Two years after being accused of sexual misconduct by several women, televangelist and Bible teacher Perry Stone is under investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, according to a report.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) has a list of at least nine alleged victims and has interviewed at least five people, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports.
The newspaper adds that a TBI spokesperson confirmed by email that the agency is investigating the Cleveland, Tennessee-based televangelist at the request of the district attorney general, Steve Crump, who has to decide if charges need to be pressed after the results of the investigation.
Citing multiple sources connected to Stone and his Perry Stone Ministries, the newspaper claimed in an earlier report that the Federal Bureau of Investigation began looking into sexual misconduct claims against the minister last November.
More than a dozen people connected or formerly connected to Stone’s ministry told the Chattanooga publication at the time that they were worried about what appeared to be a lack of accountability in the ministry.
Claims of inappropriate conduct involving “groping, unwanted kissing and showing women he was aroused” were first made in 2020.
Some expressed outrage that the board of directors at Voice of Evangelism, Stone’s international evangelistic outreach, did not involve law enforcement or fully investigate claims of misconduct against the televangelist.
Stone has sought to explain that the victims misinterpreted his social behavior which he described as normal in Italian culture.
“I am not a perfect man,” he said earlier, according to the newspaper. “People have taken me hugging and kissing them on the cheek wrong. I quit that. I’m Italian. My whole family holds hands, rubs backs. I didn’t know you can look at somebody and say, ‘Hey, how you doing?’ and they can take it wrong.”
He has also said that secular media cannot be trusted. “Over 32 years I have been involved with television. ... I’m involved with media, I know how media works,” Stone said in a YouTube video, titled “The Truth Behind Today’s Media,” last December.
“It’s not always about what’s true or not, it’s about the advertising dollars,” he continued, explaining the relationship between the media and advertising and the need to make money.
“Information can be twisted by the god of this world so easily. So when you’re dealing with a Christian system who wants to be honest ... secular individuals, it has been proven, they will give a false scenario and then you know, two, three years down the road come back and apologize for it and I don’t want to go into collusions and all that,” he said.
During a special service last November, when he tried to explain why some people were no longer with his ministry, an unidentified woman interrupted his address to suggest it was because he is a “nasty perv.”
“Why don’t you tell them the real reason why they left? Because you kept touching them,” she said before she was removed by security.