The woman with whom the late Ravi Zacharias allegedly had an illicit online relationship is asking to be released from a non-disclosure agreement following his ministry's admission that he had indeed engaged in sexual misconduct involving various women.
Canadian Lori Anne Thompson, whom Zacharias first met at a luncheon in 2014 where he was speaking, posted a screenshot earlier this week of an email between Boz Tchividjian, her attorney, and a lawyer from Miller & Martin, the law firm that is conducting an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.
"I am assuming that we have not received a response because the estate of Ravi Zacharias has refused to release my clients from the confidentiality/non-disparagement clause of the settlement agreement? Please confirm," Tchividjian writes in the email correspondence.
A Miller & Martin attorney responds: "Your assumption is correct."
Writing on Twitter Wednesday, Thompson continued that it “will never cease to astonish me that an organization that so defended ‘the truth’ so robustly supported the suing, silencing, and slandering of a sexual abuse victim and her family.”
“Even now, when this narrative is widely KNOWN to be false -- RZIM yet proclaims its truth.”
Counselors who helped Thompson in October 2016 after the relationship ended said that they believed that the online communication revealed an abusive power dynamic because of the 30-year age difference between the two and that Zacharias had manipulatively groomed her. That Zacharias had engaged in a sexually inappropriate online relationship with Thompson along with his inflation of his academic credentials and background was first reported in 2017.
In the fall of 2020, additional allegations surfaced against the influential apologist. Several massage therapists at day spas co-owned by Zacharias, who died in May after a battle with cancer, alleged that during his treatment for back pain, he would expose himself, masturbate, ask for explicit photos and proposition them.
RZIM hired Miller & Martin PLLC to investigate the claims and in December 2020 admitted in an interim report that the late apologist had indeed engaged in sexual misconduct at the spa. A full report is expected in the coming weeks.
The investigative team was given “broad discretion and authority to follow leads into other sexual misconduct that might arise” beyond the spa allegations.
Meanwhile, the Thompson matter remains unaddressed.
According to letters that Lori Anne wrote and sent to third parties before the NDA, Zacharias allegedly solicited sexually explicit photos from Thompson and engaged in sex over the phone. The apologist denied the accusations in 2017.
The RZIM board told CP in a September statement that the Canadian couple filed a demand letter for $5 million. As a result of what Zacharias said was an extortion attempt, his attorneys filed legal action under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The Thompsons then requested mediation instead of taking the matter to trial, which yielded a resolution on which both the Thompsons and Zacharias agreed.
In response to the calls from those who say the Thompsons must be released from the terms of confidentiality they agreed to, RZIM said that since it was not a party to the agreement, it was not able to alter it and the family did not consider it proper to do so without Zacharias’ consent.
Also in its September statement, RZIM stood by Zacharias after reviewing the matter and concluded that his denial of sexually inappropriate conduct with Thompson "is consistent with the character of the man we knew and worked alongside for years."
Tchividjian has argued that by making that 2017 statement in denying the claims, Zacharias was not abiding by the confidentiality terms in the NDA while the Thompsons had made the difficult choice to honor their word by staying quiet. Thompson has maintained throughout that she and her husband signed the NDA under great duress and that the couple has nothing they do not wish to be disclosed. Two days after the apologist died, Thompson put out a video statement, asking Zacharias’ family to release her from the terms of the agreement.