IHOPKC’s early findings on sexual assault allegations show a rift between current and previous leadership
International House of Prayer in Kansas City issued a report From my preliminary findings regarding sexual assault allegations against the ministry’s founder.
The report dismisses some of the allegations made by former IHOPKC leaders last month that prompted the department’s current leadership team to ask Mike Bickle to step down from public ministry “to allow for a proper investigation.”
“After three weeks of examination, IHOPKC identified five of the eight alleged victims,” said the report, dated November 15 and posted on the ministry’s website. “Three of these five have publicly described these allegations as false, the fourth did not wish to communicate with IHOPKC’s attorneys, and the fifth’s allegations relate to incidents that preceded the founding of IHOPKC.”
The report also criticized the motives of what it called the “complaint group” that brought the allegations to IHOPKC leaders, saying the men “did not have permission to include at least four of the women on the list of alleged victims.”
The publication of the findings raises more questions about the allegations and how the investigation was handled. It also highlights the deep rift between former IHOPKC leaders and the current leadership team.
Dwayne Roberts, a member of the group that reported the allegations, He said in a statement to the Ruiz Reporta Christian media outlet, said that IHOPKC’s initial findings were “disappointing on several levels.”
“We are of the firm belief that no charge should be brought against an elderly person unless there are two or three witnesses,” said Roberts, a founding member of IHOPKC. “The fact that nearly 20 witnesses have come forward with first-hand experience of wrongdoing is why we cannot remain silent any longer.”
Bickel, 68, founded IHOPKC in 1999 as a 24/7 evangelical and missionary organization with its global headquarters in south Kansas City. He has not responded publicly to these accusations Featured on October 27 When leaders called a meeting to inform employees. They originally described Bickel’s alleged actions as “misconduct.” He later said the allegations were “troubling.” It included “sexual immorality.”
The day after IHOPKC leaders told staff about Bickel, the three former leaders issued a statement saying they had informed the leadership team of the allegations. They described the incidents as “clergy sexual abuse” and said they found the allegations “credible and long-standing.”
The newly released report said that on October 24, the complaints group submitted to the IHOPKC executive leadership team allegations that it said were made by eight women representing it.
The leadership team took the allegations seriously and within days began consulting with outside legal experts on how best to handle the case, the report said.
“It is important that, at all times, allegations were treated as if they were credible in order to care for any past or present victim, while objective due diligence should have been undertaken,” the report said. “However, after review by outside legal counsel, it was determined that the collection and presentation of the allegations by the Complaint Group lacked any semblance of reliability or due process.”
She said the document the group prepared to advance its presentation of the allegations “contains no actual evidence: no statements from victims, whether sworn or not, and no emails, texts or other documents between Mr. Bickle and the president.” Alleged victim to substantiate allegations (only empty boxes serve as placeholders for display).”
The report stated that the group’s claims were accompanied by a list of demands.
“These demands and threats, which included dictating the use of IHOPKC funds, generated an atmosphere of concern about the true goals of the complaint group,” the statement read.
The report also said that “it has become abundantly clear over the past three weeks that four of the women were presented as alleged victims without their consent.”
She added that some of the allegations were contained in a document while others were made orally.
She added that three women mentioned in the document were identified by their initials. She added that five unidentified Jane Does were also listed, but the complainant group did not provide their names or any details about the allegations.
“IHOPKC subsequently obtained the names of two additional women orally during talks the week of October 24,” the report said. “At that point, a total of five alleged victims have been identified by name.”
The report said the first woman’s claims that Bickle romantically stalked her and “evilly manipulated” her more than 25 years ago could not be verified.
“The allegation contains only six short lines of text and is non-sexual,” she added. “It does not contain first-person statements by the alleged victim herself. … It remains unclear whether she gave permission for her name to be included as the alleged victim.”
As for the second woman, “partial credibility has been established,” the report said. She added that the allegation dates back 26 years before IHOPKC was established.
“The allegations include physical contact between Mr. Bickle and an adult female; It also suggests that Mr. Bickle may have committed a crime, the report said. “IHOPKC has been unable to determine whether this criminal allegation has any credibility.”
