Christian Leader Bill Gothard Sued for Sexual Abuse

Bill Gothard, founder of Institute of Basic Life Principles (IBLP), is being sued by 10 more women claiming sexual abuse during his time with the ministry.

According to The Gospel Herald, there are now over 60 women who have come forward with such claims.

The 81-year-old unmarried church leader resigned from IBPL in 2014 after more than 30 women said they had been molested by him, according to the Washington Post, which first reported the story.

The lawsuit filed in an Illinois circuit court includes allegations that range from sexual harassment, inappropriate touching and hand-holding, molestation and rape, according to the complaint provided to the New York Daily News by the lawyers representing the women at the Texas Gibbs Law Firm.

The accounts, some of which were posted on a blog called Recovering Grace, come from the types of vulnerable women who would come to IBLP’s training centers seeking bible study and counseling, many of them victims of incest by their fathers or older family members, or who had been sold into human trafficking.

In one account, a woman only identified as Jane Doe II, who was a victim of trafficking and was sent by her abusive father to one of IBLP’s training centers in Indiana claims that she was forced to have sex with both Gothard and a ‘biblical counselor,” Kenneth Copley, in two separate instances.

In the woman’s account, as well as the other women’s stories involved in the lawsuit, she told IBLP staff about the assaults but they never reported it to police.

Other accounts of sexual assault included in the lawsuit, filed in DuPage County Circuit Court in Illinois, accuse Gothard of holding hands, playing footsie and molesting young women sent to IBLP training centers.

Although Gothard, who founded the ministry in 1961, admitted that some of his behavior toward women was a “sin” in a letter included in Wednesday’s lawsuit written to his accusers, he denied the allegations when reached by phone by the Washington Post.

“Never in my life have I touched a girl sexually. I’m shocked to even hear that,” Gothard told the Washington Post. “That really is not true.”

Gothard is known for urging women to dress modestly and to have large families.

Starting in 1993, IBLP used to hold their ‘Basic Seminar’ annually in Singapore, but appear to have discontinued it in recent years.