Ravi Zacharias, Online Sex Scandal, NDA, Lawsuit, Suicide emails
GUEST POST by Steve Baughman
Is Ravi Zacharias Violating his Federal Lawsuit Non-Disclosure Agreement? Does Anybody Care?
by Steve Baughman
On November 9, 2017, Ravi Zacharias settled his lawsuit against Lori Anne and Brad Thompson by entering into a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). The terms of the agreement are confidential. But from what Ms. Thompson says, they are highly restrictive. She told an inquiring Christian blogger shortly after the settlement, “My husband and I are, and always will be bound by confidentiality legally. All I can say now or ever say is that he dropped the lawsuit and the matter is settled.”
Ravi apparently sees it the same way. He told Christianity Today “I am legally prevented from answering or even discussing the questions and claims being made by some, other than to say that each side paid for their own legal expenses and no ministry funds were used.” According to the magazine, “Zacharias declined to comment to CT on the image of the emails showing the apparent suicide threat, citing the nondisclosure agreement.”
This is pretty standard stuff. A case settles on confidential terms and nobody can talk about it except to say that it has settled.
Take careful note. The Thompsons can now say nothing. And they appear to be taking their promise seriously.
What about Ravi?
Well,… not so much.
On December 3, over three weeks after the settlement, Ravi issued a press release entitled “Statement on my Federal Lawsuit.” In that statement he describes the behavior that Ms. Thompson “shockingly” engaged in, which included sending him “inappropriate” photographs of herself and refusing to stop after he requested that she do so. As to her allegation that he solicited the nude photos, he states “I did not, and there is no evidence to the contrary.”
This statement seems to violate the NDA. It is also plainly false. Ms.Thompson has alleged that Ravi “solicited and ultimately received” many indecent photos of her. Whether her testimony would have been persuasive or not, I cannot say. But as a matter of law it would have been “evidence to the contrary” and admissible to rebut Ravi’s assertion. Was there other evidence? Ms. Thompson cannot say. And Ravi knows that.
In his press release Ravi also made the following astonishing statement: “In my 45 years of marriage to Margie, I have never engaged in any inappropriate behavior of any kind.”
Here we see more darts being hurled at Ms. Thompson, who, through her lawyer, specifically alleged that Ravi had indeed done inappropriate things, such as “exploit[ing] her vulnerability to satisfy [his] own sexual desires,” and having “sexually explicit online conversations” with her. True or false, Ravi shouts his innocence from the mountaintops, while his opponent remains true to her word.
And in a highly manipulative (and mean-spirited) move that may itself have violated confidentiality, Ravi announced that it was the Thompsons who “requested mediation rather than going to trial.”
Here, the Ravi Zacharias sleaze rises to the top for all to see. Ravi and his PR team know full well that legally unsophisticated people (ie., most people) will read the alleged mediation request as a sign of weakness on the part of the Thompsons: “I, Ravi, wanted my day in court. But the Thompsons caved! Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!”
Few people know that requesting mediation could just as easily mean the opposite: “Ravi Zacharias, we have soooooo much dirt on you, and your lawsuit did not even pretend to state a serious legal theory but was simply a public face-saving gimmick to initiate mediation, and we are good people who want to move on, so let’s do it!”
(The Thompsons, by the way, did do it, apparently with success. Ravi, despite being the plaintiff, was the one to pay out. He claims that no ministry funds were used, but his ministry refused to say whether he received reimbursement from them for personal funds he may have paid to the Thompsons. See the report from the Christian watchdog group, Ministry Watch, which finds Ravi “likely guilty” of conduct that would, if made public, cause “significant reputational damage.”
Whatever the truth of the matter, the Thompsons cannot respond.
In his press release Ravi also tells a significant lie. He informs us that he “resolved to terminate all contact with her,” a claim he repeatedly stresses in his federal complaint. But in both the complaint and the press release, Ravi omits the fact that at precisely 5:03:34 pm EDT on October 29. 2016, which was very late in his relationship with Ms. Thompson, he begged her in an email to meet with him:
“Can we not meet at lest (sic) once before you do this? Please please”
Ravi’s “please please” urgency was due to the fact that Ms. Thompson had just minutes before informed him that she would be telling her husband of their relationship “in hopes that my marriage will be salvaged.”
In a somewhat un-Christian response, Ravi informed her that he would kill himself if she did. Here’s what he wrote at 4:38:48 pm.
