Evangelist Ravi Zacha­rias posthumously accused of sexual abuse

Christianity Today magazine reported that three women who worked as massage therapists at spas co-owned by the late Christian evan­gelist Ravi Zacha­rias claimed that he repeatedly masturbated and ex­posed himself during massage sessions and made unwanted sexual advances.

Although Ravi Zacharias International Ministries denied the allegations, it has launched what it called an “independent external investigation” into the claims. The findings of the investigation will be reported to the ministry’s executive committee.

The allegations against Zacharias were first made in a YouTube video by Steve Baughman, a San Francisco–based lawyer and seminary student. Baughman claimed to have talked to a number of employees at the spas owned by Zacharias.

In 2017, Zacharias settled a lawsuit with a Canadian couple who had claimed the evangelist had a sexting relationship with Lori Anne Thompson, a married woman who supported his ministry. The settlement, which had been filed by Zacharias, required the couple to sign a nondisclosure agreement.

After Zacharias died in May, Thomp­son posted a video online, asking to be released from the NDA.

According to Christianity Today, Zacharias co-owned a pair of spas in the Atlanta area, including one called Touch of Eden, which closed in 2008. The other was called Jivan Wellness and was run in the same location as the first spa.

Zacharias, who came to fame after speaking at a Billy Graham conference in Amsterdam in the 1980s, traveled the world as an evangelist and apologist, making reasoned arguments for the Christian faith. He was the author of more than 20 books and was an ordained minister in the Christian and Missionary Alliance. 

Bob Smietana

Bob Smietana is a Religion News Service national reporter.

All articles »