A victim advocacy group says sexual assault allegations against singer Chris Rice are “credible.”
The group, Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE), released its 29-page report as part of an 18-month investigation.
The Roys Report reports that the investigation was commissioned by Tates Creek Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Kentucky.
According to the report, Rice worked with the church from 1995 to 2003 and led worship and high school and college retreats.
The victim, called “Alan Doe,” told investigators that Rice started giving him massages when he was 14 or 15 and groped him when he was 17 or 18.
GRACE said Rice’s attorney “declined to speak with GRACE investigators.”
Attorneys for Rice also did not respond to requests for comment from The Roys Report.
Rice’s alleged actions are consistent with “an abuse of power, grooming, and sexual misconduct and abuse,” the report said.
The report said Rice built trust with Alan Doe at a camp, and then the teenager visited Rice’s home. Massages then led to sexual contact.
“He was my accountability partner from Franklin, Tennessee, without my parents knowing at all,” Alan Doe told investigators.
Doe said Rice pressured him over time to sleep in the same bed with him. He said that led to increasing levels of physical contact.
“I just want people to be on guard,” Alan Doe told investigators. “I just don’t want anybody else to be taken advantage of like this, God forbid. It’s just not right.”
Two other men, who were older than 18 at the time of the allegations, said they were also approached by Rice. They told GRACE that Rice suggested massages and also talked about other sexual topics.
Robert Cunningham, the senior pastor of Tates Creek, released a statement, confessing the church’s “institutional” and “cultural” failures revealed by the report.
“We are ashamed that it took a public scandal for us to seriously revisit policies and procedures, but unfortunately, that is the case,” Cunningham wrote. “We are deeply sorry and ask forgiveness, especially from the survivors who were hurt.”
The report states police aren’t investigating “due to the current preference of ... Alan Doe and the expectation that the appropriate jurisdiction for further reporting and prosecution would be in Tennessee.”
Photo courtesy: ©traveler geek/Unsplash
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.