is against this sites policy to comment without using your real name. This just leads to more questions for me…

      2. Jason Peters is an outspoken representative of 36 former and current employees (yes, still current), who pleaded with the board for a third-party investigation, because he was a former VP, was widely known by all staff, and connected broadly both nationally and internationally. Not to mention many more who wish to speak up but fear for their jobs or were forced to sign a confidentiality agreement (a.k.a. an NDA).

        Incompetence, bad decisions, or structural changes that “rub people the wrong way” is one thing in secular companies but another thing in ministry that effects our persecuted Christian family. For years those who have asked questions, gone through the proper channels (talked to bosses, executives, Cole himself, and gone to the board), and shown no hint of insubordination but only a desire for better kingdom work, they have been “reassigned” or “given new titles” (a.k.a. – demoted), their positions eliminated, or given the option of severance tied to a confidentiality agreement to go away quietly. After those things the executives spread narratives of “insubordination” to resolve any questions you might have (and also reinforce to you to not be like “them”).

        But this mainly about Spiritual Abuse and accountability. A leader of a Christian ministry using spiritual language and Bible verses (like you now are doing) to alter the lives of employees and families under the guise of insubordination and alignment. Insubordination and alignment not to God, His mission, and supporting His persecuted church, but insubordination and alignment to Cole first and foremost. And there are significant questions about financial decisions that have negatively impacted ministry in the field. Cole is hurting both employees at home and ministry in the field. That’s what this is about.

    6. Walter, your suggestion to remove a comment is censorship and denial of Mr. Jesperson’s first amendment right to free speech and is an immediate *red flag* that perhaps your goal is rooted in deflection of what is most important, the molestation of children. Nothing can stop the revelation that this is world-wide problem that reaches the very top of not only organizations, but governments and the elite of corporations, nations, and aristocracy. VOM is but one of a network of corruption with depths of evil in which the most innocent are victims of sexual abuse, ritual abuse, experimentation and organ trafficking. The veil is being lifted and there is nothing that will stop it. The question is, which side of history will you be on?

  5. Thank you, Rebecca Hopkins, for bringing light to this sad case of damaging carnal leadership. Cole should repent, confess and resign immediately!

    1. Yes. Thanks for linking this. I stopped donating at Michael’s request. Plus to my knowledge there has been no follow up investigation into allegations against Tom White and instead that was quietly covered up – at the expense of vulnerable children.

  6. I worked at VOM and someone should fire the Board chairman first and then the other board members. The new members can pick a new President. Harvey Little needs to go, as well as Cole.

  7. I remember back when Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of VOM came to our little church in the 1970’s. His son Michael became an outspoken critic of Voice of the Martyrs and its unscrupulous ways after his father’s death. Its’ extravagant $28 million building alone is cause for scrutiny, but the many scandals and abuses associated with this organization should concern everyone. A quick search brings up the account of the suicide of the organization’s second leader as he was about to be arrested for sexual abuse of a child. That tragedy was only the tip of the iceberg.

    Religious non-profits can easily hide behind grand redemptive narratives while domineering leaders abuse power and take in millions from well-meaning people. We stopped giving to any organization without full knowledge of how funds are used ten years ago when we left our indoctrination. Eyes wide open means you come to finally see more than you at first wanted to know, but there is no dignity in supporting grifters. Hero-worship gets us nowhere. Thank you again, Julie Roys, for transparency, accountability and courage.

  8. Again, excellent research and reporting via the Roys report. I look forward to the rest of the series even though it makes me sick to my stomach what VOM leadership has done and continues to do.

    I am very puzzled by how Richardson can legally use a pseudonym on legal documents etc. If anyone can weigh in on that or future reporting may explain how that is legal, I would be very interested

    The fact that he hides his legal name is so dodgy.

  9. VOM executives pat each others shoulders by giving each other promotions. Incompetence is promoted. If you are an executive’s friend you get promoted.

  10. This saddens me so much, because I love reading their newsletter and listening to their podcast. To those of you with insider knowledge, how trustworthy are these two publications and the stories they highlight? Are they as tainted as the leadership, or is the work on the field (apart from the Stephen Center in Nigeria) legit?

    1. Based on my experience with both VOM and GFA which loudly proclaimed that they also could not open their books because of claimed “persecution” I would not trust any stories coming out from anyone who has their hand out asking for money. There is an inherit conflict of interest there. Let the stories be told by those who receive no mammon in return for giving the reports for in this case there is strong motivation to exaggerate what is happening in order to make more mammon flow out of wallets. These are not the only case where this happened as there is also the case of the man who was inside a Iranian prison. Franklin Graham put pressure on his wife, who was abused by this man when he was not in prison, to exaggerate the story. When the man was released there was no scars nor any indication that he was tortured, which exposed a lie. It was lying in order to skim money off the top of these donations.

