ABUSE & VIOLENCE IN THE CHURCH, Bill Gothard, Failure to Report Crimes, IBLP and ATI, LAWSUITS, Mental Health and the Church, Modesty and Purity Teachings, Sexual Abuse/Assault and Churches, Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Authority, Spiritual Bullies, Women and the Church

While the Board of Bill Gothard’s Former Ministry, IBLP, Claims Judge Dismissed Lawsuit, Attorney for Plaintiffs Says Four New Plaintiffs Have Come Forward

Bill Gothard, Sexual Grooming, Lawsuit, IBLP Board, 4 New Plaintiffs, Lawsuit Not Dismissed


It’s been a while since we’ve had an update on the lawsuit brought on by former volunteers/workers at Bill Gothard’s former ministry who were allegedly sexually groomed by Bill Gothard. In November, Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) published a statement regarding the lawsuit filed on behalf of the five plaintiffs. The statement was notably directed toward David Gibbs III, the attorney representing the five women.

But as we commonly find in public statements, there was more than one statement released. They obviously didn’t want you to know they changed the wording, but those of us who have been following cases like this know how this works, and we try to grab screen shots. Thankfully, with a little assistance, I have obtained a very :::cough, cough:::: interesting screen shot that IBLP probably wishes I didn’t have.

Here is the wording they want you to read (and is currently on the IBLP site):

Dear Friends and Supporters,

In late October, we received notice that a legal complaint had been filed against the Institute in Basic Life Principles and its individual Board members. The persons bringing the lawsuit are five women who were former staff or volunteers with IBLP, and the attorney representing them is David Gibbs, III.*

This complaint is based upon alleged behavior of Mr. Bill Gothard some 15-20 or more years ago. However, Mr. Gibbs elected not to sue Mr. Gothard, but instead chose to sue IBLP and its current Board members, all of whom joined the Board less than 4 years ago.

Attorney Gibbs has used the media to propagate false and misleading statements against the current IBLP Board. We want you to know that the Board has not been involved in any “cover-up” or “conspiracy” and we welcome the opportunity to refute the many false allegations against us.

With respect to the allegation that the current Board members are relocating IBLP operations to Texas in order to “flee the jurisdiction” of Illinois, this is simply not true. We have openly shared that our reasons for moving are to consolidate our operations to fewer locations in an effort to reduce expenses. We believe that ministry funds are best directed toward ministry efforts and serving others, and not toward the maintenance of facilities and properties that are no longer useful for current needs.

The case is now in a court of law, leaving a judge and perhaps a jury to examine the propriety of the conduct of all involved. The current Board members take their duties and responsibilities seriously and trust that this process will reveal the truth.

The Board has prayerfully walked through the circumstances of the past two years. We want you to know that we will continue to walk this through day by day, seeking the Lord for guidance and wisdom.

We as a Board, along with the staff, remain committed to taking this ministry forward in a Christ-honoring direction by strengthening individuals, families, and churches in God’s Word. Please pray with us to that end.

Sincerely in Christ,
Board of Directors
Institute in Basic Life Principles, Inc.
November 13, 2015

* Not to be confused with his father David Gibbs, Jr.


When I originally read the statement, the ending was different. When reading the excerpt highlighted in yellow below, I actually laughed out loud because of their obvious faux pas:



David Gibbs III, IBLP, Bill Gothard, Sex abuse lawsuit
Screenshot of first statement released.


Why is that funny?  Because IBLP just admitted to the world that David Gibbs, Jr. (father of Attorney David C. Gibbs III who is representing the victims/plaintiffs in the lawsuit), is a friend of IBLP. Now why did they remove that phrase? What are they trying to hide? Remember – David Gibbs, Jr. is the one who led the investigation into the actions/behavior of Bill Gothard. If Gibbs, Jr. is a friend of IBLP, that obviously means he is not an independent investigator, but one who has IBLP’s best interest at heart. There is no way Gibbs, Jr. could have been unbiased in this investigation. The Board realizes this and I believe that is why the phrase, a friend of IBLP was removed.

:::And all of God’s people gave a collective word of thanks for modern technology and screen shots! ::::

IBLP is known for promoting good character and integrity. It would be wise of them to carefully consider all of their words before posting them on the internet where digital footprints can prove to be embarrassing and kick them in the you-know-where.

I was also puzzled about the Friday the 13th post date. Who posts public statements on a Friday? Perhaps people who know they should release a public statement, but don’t want much fanfare – that’s my speculation.