“You promised you wouldn’t Lori Anne. If. (sic) You betray me here I will have no option but to bid this world goodbye I promise”
Clearly this was not a man trying to break off all contact.
Incidentally, if the Thompsons initiate future litigation against Ravi, we should not be surprised to see him pleading the Fifth Amendment. There are only so many lies you can tell the federal court before you wind up on the criminal docket.
In addition to the written record, I have learned of two individuals who have spoken directly to Ravi about his case with Ms. Thompson. On January 27, 2018, Pastor Trey Brunson told the former archivist at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Jim Lutzweiler, that he had spoken to Ravi, that he believes Ravi, and that Ms. Thompson has a prior litigation history involving at least three lawsuits. (Pastor Brunson has his facts wrong. Did he get them from Ravi? Ms. Thompson has no prior litigation history.) More interesting, a source who must remain anonymous per his request, indicates that he spoke to Ravi and that Ravi acknowledged sending the suicide emails, but claims that they have been “misinterpreted.” (Ravi has never publicly denied sending the suicide emails.)
So, Ravi Zacharias feels free to talk about the case privately to strategically useful persons and to issue a scathing press release, but he invokes the NDA to evade questions about using a suicide threat to pressure Ms. Thompson not to start repairing her marriage.
And nobody is making a fuss about this? That is surprising in these #MeToo days! After all, we have here yet another case of bullying by a fabulously wealthy and powerful man who bought off a weaker woman, and now feels entitled to thumb his nose at her as she stews in silence. And as is typical in such cases, one party works quietly and humbly to reclaim her dignity, while the other beats his chest and fakes a victory lap.
If I were Ms. Thompson’s attorney I would advise her to fight back.
Steve Baughman is a San Francisco attorney who has been investigating Ravi Zacharias for nearly three years. His findings can be viewed at www.RaviWatch.com.
35 thoughts on “Is Ravi Zacharias Violating his Federal Lawsuit Non-Disclosure Agreement? Does Anybody Care?”
Thanks for staying on top of this Steve! I know it takes a lot of time and energy. It’s good to have the truth documented.
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There is something very, very shady about Mr. Ravi Zacharias, in my opinion. The sly flouting of the NDA to the detriment of the Thompsons is a prime example.
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I came back today and was surprised that there aren’t more comments on this, because it’s important. But then the last few weeks have been full of struggles against hypocrisy and abuse in the church on so many fronts… the Andy Savage debacle, the breaking news on the Denhollenders taking a stand against the SGM abuse and scandal and getting rejected from their church, it just seems overwhelming.
“Does Anybody Care?” is a good question… I think a lot of us care very much, but we’re up against a powerful, well-funded, heartless, religious “mafia”, for lack of a better word. They just keep covering their tracks with more misdeeds. But I have hope that if we collectively keep talking and working to expose the dishonesty and hypocrisy of these bullies… we can put a stop to the harm they do.
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“Is Ravi Zacharias Violating his Federal Lawsuit Non-Disclosure Agreement?”
“Does Anybody Care?”
Do a mere handful of people count as “anybody”?
Maybe that’s all it takes…
Dave. Yes, all it takes if a handful of folks to keep pressuring Ravi and his enablers. We have come a long way. We shall keep at it. I think we need some organized person to start a private Facebook page where we can pool ideas and share info. Ravi has stopped posting his upcoming events, so we need, for instance, someone to find those out and let us all know. We then need to notify event organizers in advance of the evidence against their guest.
Just a though. We need to go from being a disunited guerilla group to an organized opposition.
So in other words you need someone to start a gossip/SJW/Snowflake page so you can all sit around and stay triggered. Go change your emotional diaper and get a life.
Interesting as I have no dog in this fight. I’m Catholic and Ravi is Protestant. But it’s hardly surprising that this blog is run by an ambulance chasing snowflake in San Francisco nonetheless. Wow, what a shocker. Rofl!!
Hey Keith, welcome to the Spiritual Sounding Board. I’m the blog owner and live in WA state.
Keith, does your comment actually have a purpose?
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Hi Keith. Have you taken a look at the evidence against Ravi? May I suggest you google “Ministry Watch Ravi Zacharias” and read their investigative report?
For someone with “no dog in this fight” you sure seem charged up, even willing to insult others. In any event, it would be great to hear from you after you have checked the evidence out.
Looking foward to it.
