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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Tim Ballard’s Departure From Operation Underground Railroad Adopted Sexual Misconduct Investigation Specific Instances

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MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – AUGUST 29: Activist Tim Ballard poses in the course of the crimson carpet for the film ‘Sound of Freedom’ at Cinemex Antara Polanco on August 29, 2023 in Mexico Metropolis, Mexico. (Picture by Alan Espinosa/Getty Pictures)

Tim Ballard’s exit from Operation Underground Railroad earlier this 12 months adopted an investigation into claims of sexual misconduct involving seven ladies, in line with sources with direct data of the group.

Sources accustomed to the scenario mentioned that the self-styled anti-slavery activist, who seems to be making ready for a Senate run, invited ladies to behave as his “spouse” on undercover abroad missions ostensibly geared toward rescuing victims of intercourse trafficking. He would then allegedly coerce these ladies into sharing a mattress or showering collectively, claiming that it was essential to idiot traffickers. Ballard, who was performed by Jim Caviezel within the hit movie Sound of Freedom, is alleged to have despatched at the very least one lady a photograph of himself in his underwear, festooned with faux tattoos, and to have requested one other “how far she was keen to go,” within the phrases of a supply, to avoid wasting youngsters. These sources requested anonymity as a result of they worry retaliation.

The overall variety of ladies concerned is believed to be greater than seven, as that may solely account for workers, not contractors or volunteers. One supply near OUR has detailed data of Ballard making sexual advances to a volunteer utilizing strategies just like these he allegedly used with OUR workers. These strategies are additionally constant along with his conduct towards one other former volunteer who spoke to VICE Information.

In response to an in depth request for remark, a spokesperson for Operation Underground Railroad advised VICE Information:

Tim Ballard resigned from O.U.R. on June 22, 2023.  He has completely separated from O.U.R. 

O.U.R. is devoted to combatting sexual abuse, and doesn’t tolerate sexual harassment or discrimination by anybody in its group.  

O.U.R. retained an unbiased legislation agency to conduct a complete investigation of all related allegations, and O.U.R. continues to evaluate and enhance the governance of the group and protocols for its operations.

To protect the integrity of its investigation and to guard the privateness of all individuals concerned, O.U.R. won’t make any additional public remark at the moment.  

O.U.R. is assured in its future because the main group dedicated to combatting intercourse trafficking and saving youngsters who’ve been captured and offered into slavery.

The data from the sources with direct data of OUR corroborates an nameless letter that’s been circulating within the Utah philanthropic group for the previous a number of months, which accuses Ballard of sexual harassment. VICE Information first reported on the letter in July; the journalist Lynn Packer printed it in full on Sunday.

“A number of weeks in the past, an OUR worker who accompanied Tim on an undercover operation filed a sexual harassment criticism in opposition to him with OUR’s HR division,” the letter, which was despatched this summer season to donors to anti-trafficking causes, reads. “This resulted in an intensive inside investigation into Tim and his particular person operational techniques and led to extra ladies talking up as a part of the investigation course of.

“It was finally revealed by way of disturbingly particular and parallel accounts, that Tim has been deceitfully and extensively grooming and manipulating a number of ladies for the previous few years with the last word intent of coercing them to take part in sexual acts with him, below the premise of going the place it takes and doing ‘no matter it takes’ to avoid wasting a toddler.”

The letter additional mentioned that OUR’s board and legal professionals had made agreements stopping executives from discussing the circumstances of Ballard’s exit from the group he based, making it “nearly inconceivable for them to defend the group in opposition to Tim’s false narratives.” The writer or authors of the letter didn’t reply to requests for remark. An OUR spokesperson didn’t dispute what was within the letter when requested about it by VICE Information In July, or reply additional when advised that reporters may solely take this as affirmation of its accuracy. 

Girls believed to be on the heart of the investigation haven’t responded to requests for remark, or have declined to remark. Individuals who know them say they worry retaliation and the results scandal may have on OUR because it seeks to maneuver on with out Ballard—whom sources say is presently attempting to work his method again into the group.  

Ballard didn’t reply to requests for remark submitted by way of his private web site; that of his new group, the SPEAR Fund; and thru a spokesperson whom OUR beforehand advised VICE Information is his private consultant. 

Ballard, an ally of Donald Trump—he held an appointed publish on a public-private anti-trafficking council within the Trump administration, and lately hosted the previous president on his podcast—has mentioned he’s strongly contemplating a run for the Senate seat set to be vacated by Mitt Romney. Hypothesis within the LDS group signifies that he’s planning to announce his bid on October 10. Final week, a spokesperson for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued an announcement to VICE Information that contained a pointed rebuke of Ballard. The assertion accused Ballard of inappropriately utilizing the title of a church elder, President M. Russell Ballard—the 2 should not associated, regardless of sharing a final title—“for Tim Ballard’s private benefit and exercise considered morally unacceptable.” 

The church didn’t specify in its assertion what exercise it considered “morally unacceptable.” 

Over the weekend, Ballard responded to VICE Information’ reporting by giving an impassioned speech to a small crowd in Boston by which he mentioned, “It’s not true, nothing you hear is true.” He additionally mentioned he outright didn’t imagine that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints condemned him in an announcement issued to VICE Information—one thing that did in truth occur, as has been confirmed by a number of Utah information shops.

Contact the reporters at anna.merlan@vice.com or tim.marchman@vice.com. For additional safety, obtain the Sign app to a non-work gadget and textual content us there at 267-713-9832.

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