According to Christianity Today, multiple women have come forward with allegations that the late Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias sexually harassed them over a period of several years at a spa he co-owned in Georgia.
Three women who worked at the businesses, located in a strip mall in the Atlanta suburbs, told Christianity Today that Ravi Zacharias touched them inappropriately, exposed himself, and masturbated during regular treatments over a period of about five years. His business partner said he regrets not stopping Zacharias and sent an apology text to one of the victims this month.
The women who worked at the spas said when Zacharias wasn’t traveling with RZIM, he came in for treatment two or three times a week. The businesses were a 15-minute drive from the ministry’s headquarters in Alpharetta.
- Christianity Today noted that Zacharias died in May from cancer in his sacrum. He had said he suffered chronic back pain from a back injury he sustained in 1995 and managed the pain with massage and physiotherapy.
- Employees at the spas said Zacharias was kind and took an interest in them, the magazine reported, but that over time he began making unwanted sexual advances.
“He would expose himself every time, and he would touch himself every time,” one of the women told CT. “It was where he went to get what he wanted sexually.”
Zacharias masturbated in front of one of the women more than 50 times, according to her recollection. He told her he was burdened by the demands of the ministry, and he needed this “therapy.” He also asked her to have sex with him twice, she said, and requested explicit photos of her.
- The women told Christianity Today that “they have not spoken up previously because they do not want money, publicity, or even apologies for what happened.”
- Now that Zacharias has died, the women said they want other potential victims to know they are not alone.
- The report noted that three years ago, Zacharias “settled a case against Lori Anne Thompson involving sexting allegations.”
Thompson is not allowed to speak about what happened under the terms of a non-disclosure agreement but has previously detailed how the apologist requested naked photos from her, saying he flattered her and suggested he deserved the sexual release because of the great “cost” of his ministry. In a 2017 statement, Zacharias confirmed their communications and the photos but said they were unsolicited.
- RZIM denied the spa employees’ claims and said in a statement to Christianity Today that the allegations “do not in any way comport with the man we knew for decades.”
The organization has hired a law firm “with experience investigating such matters” to look into the allegations, which date back at least 10 years. RZIM declined to answer any further questions about the inquiry.