If you have spent any time on Free Jinger, you will likely recognize the acronyms ATI and IBLP. This is the fundamentalist ministry created by Bill Gothard, an unmarried man who believes such things as:
...teaches that children can never leave home till they are married, that married men are still under the authority of their fathers, women can't work outside the home, adoption is bad, mental illness doesn't exist, circumcision is great, rock music is like crack, and a whole bunch of other crazy stuff.
There has long been talk about both Bill Gothard and his brother committing acts of sexual misconduct with female employees and interns. As long ago as 1980, Gothard admitted to "moral failures" with some of the staff. We at FJ have long awaited some kind of action to be taken against this unmarried man who had unlimited access to vulnerable women who are taught from birth that if a man "stumbles" it is the woman's fault.
On around October 21, 2015, we became aware that a civil lawsuit had finally been filed against IBLP and all the members of the Board. Bill Gothard is no longer part of the organization, having been forced to resign after another round of accusations in 2014.
The board members named in the lawsuit are: John Stancil, Anthony Burrus, Gil Bates, Timothy Levendusky, Charles Stephen Paine, Jr., and David York.
From Recovering Grace:
The lawsuit specifically alleges that IBLP was negligent and allowed unlawful conduct to continue by:
- failing to train and/or supervise their staff and management or have appropriate policies and procedures in place to detect and deter sexual abuse, harassment, or inappropriate touching of young female interns, employees, or participants in IBLP programs;
- failing to report known allegations of sexual abuse and sexual harassment committed against adult and minor IBLP participants, employees, and interns to the appropriate law enforcement agencies;
- failing to conduct reasonable investigation into credible allegations of sexual abuse, harassment, and inappropriate touching, despite decades of ongoing conduct;
- conducting a sham investigation once the IBLP Board did eventually conduct an investigation;
- concealing allegations of sexual abuse and harassment from law enforcement;
- conducting an unreasonable investigation into the allegations of sexual abuse and harassment; and
- engaging in careless or negligent supervision of staff, directors, agents, and employees.
The Complain in it's entirety can be found at the Chicago Tribune Each of the 5 Plaintiffs are asking for $50,000.
Once a leader in the homeschooling movement, Gothard's ministry has managed to largely fly under the radar of the general public, despite having some rather high profile adherents. Recently, Rep. Daniel Webster (R -FL) was considering a run for Speaker of the House, following John Boehner's resignation.
Arguably the most famous followers are The Duggar family of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting, which was cancelled after several scandals related to the oldest Duggar child, Josh. In May, 2015, In Touch magazine dropped the bombshell that when Josh Duggar was a teenager he sexually abused at least 5 girls, including several of his siblings. In August, it was revealed that Josh had not one, but two accounts at Ashley Madison, a website which has the tagline "Life is short. Have an affair."
For some 10 seasons, the Duggars have been promoted by TLC as a (very) large, happy Christian family. They have shown the Duggars on the campaign trail for politicians such a Mike Huckabee and RIck Santorum. While claiming to be a shiny, happy Christian family, the Duggars have spoken out against the gay community and abortion. Josh was hired by the Family Research Council and moved to Washington, DC, which was also documented on 19 Kids and Counting.
Recently, Gothard and his ministry have gotten more mainstream attention thanks to Josh Duggars misconduct and hypocrisy coming to light. While the Duggar family show, 19 Kids and Counting was cancelled by TLC, they have recently announced that they plan to do several "special episodes" of a show starring the newly married Duggar children, Jill Dillard and Jessa Sewald.
What some people may not know is that another high profile Gothard adherent also has a TV show. Gil Bates and his family have a show titled Bringing Up Bates on the UP network. The Bateses are often seen as a less strict, more fun version of the Duggars. They also have 19 kids and in the last several years have married off 4 children, some of which were shown on either 19 Kids and Counting or Bringing up Bates. In fact, one of the Bates children married the son of Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL)
You might recognize the name Gil Bates from earlier in this post. That's right, he is a member of the Board of IBLP and was named in the lawsuit. The general public may have the Duggar's number thanks to Josh, but there is still a high profile IBLP member that has a platform to show off these dangerous beliefs on TV and he seems to be slipping under the radar, just like the Duggars did for many years.
Please join us for discussion here: http://www.freejinger.org/topic/24484-negligence-lawsuit-filed-against-iblp/#top