Okay, we will come back to more wording in the above statement, but first, let’s move ahead a few weeks. Look what was added to the statement:

*** Update: On Wednesday, December 2, 2015, a circuit judge of DuPage County, Illinois dismissed this lawsuit. ***

When I clicked on the link, it brought me to this statement:



IBLP sex abuse lawsuit, Bill Gothard, David C. Gibbs III


In the new update, IBLP claims that the judge has dismissed the lawsuit. This left me puzzled. It made no sense that the judge would dismiss the case, so I contacted Attorney David C. Gibbs III for an update. He confirmed to me that IBLP’s statement is untrue – the judge did not dismiss the case. However, the judge is allowing Gibbs to amend the complaint for 2 purposes: 1) to provide further details on the plaintiff’s accounts, and 2) to add four additional plaintiffs to the lawsuit. Yes, you read that correctly, now there are nine plaintiffs who have bravely come forward to join the lawsuit against IBLP.

Now, going back to the original statement above, IBLP claimed the following:

This complaint is based upon alleged behavior of Mr. Bill Gothard some 15-20 or more years ago. However, Mr. Gibbs elected not to sue Mr. Gothard, but instead chose to sue IBLP and its current Board members, all of whom joined the Board less than 4 years ago.

When Mr. Gibbs relayed to me the age of the youngest plaintiff, 19 years old, it’s obvious that we are not talking about cases 15-20 years ago, as was noted in the statement above, this is fairly recent. We can all be certain there were no 1- to 4-year-olds working for Mr. Gothard, right? So either they are covering up something or have conveniently “forgotten” about this 19-yr old.

Regarding the following statement:

We want you to know that the Board has not been involved in any “cover-up” or “conspiracy” and we welcome the opportunity to refute the many false allegations against us.

Mr. Gibbs made it clear to me that he and the plaintiffs have always welcomed the opportunity to discuss these issues, but the Board was unwilling. It left him no choice but to file a lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs.

There are some troubling issues I have. If the Board believes Gothard to be innocent, why didn’t they bring Bill Gothard back after their friend’s investigation cleared him? And why is he still not allowed on the IBLP campus? This makes no sense.

As I spoke with Mr. Gibbs, he shared with me in general terms the backgrounds of some of the plaintiffs – they were vulnerable. The backgrounds show classic patterns that we see in sex abuse/pedophile cases in which a pedophile grooms someone who is vulnerable, seeks their trust, makes them feel “special,” isolates them from others, and then abuses that trust (by sexual grooming, spiritual abuse, sex abuse, etc). As I’m typing this, I’m reminded of a phone call I took recently in which someone who was sexually groomed described this exact scenario. I could have asked her to stop talking and finished the story for her because it is that common.

The plaintiffs in this lawsuit were prone to alleged sexual grooming because of their vulnerability. When these victims reached out to report their accounts, many were re-victimized when they were not believed and were told things such as, “Mr. Gothard would never do such a thing. You must be imagining this. What did you do to cause this to happen?” This left devastating effects on victims’ emotional and spiritual health.

We have heard reports upwards of 40 personal accounts of alleged sexual grooming and spiritual abuse by Mr. Gothard. Some do not want anything to do with Gothard or IBLP anymore. But these nine brave individuals have decided that they would like an impartial judge and jury to hear their case. They will not be swayed by this organization’s so-called character values or Mr. Gothard’s charismatic personality. The IBLP Board failed to protect these young women. Their cases were reportedly mishandled. Let’s hope and pray that a court will be able to discern the truth and justice will be served.


22 thoughts on “While the Board of Bill Gothard’s Former Ministry, IBLP, Claims Judge Dismissed Lawsuit, Attorney for Plaintiffs Says Four New Plaintiffs Have Come Forward”

  1. The 19-year-old woman must have been subjected to Bill’s disgusting behavior while she was still underage. Will she file criminal charges? If she hasn’t yet, she should.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good clarification! Too bad the IBLP board isn’t being truthful and honest with it’s followers. It’s a “do as I say, not as I do” board.


  3. I read, and then re-read the IBLP paragraph several times. Very confused wording that didn’t match the headline. Some of my initial thoughts were, “The lawsuit wasn’t dismissed, it was amended. Don’t they have anyone who can write about that concept accurately? [I’m an editor. I ask those kinds of questions.] They’ve got the funds to do that.”

    And then I thought, “They’re part of ECFA …” So I went to their profile and found they have over $70 million in assets, so yes, they can afford to hire a writer.


    So I thought, “I wonder why they posted this. It could boomerang back to show either they don’t understand legal processes when they should’ve — or maybe they do understand legal processes and didn’t want it clear.” [I’m a research writer. I ask those kinds of questions.]

