The woman who says Ravi Zacharias coerced her into an inappropriate sexual relationship has released a video recounting how the alleged abuse has impacted her, despite a nondisclosure agreement still in place.
Lori Anne Thompson released the nearly 17-minute long video on her website and social media on Monday. In late 2016 and early 2017 she had first come forward with the accounts of abuse, which Zacharias and his ministry, RZIM, denied. At the time, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the denomination which held Zacharias' ministry credentials, said the "evidence does not provide basis for formal disciple under the C&MA policy."
She recounted the grooming process that Zacharias conducted in a letter obtained by the Roys Report in 2020.
Zacharias later sued the woman and settled with her, which included the non-disclosure agreement. She has since attempted to be released from the NDA from Zacharias' family which they have denied.
"My words belong to me, and I take them back today."
"I can’t imagine something that I would like to talk about less, but need to talk about more," Thompson says in the opening of the statement on Monday.
She goes on to recount the abuse she suffered at the hands of her own father throughout her childhood. She says that when she met Zacharias at an event in 2014 she thought he would be a safe person to bring her questions about God, faith, and suffering that she was left with given her upbringing.
"It is my belief that RZ targeted me from the moment that he saw me. He had his assistant take my email at that event and an online seemingly innocent dialogue ensued for an extended period."
Thompson says that now, in hindsight, the day she met Zacharias "was one of the worst days of my life — and as you can imagine — I have had a few."
In refuting the original claims, Thompson says that Zacharias (whom she refers to throughout the transcript of the statement as RZ) "used a former local church abuse experience where my husband and I had been victim of financially and spiritually abusive cleric, to support his fantastical claim that we were a litigious couple who sued people for financial gain. While this narrative is as verifiably false as it is reprehensible — it was also widely parroted and propagated by RZIM. RZ as an individual and RZIM as an institution took a prior abuse situation that had fractured my husband and I years previously, and used that information to publicly and falsely crucify us. The consequences of trying to hold RZ to account for his abusive and predatory behaviour was that my husband and I not only had to endure endless interpersonal atrocities — we were also widely publicly humiliated and vilified."
She tells of the fallout, nearly splitting her family apart and causing financial hardship as they family lost their faith communities and moved cities as a result.
RZIM hired Atlanta law firm, Miller & Martin, to investigate Zacharias' actions after several former employees of a day spa he owned came forward with more allegations of sexual misconduct. On December 23, 2020, the firm released an initial report stating that the investigation uncovered "credible evidence" that Zacharias had “engaged in sexual misconduct over many years.”
The full report was expected to be released in late January or early February, but so far has not. The law firm heading the investigation has not responded to CHVN's inquiries on when to expect the report.
In breaking her silence and the NDA, Thompson says, "RZ’s secrets sins and public shame do not be belong to me and I verbally and publically send them back to him and RZIM. I have repeatedly requested to be released from my NDA. To date, no release has come. So be it. My words belong to me, and I take them back today."
In closing, Thompson encourages other victims, saying, "To my fellow survivors, hold fast. There is hope. There is help. All will not always be lost. What happened to you does not have the last word. You do. It is hope that this is my final statement on my own behalf — I will never stop speaking on yours."
Watch the full statement:
Victim Impact Statement https://t.co/6brqCntKiW— Lori Anne Thompson R Kin. BSCH Kin. MA CHAD (@LoriAnneThomps2) February 8, 2021