For years, former IBLP participants have made disturbing allegations against Gothard. Multiple women have accused Gothard of misconduct at Recovering Grace. Back in 2014, several female employees of IBLP accused Gothard of sexual harassment, according to Religion News Service. Gothard was placed on administrative leave, and according to the IBLP website, is no longer associated with the organization. In a statement following the scandal, Gothard admitted to crossing boundaries with young women but insisted that he never touched a girl "immorally or with sexual intent".
Now, ten women have accused Gothard and his ministry of sexual abuse, according to the Washington Post. Homeschoolers Anonymous posted a copy of the lawsuit online, filed with the Circuit Court of the 18th Judicial Circuit of Dupage County, Illinois. The lawsuit lists ten former Institute in Basic Life Principles participants as plaintiffs who have filed suit against Bill Gothard and the IBLP.
"As stated in each individual Count below, each of the individual Plaintiffs were the victims of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and inappropriate/unauthorized touching, many times while they were minors, at the hands of the IBLP, by and through its agents and employees, and suffered as a result thereof. Much of the sexual abuse and harassment occurred while the Plaintiffs were receiving counseling from the perpetrators/IBLP employees ... neither the Defendant IBLP nor its agents, employees, or directors reported these serious, potentially criminal allegations to law enforcement authorities, the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services, or other relevant state child welfare agencies, in accord with their duties and their statutory responsibilities."According to the complaint, IBLP leaders failed in their responsibility to protect IBLP employees and participants from abuse. The male members of the IBLP executive management and board of directors were "blindly loyal to Defendant Bill Gothard at all times" and "placed the welfare and reputation of the IBLP and Bill Gothard above and beyond the welfare, rights, and dignity of the ten (10) young female Plaintiffs", the lawsuit claims.
In a January 6th press release, the IBLP claimed that it takes misconduct allegations seriously and welcomes the legal process.
"Today, the Institute in Basic Life Principles obtained a copy of a complaint at law, filed by various women against the Institute and William Gothard, Jr. The complaint was filed in the Circuit Court of DuPage County, in Wheaton, IL. Some of the women who are plaintiffs in the current complaint had previously filed a lawsuit against the Institute and others; that previous complaint was dismissed by the court on December 2, 2015.The Christian Patriarchy movement, which prides itself on supposedly safeguarding sexual purity and protecting women and children, has been plagued with one sexual abuse scandal after another. The scandals involving Doug Phillips and the Duggars are examples of how stars of the Christian Patriarchy movement preyed on those they were supposed to protect. Now, allegations against Gothard and the IBLP keep mounting.
The current complaint alleges mistreatment of the plaintiffs, including sexual harassment and abuse. Many of these allegations concern conduct that allegedly occurred as early as the 1990s, and, as claimed, primarily involved Mr. Gothard. Since March 2014, Mr. Gothard is no longer associated with the Institute.
The Institute takes very seriously any allegations of this nature, and above all else, is interested in determining the truth. We therefore welcome the structure and integrity of the court process as a means for determining the truth with respect to these allegations.
The Institute will have no further statement at this time."
These scandals reveal the ugly secret of Christian Patriarchy: it was intended to give men arbitrary power over women and children, not to protect women and children. When men -- misogynist, fundamentalist men who see themselves as mouthpieces of God -- have unchecked power over women and minors, abuse of that power is a real danger.
To read additional commentary, visit the following links.
The Frisky: Duggar Pastor Cops To “Sinful And Ungodly Behavior"
Wonkette: Duggar Guru And Hobby Lobby BFF Bill Gothard Maybe A Rapist, No Big