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US judge rules ministry can be sued by donors over leader Ravi Zacharias' sexual abuse

by Premier Journalist

A federal court in the US state of Georgia has said that Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) can be sued by donors seeking a refund of their contributions. 

A group of donors had lodged a class-action lawsuit against RZIM arguing that their money had been used to pay off Ravi Zacharias' victims and help protect his public image. 

"[RZIM] bilked hundreds of millions of dollars from well-meaning contributors, who believed RZIM and Zacharias to be faith-filled Christian leaders," the lawsuit reads. 

It continued: "In fact, Zacharias was a prolific sexual predator who used his ministry and RZIM funds to perpetrate sexual and spiritual abuse against women."

In February 2021, an independent investigation revealed Ravi Zacharias had engaged in "sexting, unwanted touching, spiritual abuse, and rape" while leader of RZIM.

Speaking to the Christian Post, Brad R. Sohn whose law represents the group, said he was "pleased" the court has permitted "the bulk of the legal claims to survive." 

"There were arguments that the allegations as stated, lacked the required level of specificity for claims involving fraud, among others."Certainly we are pleased that largely we prevailed," Sohn continued.

"The next significant step in the case will be discovery - the exchange of written documents and the sworn deposition testimony of important witnesses. 

"There is a lot of fact-finding to do and we look forward to that challenge, as we work to deliver for our clients and the proposed class."

The court has also dismissed Margaret Zacharias, the widow of the late apologist, as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Since the revelations came about, RZIM has closed down its work. In a statement, they said: "We have endeavored to honor the biblical exhortation to be “quick to hear, slow to speak,” even when some narratives about RZIM differ from our experience. Our focus has been instead to repent and learn from our mistakes. We remain committed to supporting ministries that present the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to those with deep questions in challenging settings around the world."

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