A church in Kentucky has released a public statement saying they are investigating charges of sexual abuse against CCM artist Chris Rice after one of their previous male students came forward and alleged that Rice sexually assaulted him on several occasions 20 years ago.
Tates Creek Presbyterian Church in Lexington announced that they were commissioning GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment), a Virginia-based non-profit organization run by Boz Tchividjian (brother of unrepentant, notorious womanizer Tullian Tchividjian) that helps Christian groups confront sexual, psychological, and physical abuses. (In the interests of full disclosure, Protestia and formerly Pulpit and Pen are financial donors to GRACE.)
Tates had an incident last year when one of their past youth pastors named Brad Waller was accused of engaging in impropriate sexual activity with several students between 1995 and 2006. In that case, the youth pastor was rubbing and touching his student’s feet and tricking them into rubbing their feet on his face, filming it, and then using it for auto-erotic stimulation. The Church hired GRACE, they investigated, found it credible, and the youth pastor confessed.
As a result, Tates takes allegations of abuse seriously, and even though Rice has not been employed by the Church for nearly 20 years, the pastor rightfully feels it is their duty to investigate these charges that happened to their students under their care. They released this statement, which can be found in full here:
On multiple occasions between 1995 and 2003, a musician named Chris Rice was hired to lead worship at our youth and college retreats. Mr. Rice was not an employee or member of our congregation…
Through his involvement in our ministry, Mr. Rice developed close relationships with multiple students.
Last week, one of those male students called to inform me of allegations that Mr. Rice had sexually assaulted him on multiple occasions. While these remain allegations at this point, we are treating them as credible because of the source of the allegations and corroborating evidence we have discovered.
Immediately, I informed the police and called a meeting of our church elders. At that meeting, the elders unanimously voted to once again contract with GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) to conduct another independent investigation into these new discoveries. We are determined to uncover the extent of the alleged abuse, along with any way our church and the leadership at that time may have been complicit.
While Rice hasn’t been relevant in the music space for a long time now, he was active and a big deal in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. He is best known for writing the Michael W Smith hit “Welcome to Our World,” releasing albums Deep Enough to Dream and Smell the Color 9, and releasing the controversial (at the time) “Cartoon Song.” Rice also was nominated for and won several Dove awards.
At the time of writing, these are only allegations, and Rice has not publicly commented on it.