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Interesting how people like Keith tend to drop their little bombs and then disappear when challenged. Whatever happened to the gentleman who alleged that Ms. Thompson had a heavy litigation history? (She has zero.) One simple question and they flee. What worries me is that they probably don’t even bother questioning their views after they leave.
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uum and she isn’t a ambulance chaser. She is a fiery redhead ( not from Ireland) that has half of the Christian Industrial complex quaking in their Allen Edmonds , afraid she will write about them next. So which neo- Calvinist do you follow, Keith ?
P. S. she could probably kick your ass too. Already dropped an ex-marine “tough guy” that turned out to be a real mental midget and powder puff. He is still crying about it years latter.
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Lol, Scott! 😂😂
Um, …. Keith?
Thanks Steve and Julie Anne for bringing Ravi’s misdeeds to light. He is definitely not above reproach as a Christian leader should be.
I have read and enjoyed Ravi Zacharias’s books, but now I see fame has gone to his head. Not only has he acted inappropriately with a married woman, he has also falsified his academic degrees and invented several of his positions on his resume.
Now he also violates his nondisclosure agreement with Lori Anne.
Many Scripture verses talk about Christian leaders whose pride and arrogance leads to a fall, for example, 1 Corinthians 10:12—
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”
And 1 Timothy 3:1-6:
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
I don’t know why the outcry isn’t greater, but I for one, won’t buy his books or support his ministry.
God’s message went out before Ravi came along, and I’m sure it will long after he’s gone.
“I have read and enjoyed Ravi Zacharias’s books, but now I see fame has gone to his head.”
I doubt that. I believe his fame was a result of his persistent and unchecked manipulation of the religious system. He’s definitely a sharp guy and I think he realized early on exactly what it would take to get into power.
Unfortunately, that is often the case. There’s someone I know who is on a similar trajectory. He was pretty cruel to me when we were younger and he had a lot of narcissistic qualities. He told his wife that his desire in life was to be an elder. When the church they were attending didn’t make it happen fast enough, he shopped around for one that would, and now he’s finding his way into positions of power within his church, and, from what I gather, leaving a trail of carnage in his wake.
In both cases, I think the desire for fame and honor was firmly in place before the fame and honor. So, the revealed actions are not a result of the fame and honor, but merely an expression of what was there the whole time.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Keith has left the building.
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Yes, it is not that fame has gone to Ravi’s head. He craved fame as a kid, tried suicide because he was not getting it. In his own words he was not depressed or impulsive. He did it because “failure always seemed imminent.” (Walking from East to West at p. 101.) The along came preaching, the stage, fame, fond glances of women, etc. etc. and the rest is evangelical history.
A common path indeed.
I always mistrust Buddhist leaders who admit that they have always wanted to be Buddhist leaders. Is it the leadership or the Buddhism they love?
Wow, Steve — I just read some of the additional e-mails on the Pulpit and Pen website. If anyone doubted that they’re authentic, I don’t know how they could after reading those. Him saying the love of life is gone and hangs on by a slender thread. The other woman and her husband trying to encourage him and saying “Oh dear God, Ravi, Please don’t promise to be better…”
You couldn’t make this up if you tried– and of course no one did, no matter what his preacher and PR friends may say.
They are definitely legitimate, Dave. I was given those emails months before the lawsuit.
Is it just me, or do the emails back and forth between him and the women and her husband seem kind of weird? (from pulpit and pen). The language in particular almost seems like they are trying to write poetically. It seems very abnormal and sometime doesn’t even make sense.
I am not confirming or denying if the emails are real. I just can’t help but notice they are rather unusual.
Before we over speculate about the nuances of the emails, we should recognize that Ravi and his church have both admitted that they are authentic.
I should add some detail to my previous comment.
In January of 2018 Ravi told Party A that the emails are authentic but that they have been “misinterpreted.” Party A told Southern Baptist archivist Jim Lutzweiler about this, but Jim has told me to keep Party A’s identity confidential. I know Party A also, but Jim knows him very well.
On February 24 of this year I received a phone call from a former CMA minister in Canada who had contacted CMA to express his concerns about Ravi. To his surprise, on February 24, Saturday, he received a personal phone call from the church’s general counsel Gary Friesen. Friesen told this former minister several times that the suicide emails are authentic. I spoke to this former minister, who is still an active Christian with an online presence, for over an hour that same day.
