Conservative leader Bill Gothard resigns following abuse allegations

(RNS) Bill Gothard, an Illinois-based advocate for home schooling and conservative dress who warned against rock music and debt, has resigned from the ministry he founded after allegations of sexually harassing women who worked at his ministry and failing to report child abuse cases.
Bill Gothard founded the Institute in Basic Life Principles.

Bill Gothard founded the Institute in Basic Life Principles. Photo courtesy of Institute in Basic Life Principles via Wikimedia


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Gothard’s resignation from the Institute in Basic Life Principles, according to a letter sent to families affiliated with the ministry he founded, comes a week after he was put on administrative leave. According to an organizer involved in the whistle-blowing website Recovering Grace, 34 women told the website they had been sexually harassed; four women alleged molestation. RNS spoke with several women who alleged they were sexual harassed, including one woman who alleged that Gothard molested her when she was 17. Gothard is 79 and single. Gothard told the Board of Directors he wanted to follow the New Testament command to listen to those who made accusations against him, according to an email sent from David Waller, administrative director of the Advanced Training Institute to families involved in the ministry. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus directs his followers to “go and be reconciled” if “your brother or sister has something against you.” “To give his full attention to this objective, Mr. Gothard has resigned as president of the Institutes in Basic Life Principles, its Board of Directors, and its affiliated entities,” Waller’s email said. Waller said the two institutes will continue under interim leadership, including upcoming conferences in Nashville and Sacramento under ATI president Chris Hogan. Gothard’s ministry had been a popular gathering spot for thousands of Christian families, including the Duggar family from TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting.” Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute conferences were also popular among families within the Quiverfull movement, who eschew birth control and promote big families. Gothard has also rubbed shoulders with Republican leaders. He and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee were photographed at a campaign lunch together; former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue spoke at one of Gothard’s conferences; and Sarah Palin, when she was a small town mayor in Alaska, attended his International Association of Character Cities conferences declaring  Wasilla among Gothard’s “Cities of Character.” The allegations against Gothard dovetail with financial woes. In recent years, IBLP’s net revenue has dropped significantly, and the ministry is losing money. Between 2009 and 2012, it lost $8.6 million. Its net assets dropped from $92 million in 2010 to $81 million in 2012. It held 504 seminars in 2010, but that number dropped to fewer than 50 in 2012. YS/KRE END BAILEY The post Conservative leader Bill Gothard resigns following abuse allegations appeared first on Religion News Service.

6 Responses to “Conservative leader Bill Gothard resigns following abuse allegations”

  1. chuck childers

    I remember attending his seminar in Michigan years ago. Some of his noteworthy advice I remember – Don’t even look at an opposite sex person when you pass one . Keep your eyes fixed straight ahead . And , let God determine the # of kids you have . I do like the 2nd advice . It seems my Muslim friends take it to heart, are having big families . We from the Judeo Christian West are limiting are families and birth rates . Russia is paying families to have more kids . Italy ,Europe are in population decline

  2. Zappa912

    Look at the guy’s smile. Would you buy a used car from that guy? How has this handsome fellow managed to remain single for so long, and not be procreating as he advocates? Apparently from Chuck’s comment, Gothard seems to have trouble following his own advice concerning women. But maybe if he just looked and didn’t touch, he would not be in this trouble.

  3. David Yonke

    Apparently Mr. Gothard didn’t practice what he preached in that seminar, Chuck. He is innocent until proven guilty, of course, but with allegations from 34 women it seems there is something to their claims.

  4. chuck childers

    Yes, he appears to have grossly missed the mark. It’s sad to see a guy finish his race of faith this way. He did teach about having big families, that was instrumental in our decision to have our youngest son . So even though some of his stuff was quirky, his character sketches series of books was used by thousands of home school families in the fledgling days of that movement .

  5. Alexander Agbuya

    Mr. Gothard is entitled to his “day in court” and “must be presumed innocent unless proven guilty” to the charges of harassment and molestation. I am just curious why these complainants took so many years before filing these charges?
    Most often these kind of charges are motivated by ulterior motive(s) or “come across or I’ll spill the beans.” Remember the story of an innocent pastor who was stripped of all his dignity and ministry due to the charge of his daughter of sexual molestation and after several years of trial, the pastor was proven not guilty? The damage was already done. The culprit, a psychologist who counseled the pastor’s daughter, made up the charges by manipulating the gullible daughter. Could these charges leveled against Mr. Gothard to destroy his reputation so someone can take over his position?

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