Update from RZIM Board: Allegations Against Ravi Zacharias

Intermediate statement regarding external investigation.

23 December 2020

In August 2020, allegations of sexual misconduct were made against our Founder, Ravi Zacharias. Unfortunately, Ravi had died several months before we first learned of these allegations, so we were unable to explore them with him directly. We engaged Miller & Martin PLLC to investigate these allegations, while also giving them wide latitude to go wherever their investigation might lead them. We have also repeatedly stated our intention not to comment on the investigation until receiving a final report on it.

However, while the investigation remains ongoing and is not expected to be completed until January or February, yesterday we received a brief interim update on the investigation we felt we needed to share (attached). Sadly, the interim investigation update indicates this assessment of Ravi’s behavior to be true—that he did indeed engage in sexual misconduct.

This misconduct is deeply troubling and wholly inconsistent with the man Ravi Zacharias presented both publicly and privately to so many over more than four decades of public ministry. We are heartbroken at learning this but feel it necessary to be transparent and to inform our staff, donors, and supporters at this time, even while the investigation continues. We will speak more comprehensively to all concerned after the completion of the investigation.

We are devastated for those who have suffered from Ravi’s misconduct and for the pain that they are enduring. They have asked for confidentiality and anonymity, and both we and the investigators are committed to honoring their wishes.

This preliminary statement is not intended to cut short the investigation or predict its full outcome. We want to ensure the investigators have appropriate time and space to complete their work and allow all those who may still desire to have a voice in this process to do so. We ask for continued patience as we complete a lengthy process of investigating serious allegations.

RZIM will publicly release the Miller & Martin report as given to the Board as soon as possible after the investigation is complete. In the meantime, we share your compassion for any victims of this conduct, and we appreciate your prayers for them and also for Ravi’s family who have been devastated by this information. As ever, the Lord remains our principal hope for healing and restoration.

The Executive Committee of the RZIM Board of Directors

Extract from a letter to Zacharias Trust Staff

23 December 2020

The following extract is from a letter sent on 23rd December 2020 by the Board of Zacharias Trust, the UK branch of RZIM, to its staff based in the UK.

It is clear that this global ministry has been damaged in this country by the historic and current issues which have been raised in recent weeks. What is taking place in the US has significant ramifications for how the ministry is viewed in the UK and elsewhere, and mistakes have been made. We are committed to addressing them and to alleviating their impact as much as possible. We also recognise that the alleged victims have not been listened to or treated with compassion in the past.

We recognise this has been difficult for all staff and some are concerned that their credibility is being affected and their own reputations are being damaged by events that are outside their control. We recognise that we have to act swiftly to rebuild trust with our staff so that they can in all conscience continue to work with us. We must also rebuild trust with our partner churches and with supporters in order that our speakers can be welcomed to the right platforms in the UK to present the Gospel to their audiences.

We are therefore, as a matter of urgency, seeking a meeting with the US Board to confirm our mutual commitment to the following:

  • A profound apology to any victims and a commitment to engaging and listening to them to reach a point of reconciliation.
  • Ensuring Zacharias Trust in the UK inputs into the public announcement that will be made when the investigation report is issued.
  • A commitment to reform radically the governance, leadership and accountability of the RZIM organisation globally and to recognise the need to transform our culture by reconnecting to the Gospel values that underpin our organisation. We anticipate that there will be significant change across the global organisation.
  • A prayerful and consultative reflection on how the ministry should move forward from this point, and if so, what changes are required. That consultation will include all staff, key partners and supporters.

Conversations between the UK and the US on these subjects have already started. We believe that some of these reforms should be implemented before the findings of the investigation are made public, which means coming to an agreement in the next few weeks.