I and others have made numerous attempts to get Mr. Friesen and the church spokes person on the Ravi matters to confirm or deny this. They have refused to answer. They also refused an identical request from the Christian Post reporter Brandon Showalter who published an article on Zacharias this morning.
Although Ravi denied several of the allegations made against him by Ms. Thompson, he has never denied writing the suicide emails. He freely responded to questions from Christianity Today but invoked confidentiality around the suicide emails. He failed to mention the suicide emails in his December 3 press release regarding his legal issues with Ms. Thompson.
The emails did not just appear on the Internet. They were provided by Mr. Thompson directly to Julie Anne Smith who provided them to me.
Given that the suspect is remaining silent when a simple “no, I did not write those emails” would, if true, be the natural response, I consider it a settled matter. Ravi Zacharias threatened suicide in order to pressure Ms Thompson from taking steps to repair her marriage.
CMA knows this, and the fact that they find no grounds for discipline seems to me strong indication of a cover-up. Sometimes godly principles need to take a backseat to the pressing demands of business.
Steve, you call them “suicide emails”.
I prefer to think of them as “can we not meet at least once before you do this? emails.”
1 This proves the stalking/extortion narrative is false.
2 This illustrates the confidence Ravi has in his charm and persuasiveness when meeting with someone in person, as in your recent dinner meeting.
At Premier Christianity you mentioned a Christian Post article of a couple days ago. I couldn’t find it. Do you have a link?
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Don’t bother about the link– I found it https://www.christianpost.com/news/cma-denomination-decides-not-to-discipline-ravi-zacharias-over-credentials-illicit-relationship-220615/
Didn’t show up directly in my searches.
I love how the C&MA refer to RZIM as Ravi’s employer, as if RZIM might be able to fire him and the ministry would keep on going.
And how they only address “formal discipline” while refusing to discuss the “nuances of these allegations”.
Yes. Funny. Ministry Watch noted in their report that the board had already given their full endorsement to Ravi before even having seen the suicide emails.
I encourage you to read the Ministry Watch report. Google.
well, this is just pure nonsense. Stupid article
Hi Alicia. Could you be a bit more vague? 😎
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I just found about this now but why does it benefit as to talk about this as a christian. I know some will say “we should uncover the false in the Church” but the real matter is we will eventually know about this and everything when we stand before all knowing God. God should only be the judge he knows all that has happened but mean while what are we doing or bringing to his Kingdom? Are we testifying that Jesus is the way, the truth and only path to Heaven (God). am not defending or judging anyone. what i am trying to say is “LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO TALK ABOUT PEOPLES BUT NOT ABOUT CHRIST>”
1Tim 5 aside, are you really suggesting that Christians remain silent, no matter how much deceit they see in their leaders, because God will handle it? Collecting money on false pretenses? Bullying a married woman in order to prevent her from confession to her husband that she and Ravi were inappropriately involved?
Remain silent and leave it to God?
(BTW, Ravi continues to deceive, to act as if nothing happened, to pretend that he is a tireless champion of truth, to aggressively raise money, etc.)
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DAGIB, “LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO TALK ABOUT PEOPLES BUT NOT ABOUT CHRIST”
Christ did talk about himself a lot, yes, and he talked about the Father a lot, yes, but when he wasn’t, a lot of what he talked about was spiritual abuse and spiritual abusers – specifically, the Pharisees.
So, if we are to model Christ, we should talk about him, yes, we should talk about the Father and the Holy Spirit, yes, but we should also be talking about those who use his name to perpetuate evil and abuse.
DAGIB: “LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO TALK ABOUT PEOPLES BUT NOT ABOUT CHRIST>”
Zoe: I certainly haven’t seen people here leave Christ out of the conversation. I think they care about their fellow Christians, especially those who have been abused inside a Christian system of belief. I think they are also about teaching others how to be aware of those inside the church who abuse their own Christianity and integrity taking advantage of those who are vulnerable, traumatized and simply unaware the Christian leaders can be (insert whatever word fits here.)
How be we keep yet one more person from being manipulated by some jerk.
You can “testify” until the cows come home it doesn’t stop the truth that people need to be heard when they have been spiritually abused. They need to understand so they can get out of harms way. They need to recover and heal, something that is so very difficult to do while the abuser just keeps on keeping on with no accountability at all.
omg. the thompsons chose not to say anything in rebuttal, not b/c they were so bound by the law. but b/c they could not suppress the truth. give me a break.