A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) for allegedly using donation money to pay off sex abuse victims.
The suit alleges that Zacharias “deceived faithful Christians” by promising them that their donations would be used to support the stated mission of his organization, but instead used the funds as “hush money.”
Defendants, through conferences, seminars, and audio programming, consistently and uniformly promised prospective donors that their charitable contributions would support RZIM’s stated mission, which includes spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and training disciples to defend Christianity around the 2Case 1:21-cv-03161-TWT Document 1 Filed 08/04/21 Page 3 of 30 globe. Instead, donated funds both supported an organization led by a sexual predator and financed Zacharias’ sexual misconduct, including, but not limited to, financing massage spas where Zacharias engaged in sexually predatory behavior and paying hush money to the targets of his sex abuse.
Plaintiffs Derek Carrier and Dora Carrier filed the suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division on behalf of all donors who are seeking redress for being victimized by “consistent and uniform misleading and deceitful acts,” which the suit says it caused the plaintiffs to suffer “an ascertainable loss, injury in fact, and have otherwise suffered harm based on Defendants’ conduct.”
“It is incredibly disheartening to think that a sexual predator would hide behind faith and a ministry to do as we allege was done here,” Plaintiffs’ Attorney Brad R. Sohn of The Brad Sohn Law Firm, PLLC, according to an email we received. “We are pleased to begin fighting for these bilked donors, who obviously felt strongly enough about their faith to part with their hard-earned money, only to learn they did so under the falsest of pretenses.”
Razi Zacharias, who passed away from a long battle with cancer at the age 0f 74 last year, has been embroiled in a scandal alleging repeated sexual abuse for several years. After his death, RZIM contracted an independent investigation into the allegations that concluded that the allegations were not only true but worse than previously known.
The allegations against RZIM include funneling funds to women who were subjected to Zacharias’ “sexual misconduct,” providing large tips following “massages” at various spas, including spas that Zacharias was financially invested in, and “showering them with expensive gifts.” According to the suit, “in one instance, Zacharias paid $40,000 for a sexual abuse survivor’s culinary schooling.”
The suit also complains that Zacharias traveled with a personal massage therapist whose job responsibilities were obfuscated on paper but whose primary job was to “provide massages.”
The two plaintiffs seeking redress provided $30,000 in donations in 2019 and 2020.