In light of a recent Christian Post article going live about the new supporting evidence Julie Roys uncovered in the Ravi Zacharias sexting scandal, RZIM has released a new statement denying any and all wrong doing while also pledging to never release the woman involved, Lori Thompson, from her Non-Disclosure Agreement (DNA) .
The impetuous stem from emails, phone records, and first-hand testimony brought to light by Jerry and Denise Basel, two Christian counselors who counseled Thompson in 2016 while the incident was happening. Stepping in to help the couple deal with the fallout, they were the ones that were with Thompson when she sent an email to Zacharias telling him she was going to tell her husband about their alleged illicit affair, which prompted Zacharias to famously respond with threatening to commit suicide if she went through with it.
And while RZIM has not responded further to our queries regarding new allegations that have surfaced, including the revelation that Ravi Zacharias co-owned a spa that employed pseudoscientific Ayurveda services, yoga, and that Ravi’s former business partner accused him of sexually assaulting the staff- a claim co-signed by several women who worked there and were the object of his unwanted advances, we are hopeful with enough pressure they may yet.
In the new statement to The Christian Post, RZIM says:
“In April 2017, Ravi Zacharias received a letter from an attorney representing Bradley and Lori Anne Thompson of Ontario, Canada, presenting allegations and threatening litigation by the Thompsons against Mr. Zacharias. The letter threatened that litigation was forthcoming, or, ‘in the alternative of protracted and public litigation, the Thompsons will sign a release of you and your church and ministry in exchange for a certified check in the amount of $5 million dollars made payable to the Bryant Law Center, Lori Anne Thompson and Bradley Thompson within thirty days of today’s date and mailed to the above address.’
“In response to this demand letter, Ravi notified the board of the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and personally filed a lawsuit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in August 2017. The Thompsons, through their attorneys, then requested to enter into mediation
to resolve the matter without going to trial. In November 2017, Ravi consented to resolve his lawsuit and the matter through mediation—a process that resulted in a resolution agreed to by both parties.
“In addition to these legal proceedings and the investigations underlying them, this matter was independently and rigorously investigated in 2018 at the initiative of the denomination that issued Ravi’s ministerial credentials, the Christian & Missionary Alliance. That investigation included multiple
interviews with the parties and a review of all available documents and records. The denomination concluded, ‘…the available evidence does not provide a basis for formal discipline…’
“As is widely known, Ravi Zacharias died May 19, 2020. Subsequently, some have called on his family and/or ministry to release the Thompsons from the confidentiality agreement they entered into with Ravi some two-and-a-half years prior to his death. Since RZIM was not a party to the agreement, it is unable to alter it, and his family does not feel it proper to alter it without Ravi’s knowledge or consent. Before he died, however, Ravi addressed allegations that he solicited inappropriate photos from Lori Anne Thompson or otherwise engaged in communications of a sexual nature with her in an 800-word public statement in December 2017. In that statement, he denied any sexually or romantically inappropriate conduct. He stood by that statement until his death. His denial is consistent with the character of the man we knew and worked alongside for years.
“Also since his death in May, allegations by Mrs. Thompson against Ravi have resurfaced in the public domain. This prompted calls for RZIM and/or the Zacharias family to conduct further investigation into this matter. In light of these developments, we, the Board of RZIM have reviewed the matter again and conclude the following:
1) Ravi Zacharias was never physically alone with Mrs. Thompson nor did he send her photos of himself.
2) There is no evidence that he solicited photos of her—an allegation Ravi vehemently denied in his public statement in December 2017. Furthermore, no evidence to the contrary has ever been presented.
3) Ravi addressed his communication with Mrs. Thompson in his December 2017 statement and we agree with him that it was wrong to have engaged in ongoing communication of a personal nature with a woman other than his wife.
4) We believe Ravi should have immediately disclosed the fact that Mrs. Thompson sent inappropriate photographs to him.
5) We have long had policies regarding physical safeguards to protect both our team members and leaders as well as those they come in contact with to prevent interactions that could ever prove harmful to either party. In 2018, we implemented electronic communication safeguards and policies for that purpose as well. We regret not having put the electronic communication safeguards in place sooner.
“We respect that there are those who disagree with us about this process and our current disposition. Finally, we reaffirm our commitment to the mission and work of RZIM—to reach and challenge those who shape the ideas of culture with the credibility of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
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