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Ravi Zacharias' former business partner recounts misconduct; stations drop apologist's broadcasts

Ravi Zacharias' former business partner recounts misconduct; stations drop apologist's broadcasts

Ravi Zacharias speaks in Houston, Texas, on September 21, 2017. | Screenshot: Facebook/Houston's First Baptist Church)

New details have emerged related to the now-acknowledged sexual misconduct of the late Ravi Zacharias as recordings of a former business partner have surfaced describing Zacharias' misdeeds.  

According to Anurag Sharma, a man who co-owned two spas with the late apologist, Zacharias repeatedly engaged in exposing himself to massage therapists and masturbating in front of them over the course of several years. In recently recorded audio footage that was shared exclusively with The Roys Report Monday, the website of independent investigative journalist Julie Roys, Sharma told investigators that he confronted Zacharias about his actions, which he discovered sometime between 2007 and 2010. Sharma also maintained that Zacharias told him to erase all information about his appointments at the spa from the company computer system.
 
It was around this time when the two men owned Jivan Wellness, which reportedly offered massage therapy as well as a form of ancient Indian medicine rooted in Hinduism, among other wellness services.

“It started actually, the lady therapist who had come and who talked about that he’d been misbehaving—exactly the pattern that was there...,” Sharma told an attorney hired by the Christian Missionary Alliance denomination, the denomination that had ordained Zacharias, in December 2020. 

“And this was exactly the pattern, which was, I saw it plenty of time.”

He described the pattern of sexual misconduct as the apologist saying he was tired after traveling and working, and thinking that he was entitled to misbehave at the spa.

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In July 2010, after he was informed about another massage therapist who had refused to take an appointment with Zacharias because of his misconduct and Zacharias' request that he delete information from their electronic records, Sharma wanted to get out of the spa business as the experience had devastated him on several fronts, claiming to have invested $300,000 to $400,000 or more in the business with little return. The Jivan Wellness spa was officially dissolved in September of that year, according to Georgia state records. 

Sharma stated in interviews with multiple investigators that the apologist was his close friend and that he became a Christian through Zacharias.

Zacharias died in May 2020 after a battle with cancer. Following reports of sexual misconduct after his death, his ministry subsequently set in motion an independent investigation and confirmed in a Dec. 23 interim report that he had indeed engaged in sexual misconduct, some of which was "serious." A full report is expected in the coming weeks. 

“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,” the ministry said last month. 

The admission of misconduct came after the leadership of the ministry had previously expressed that it believed the claims were false and that the allegations “do not in any way comport with the man we knew for decades."

As a result of the scandal, several Christian radio networks that carried Zacharias' teachings have removed him from their affiliate stations. 

Moody Radio announced over the Christmas holiday weekend that it was immediately canceling Zacharias' broadcasts from its lineups.

“We are deeply saddened after reading the preliminary report provided to us by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM),” Doug Hastings, vice president of Moody Radio, said in a statement.

“The picture that is becoming clear about Ravi Zacharias through the work of an independent investigator is very much inconsistent with his public ministry,” he said, adding that the network believes that those they partner with must be above reproach.

American Family Radio, which has over 180 radio stations, also dropped Zacharias from its regular programming. It had aired Zacharias' "Let My People Think" broadcasts on its Sunday programming for approximately 20 years.  

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