Five more women have brought lawsuits against Bill Gothard, the founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), accusing him of sexual abuse.
Christianity Today reports that the five women add their lawsuits to the lawsuits of five other women who have accused Gothard.
The lawsuits claim that the IBLP incorrectly handled the accusations against Gothard.
One woman claims that Gothard raped her, but Gothard denies all the charges, stating, “Oh no. Never never. Oh! That’s horrible. Never in my life have I touched a girl sexually. I’m shocked to even hear that.”
However, Gothard did admit that he "was very wrong in holding hands, giving hugs, and touching [the] hair and feet" of the "young ladies" whom he selected as his personal assistants (or for other roles at IBLP headquarters). He adds: "I was also wrong in making statements that caused emotional turmoil and confusion."
Gothard said that he has attempted to contact each woman whom he hurt, asking for forgiveness. He says because he has done what he can to make the situation right, that he is ready to return to ministry.
The women who are accusing Gothard were all part of IBLP in some way.
“The unsupervised counseling received by young women … by patriarchal figures (who were agents and employees of IBLP) was a standard part of IBLP programs and activities,” states the lawsuit.
Publication date: January 8, 2016
Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the outdoors, or reading, she can be found mostly in Richmond, VA writing primarily about nature, nostalgia, faith, family, and Jane Austen.