The Christian organisation Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) has admitted that its founder did engage in sexual misconduct and that a full review of his behaviour will be published early next year.
Ravi Zacharias was a preacher, famous across the world and popular because of his apologetic skills and evangelistic ministry.
He died aged 74 from cancer in May this year and in August 2020 a number of allegations around sexual misconduct were made.
They came from three women who worked in spas which he co-owned, who claim he touched them inappropriately, exposed himself and propositioned them for sex on multiple occasions.
Independent law firm Miller & Martin were brought in to investigate by RZIM and produced an interim report, which read: "we have found significant, credible evidence that Mr. Zacharias engaged in sexual misconduct over the course of many years. Some of that misconduct is consistent with and corroborative of that which is reported in the news recently, and some of the conduct we have uncovered is more serious."
They say an investigation team has interviewed dozens of witnesses, including many massage therapists who treated Zacharias at the Touch of Eden and Javan Wellness spas.
"In addition to witness interviews, we have reviewed numerous documents and electronic devices used by Mr Zacharias over the years," they add.
"While some of the massage therapists we have tried to interview are not willing to share their experiences with us, many have spoken candidly and with great detail. Combining those interviews with our review of documents and electronic data, we have found significant, credible evidence that Mr. Zacharias engaged in sexual misconduct over the course of many years. Some of that misconduct is consistent with and corroborative of that which is reported in the news recently, and some of the conduct we have uncovered is more serious. Our investigation is ongoing, and we continue to pursue leads."
The executive committee of RZIM's board of directors responded in a statement, saying: "This misconduct is deeply troubling and wholly inconsistent with the man Ravi Zacharias presented both publicly and privately to so many over more than four decades of public ministry. We are heartbroken at learning this but feel it necessary to be transparent and to inform our staff, donors, and supporters at this time, even while the investigation continues. We will speak more comprehensively to all concerned after the completion of the investigation."
"This preliminary statement is not intended to cut short the investigation or predict its full outcome. We want to ensure the investigators have appropriate time and space to complete their work and allow all those who may still desire to have a voice in this process to do so. We ask for continued patience as we complete a lengthy process of investigating serious allegations.
"RZIM will publicly release the Miller & Martin report as given to the Board as soon as possible after the investigation is complete. In the meantime, we share your compassion for any victims of this conduct, and we appreciate your prayers for them and also for Ravi's family who have been devastated by this information. As ever, the Lord remains our principal hope for healing and restoration."
The investigation will end in January or early February and a final written report will be given to RZIM, which they have promised to release publicly.