    So, if I’m asking these types of questions and wondering about the motives behind a $70+ million company posting something that confused, and coming to some opinions about the why/why-not therefore, well, perhaps others will be too …

    Either way, and anyway, I think it could be a sign they’re in trouble.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Exactly, Brad. Amending lawsuits is nothing even close to saying a judge dismissed a lawsuit. Attorneys amend complaints all the time. To word it as they did is clearly an effort to make Gibbs and plaintiffs look bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so glad to see those screen shots were saved. Very telling, aren’t they? It’s kind of amazing what organizations are used to getting away with within their comfortable little Christian world.

    Here is a pertinent quote from Andrew Shubin, the lawyer who represented 9 of Sandusky’s victims (and who, btw, I wish was lending his expertise to this case!):

    “Accountability lies not just with Jerry Sandusky,” he said. “Putting the predator away, in some ways, is just the easy part. In the Penn State case, as in most cases of institutional abuse, there is a conspiracy with the institution itself to enable that abuse to occur. In this particular case, it happened for so many years to so many people.”

    “There really was a sinister lack of curiosity about what was happening and what they heard about what Sandusky was doing to the boys in the showers and in the locker rooms. I hope that everyone who was involved in this, everyone who enabled it, everyone who failed these children, will be held accountable. That’s my hope,” Mr. Shubin said.”

    As you pointed out above, Julie Ann, some patterns are well known and repeat themselves.

    ( Above quotes from this article http://www.post-gazette.com/news/state/2014/11/14/Attorney-for-Sandusky-sex-abuse-victims-speaks-out/stories/201411140076 )

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Did the IBLP think that nobody would notice? Did they count on the fact that most people won’t bother to look into it and see if it’s true or not? Probably.

    Unfortunately for them, someone is paying attention.


  7. Shy1, you are exactly correct. This is systemic abuse. It’s not just about Gothard, it’s the whole system, including the Board that Gothard hand selected. Gothard was the primary figure of his ministry. He was the main attraction. The Board knows this. Without Gothard, what is IBLP? They have lost a lot of $$. Of course, they don’t want to sabotage their “ministry” and put Gothard on the chopping block. It’s easier to act like they don’t know anything. The court will decide how much they knew and how responsible they were to do something.

    By the way, if you haven’t seen Spotlight, that is exactly what the movie is about: systemic abuse. It is so good.


  8. Julie,
    You’re right that lawsuits are amended all the time but it’s also probably true that the judge “dismissed” the original Complaint (not the whole lawsuit) and required plaintiffs to file an amended complaint with more detail and allowing them to add more plaintiffs. IBLP certainly gave a misleading explanation, though, by making it sound like the whole case was dismissed!

    Keep on them!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. While the Board of Bill Gothard’s Former Ministry, IBLP, Claims Judge Dismissed Lawsuit,

    Because that Ees Party Line, Comrades.

    Oceania has always been at peace with Eurasia, and the chocolate ration has been INCREASED from twenty grams to ten.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. P.S.
    — Mythbusters (though they said that as a joke; these MenaGAWD are dead serious)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Of course, they don’t want to sabotage their “ministry” and put Gothard on the chopping block. It’s easier to act like they don’t know anything.

    — Sgt Schultz


  12. Brad: if they have a skilled editor on staff they are working in the kitchen for a few years to prove their loyalty before being allowed to do use their talents


  13. Hey I hate to sound overly critical on Christmas Eve but it looks to me like this board, they flat out lied.

    I wonder what they hoped to accomplish with their deceit.

    Having said that, in the Spirit of the season perhaps there is a logical explaination that we should have enough grace to consider ?

    Maybe ole Bill insisted on drafting the statement himself and just kind of put some intern’s foot on his mouth.


  14. It strikes me that if they are representing a lawsuit dismissed and refiled as if it were simply dismissed, then IBLP is more or less conceding the claim that they’re trying to sweep these things under the rug. I am reminded of Proverbs 28:1, which notes that the wicked flee when no one pursues–IBLP is getting at least pretty close.

    And a 19 year old complainant? Ouch. I would not be surprised if there were a lot more complainants in the next few months, since this would indicate that the behavior did not stop decades ago. And yes, criminal charges could occur, since the age of consent in Illinois is 17, and Gothard’s ministry crossed state lines–that’s what put Jack Schaap in jail.


  15. With a 19yr old victim (someone underage at the time of abuse) it would really be remiss if they didn’t go after Gothard.

    And I agree with “Shy1”, these victims need… DESERVE a stronger legal counsel.


  16. Please name the board that Bill Gothard is supposedly subject to be governed through. The original board was public, why are the current not named?


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