    2. I have to say to you, Margaret, that you using the word newsletter made me laugh. The only reason is that it is a sacred cow to never call their newsletter a magazine, even though everyone and their grandmother refers to it as a magazine.

      1. It’s literally called a magazine on their website.

        This is the problem with people who worked there years and years ago trying to speak on the matter. So much changes.

  11. When VoM states that the Board of Directors conducted “an internal review of allegations,” there is an immediate problem: “internal.”

    I have personal experience that tells me this “investigation” was so shallow as to not even support a minnow.

    I was a “front-line” missionary for 22 years, flying a small plane in the Amazon jungle. I did not have any backing of the US government or the US military. I am well-acquainted with the loss of co-workers; I immediately think of 7 pilots that gave their lives as they served the national church and missions in extremely harsh and demanding environments.

    I donated monthly to VoM; I believed in their ministry.

    On Oct 13, 2022 I wrote an e-mail (followed by a letter mailed through the US postal service) to Board Chair Harvey Little expressing deep concerns for VoM. Zero response.

    On Oct 20th, having heard nothing, I again e-mailed Mr. Little indicating my disappointment in not even have been acknowledged, as a donor, as having expressed concerns. Again, zero response.

    On Dec 1st, I again e-mailed Mr. Little, expressing my disappointment at the lack of response. I indicated my decision to cancel my recurring gift to VoM. Zero response. When I called the finance dept to cancel, they could have cared less. There was no question as to the “why” of my decision.

    I hold the Board ultimately responsible for the actions/ministry of VoM. Lying, covering up, bogus “policies,” Intimidation, fear, are all un-Biblical.

    The bottom line: the Board needs to step up and engage an outside organization to actually DO what they have said they have already done. Look at ALL the input and allow the truth to emerge, thus freeing VoM to continue their ministry.

    Mr. Little, BoD, shame on you.

    1. Two days ago I again wrote an e-mail to VoM Board Chair expressing my concern and asking why the fear of an outside, all information available, third-party investigation. If there is nothing to hide, there is nothing to fear. As before, zero response. Apparently, there IS something (many somethings) to hide.

  12. Why does this VOM feel more like a business than… a mission agency (parachurch org)? Is that what it even is or was? What is VOM anyway? I heard it on the radio back in the day and thought it was an advocacy / publicity operation… but it seems much more than that… and how does it make the money to pay 330 ’employees’… Are those all stateside or does that include overseas as well? And what kind of denominational oversite / accountability of the org exists? Or is this another lone evangelical entrepreneur running a business dressed up in overt christianeze (I would pose this question to the founder as well… seems like the current ceo, Richards is just more blatant about it or more eager to take it to it’s logical conclusion, ie another money/status/platform building exercise that so many american evangelical parachurch orgs really are…)

  13. Also, for anyone who’s actually interested, VOM has always been transparent with their use of finances and are held accountable by the ECFA. Link below:
    https://www.persecution.com/financialaccountability/

    And I second Joseph F.’s observation: Why is Jason Peters coming forward seven years later? Surely he has no idea if what he knew about VOM is even relevant or still happening. And if Jim Dau is a liar, doesn’t that undermine this entire article as Dau is pitted against Richards?

    1. Considering that the veil is being lifted on world-wide organizations, corporations, governments, military, and the elite regarding the heinous treatment of children for sex, RA, experimentation and organ trafficking I observe the comments here with interest. The question I ask myself is this: do the sentiments here reflect the spirit of a passive Arab, a Jezebel or that of an Elijah. Mr. Jesperson is certainly an Elijah and I commend him for his choice cannot have been an easy one. I invite introspection to consider which spirit the comments may embody and urge that now is the time to be an Elijah for history is being written now.

Leave a Reply

The Roys Report seeks to foster thoughtful and respectful dialogue. Toward that end, the site requires that people register before they begin commenting. This means no anonymous comments will be allowed. Also, any comments with profanity, name-calling, and/or a nasty tone will be deleted.
 
MOST RECENT Articles
MOST popular articles
en_USEnglish

Donate

Hi. We see this is the third article this month you’ve found worth reading. Great! Would you consider making a tax-deductible donation to help our journalists continue to report the truth and restore the church?

Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $50 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “Ghosted: An American Story” by Nancy French.