ATLANTA — Less than a year after his death, the Alpharetta-based organization founded by Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias has released a statement confirming allegations of sexual misconduct made against the influential spiritual leader.
Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, most commonly known as RZIM, said in a Dec. 23 statement from the executive committee of the RZIM board of directors on its website that preliminary results from an investigation have confirmed allegations that Zacharias had abused workers at two spas that he co-owned.
The abuse spanned years and may go beyond those spas.
According to a Sept. 29 article in Christianity Today, three women, who worked at locations in metro Atlanta, claimed that Zacharias touched them inappropriately and exposed himself during regular treatments. Details of the allegations by the women have not been made public.
The investigation is ongoing and a final report is not expected until early next year, according to RZIM.
“Sadly, the interim investigation update indicates this assessment of Ravi’s behavior to be true — that he did indeed engage in sexual misconduct,” according to the statement.
“This misconduct is deeply troubling and wholly inconsistent with the man Ravi Zacharias presented both publicly and privately to so many over more than four decades of public ministry. We are heartbroken at learning this but feel it necessary to be transparent and to inform our staff, donors, and supporters at this time, even while the investigation continues. We will speak more comprehensively to all concerned after the completion of the investigation.”
The organization also addressed those hurt by Zacharias’ action, saying it was devastated for those who have suffered from his “misconduct and for the pain that they are enduring.”
Zacharias, head of a global ministry and bestselling author, died in May at his home in Atlanta, following a brief battle with cancer. He was 74.
Zacharias spent nearly five decades addressing questions of origin, meaning, morality and destiny. As a Christian apologist, Zacharias defended religious doctrine and philosophy.
He was a close friend of the late evangelist Billy Graham and among those who spoke at his memorial service was Vice President Mike Pence.
RZIM said that in August 2020 — three months after his death — that allegations of sexual misconduct were made against its founder. It hired the Atlanta law firm of Miller & Martin to investigate the allegations.
Attorney Lynsey Barron of Miller & Martin said the firm would not comment beyond the letter to RZIM.
The organization decided to address the allegations publicly earlier this week, following an interim investigation update. The report did not identify his accusers.
The web site included a copy of the interim report. According to the report, investigators spoke with therapists who had treated Zacharias from the Touch of Eden and Jivan Wellness spas as well as others who treated him over the years. They also reviewed documents and electronic devices used by Zacharias.
RZIM is calling for any other potential victims to come forward. RZIM was founded in 1984 and has a worldwide reach.©2020 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at ajc.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.