Today, I received a note from David C. Gibbs III giving an update on the lawsuit. Gibbs is representing 14 survivors who claim Bill Gothard sexually groomed and/or abused them, and the Board of Institutes in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) failed to respond appropriately to the claims.
Today in DuPage County, Illinois, Attorney David Gibbs III appeared in Court before the Honorable Kenneth L. Popejoy representing the ten current Plaintiffs. Two different law firms appeared in the case on behalf of Defendants IBLP and Bill Gothard.
The Judge granted permission for the Plaintiffs to amend and expand their lawsuit to include at least four new victims (for a minimum total of 14). This current lawsuit will be closed to any new plaintiffs after February 17, 2016. If more abuse victims come forward after that date, they would need to file a new lawsuit.
The Defendants plan to file motions opposing the expanded lawsuit and the next status conference with the court will be April 4, 2016.
The Victims remain open to talking with the Defendants to avoid the necessity of a public jury trial. IBLP is not willing to meet with them at this time.
It is interesting to note that IBLP is not willing to meet with victims. For a Christian organization, I find that sad.
I am not certain of the exact number, but the Recovering Grace website has posted nearly 40 personal accounts of abuse and sexual grooming by Bill Gothard, so these 10 plaintiffs represent only a fraction of the total number who have come forward. Some survivors do not want to go to court because they do not want to rehash these painful memories. That is understandable. Some may have other reasons for not joining with Gibbs and the 14 plaintiffs. The timing may not be right. Just because Gibbs is representing 14 plaintiffs does not mean the rest of the survivors have missed their opportunity to file a lawsuit. I suspect there are other attorneys who might be willing to take the case pro bono and represent them.
Note to Gothard survivors: If you are a Gothard survivor and have questions about legal matters, for example, if you should sue, what you can expect in the process, etc, I would like to invite you to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I will find answers for you or try to put you in touch with others who can. Sometimes when dealing with something monumental, it is daunting to even think about legalese and attorneys. You don’t have to walk this path alone. There are people I know who would be willing to help.
10 thoughts on “Bill Gothard & IBLP Sex Abuse Lawsuit Update”
Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog.
Re: the IBLP, I would say it’s a “self-professed’ Christian organization,” and not a “Christian organization.” The fact that they won’t meet with the victims being represented in the lawsuit is beyond sad. It’s reprehensible, deplorable, and shameful. The targets have evidently reached out to them willing to talk and avoid the lawsuit, but… boy, the first thing that comes to my mind is the verse “Lord, didn’t we do all this in your name?” to which Jesus will reply, “I never knew you. Depart from Me.”
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First of all, if any of the abused are reading, just know that my prayers are with you–I hope you’ll be able to join in bringing a well earned rebuke to Mr. Gothard and those who would replace grace with dead works. If not, I understand, but it’s my prayer that by God’s grace, doing this will be healing to yourself and the church.
And I agree with Still Reforming that we might not consider IBLP a “Christian” organizations not only because they fail to heed Matthew 18’s requirement that these things be aired out (I would add “in a safe environment”–yes, too many churches have brutalized people in the name of this passage), but also because they have added so many dead works to the life of faith; things like no pork, when and how married couples can make love, no music with a beat, and the like. That–H/T Dan Miller at Sharper Iron–really runs afoul of 1 Timothy 4:1-5, which notes that in certain cases, adding dead works to the Gospel merely shows the “teacher” is not in the faith, but is rather teaching doctrines of demons.
(not that Scripture doesn’t give us moral rules–it’s just that when it’s not clearly spelled out, we need to mind our Ps and Qs to make sure we’re understanding Scripture’s implications in new cases well)
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Bill Gothard has breached the boundaries of Romans 14 many times, but there are certain items where he has outdone himself. I was reading just yesterday about him being confronted back in 1998 for his teaching on circumcision. If there is any teaching the New Testament is crystal clear about, I would have thought the apostle Paul’s remarks on the subject would be quite sufficient to put to rest the notion of gentile Christians (most of us) having to continue the practice (never mind the first council of Jerusalem). But nooooo……Bill Gothard knows better.
Incidentally, does anybody know if Gothard ever got circumcised himself in accordance with his own doctrine, or was that yet another instance of him being exempt from the rules he dumped on anyone else who would listen to him?
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NJ: it strikes me that there are some people who assert they do know the answer to your last question, and I wouldn’t be surprised if jurors in the trial had to compare witness testimony with pictures.
That said, thank GOD I can’t stand Gothard and don’t stand a snowball’s chance you-know-where of getting on that jury. Some things one just doesn’t want to see.
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IBLP has change millions of lives to live in such a way obedient to God helping not hurting and doing no wrong to anyone….. I have a life worth living…..
Because of these teaching
Linda, obviously you were not at Headquarters asking you intimate questions, playing with your hair, playing footsie under the table, etc. There are many who have been harmed for life because of him. Please don’t try to say he did no wrong to anyone. That’s ridiculous.
I’m sure you would have had a “life worth living”, and a mighty good one too, without ever having heard of Gothard or his indoctrination/grooming project.
I heard of the dirty old man only a few years ago, and my life turned out just fine.