IHOPKC’s lawyer tried unsuccessfully to contact the woman, the report said. On November 10, IHOPKC learned that the founder of GRACE — a Virginia nonprofit whose name stands for Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment — was representing it.
The report said the third allegation made to commanders was that a woman had been romantically stalked and was the victim of “prophetic manipulation” by Bickle from 2013 to 2018. But on Nov. 2, the report said, she publicly refuted that she had been. victim.
“The woman also sent a letter to IHOPKC’s attorneys stating that the complainant group were ‘bullies’ and that she never gave them permission to use her name,” the statement read.
A fourth woman, identified as Bickle’s victim by the leader of the complaining group, issued a lengthy public statement on Oct. 31 in which she said she was not a victim, the report said.
A fifth woman also on Oct. 31 refuted any allegations that she was sexually or spiritually abused by Bickle, issuing a public statement on her social media account, the report said.
A sixth woman emailed IHOPKC leadership on Nov. 3 saying she was hurt when she heard her name had come up in connection with the allegations against Bickel, the report said. She said she vehemently denied “that any form of abuse or any inappropriate relationship with Mr. Bickel ever occurred.”
The report concluded that bringing in a third party to investigate the organization was premature “until IHOPKC can establish the credibility of the allegations and the true intentions of the complaint group.”
“IHOPKC remains open to inviting a third party (or even multiple third parties) to examine these results,” she added.
“It is our sincere desire that the alleged anonymous Jane Doss come forward as soon as possible, either directly to IHOPKC’s attorneys, via the complaints group or through its legal representative, so that IHOPKC can then take the appropriate next steps,” the statement read. .
In a memo to followers dated November 15, the executive leadership team said that IHOPKC is committed to investigating allegations of sexual assault and that “if you have been a victim of any form of sexual assault, past or present, or if you have been a victim or witness to any crime, please Report it immediately to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.
“We encourage you to report any form of sexual assault to IHOPKC staff as well,” she added. We are ready to provide pastoral care and advice.
The crisis “highlighted things in our organization that need to be improved,” the memo said, adding that some issues needed to be addressed immediately.
She said the first change to be implemented would be to announce a “clear and simple process and protocol for people who wish to report any form of sexual assault.”
The memo also addressed concerns raised about hiring a law firm to conduct an independent investigation. The leaders originally announced their appointment to Stinson LLP, a national law firm with an office in Kansas City. But last week, after a Change.org petition began circulating calling for them to hire GRACE, they told their followers that they had decided to instead keep a local law firm.
The leaders refuse to provide the name of the company.
“As you understand, IHOPKC will not disclose the name of the law firm in order to protect attorneys and their families from Cancel Culture,” Lenny LaGuardia, a member of the leadership team, said in an email to The Star on. Thursday.
They said Stinson LLP was initially appointed because it was one of the largest firms in the country representing victims of sexual assault in the context of religious organizations.
“Since one of the allegations made would be considered criminal in nature, we believe that attorneys like Stinson’s team, composed of subject matter experts and former federal prosecutors, will be the most adept at examining all the facts comprehensively and legally.” P.S. said. “We still believe so, which is why, after many expressed a lack of confidence in a national law firm, we decided to choose a local Kansas City law firm with a reputable attorney to interview the alleged victims.”
The memo acknowledged that many in the IHOPKC community and on social media were calling for the use of a third-party who specializes in church abuse rather than a law firm to conduct a wide-ranging investigation.
Although leaders are not opposed to using an outside party, GRACE cannot be that party because its founder now represents Bickle’s main accuser, she said.
“This attorney is also currently listed as a board member on the GRACE website,” the IHOPKC leaders’ memo said. “This represents a clear conflict of interest for GRACE and disqualifies the organization as a candidate to be an objective third party.”
They were referring to Boz Tchividjian, Former child abuse prosecutor and grandson of the late Rev. Billy Graham who founded GRACE in 2003. In 2018, IHOPKC appointed GRACE to conduct an independent investigation into Allegations from a woman in Washington who said an IHOPKC missionary sexually abused her for two and a half years when she was a teenager and he was a youth pastor at a Baptist church in Modesto, California.
The results of this investigation have not been announced.