'Mistakes have been made' in handling of Ravi Zacharias allegations, says UK branch of RZIM

The sexual misconduct scandal involving late apologist Ravi Zacharias has "significant ramifications" for the the UK branch of the ministry he founded. 

The board of the Zacharias Trust - the UK division of RZIM - wrote to staff just before Christmas to say that the global ministry had been "damaged in this country by the historic and current issues" exposed by recent reports into Zacharias.

The letter says that "mistakes have been made" and that victims "have not been listened to or treated with compassion in the past". 

Zacharias died in May last year from cancer. Shortly after his death, US magazine Christianity Today published a lengthy report detailing claims of sexual misconduct made by former massage therapists at a day spa he co-owned in Atlanta, Georgia. 

This followed a separate report by independent journalist Julie Roys repeating previous allegations by Canadian woman Lori Anne Thompson that she was a victim of Zacharias. 

These reports prompted his denomination, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, to launch a second investigation into his conduct in October, before RZIM announced it would be commencing its own external investigation spearheaded by Miller and Martin PLLC. 

On December 23, RZIM released a statement on the preliminary findings of the Miller and Martin investigation confirming that the claims against its founder appeared to be true. The full report into the findings is to be released this month. 

In the UK, the Zacharias Trust issued its letter to staff on the same day in which it acknowledged that the credibility and reputation of people associated with RZIM was being "damaged". 

"It is clear that this global ministry has been damaged in this country by the historic and current issues which have been raised in recent weeks," the letter reads.

"What is taking place in the US has significant ramifications for how the ministry is viewed in the UK and elsewhere, and mistakes have been made.

"We are committed to addressing them and to alleviating their impact as much as possible. We also recognise that the alleged victims have not been listened to or treated with compassion in the past." 

The letter goes on to say that trust must be rebuilt with staff "so that they can in all conscience continue to work with us".

"We must also rebuild trust with our partner churches and with supporters in order that our speakers can be welcomed to the right platforms in the UK to present the Gospel to their audiences," the Zacharias Trust said. 

It concluded the letter by saying that it was seeking "as a matter of urgency" from the US board a "profound apology" to victims and a commitment to "engaging and listening to them to reach a point of reconciliation".

It also speaks of the need to transform the culture of RZIM and calls for a commitment to "reform radically" its governance, leadership and accountability structures. 

"Conversations between the UK and the US on these subjects have already started. We believe that some of these reforms should be implemented before the findings of the investigation are made public, which means coming to an agreement in the next few weeks," the board concluded.