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'None of these are true': Willow Creek's Bill Hybels rejects misconduct allegations
Bill Hybels, the author and megachurch pastor, has issued a full denial to allegations claiming he was involved in sexual misconduct.
After concerns were raised about his behaviour by a group of pastors, including author John Ortberg, the Chicago Tribune put together an investigation which looked at various allegations made over a number of years including suggestive comments, extended hugs, an unwanted kiss, and invitations to hotel rooms.
It also looked into an investigation by Hybels' church Willow Creek which was informed that he'd had an affair.
In 2014, elders at the church found him to have done nothing wrong after the woman who made the claim of an affair admitted she had lied.
Since then, other women have made serious claims. In one case a woman suggested Hybels summoned her to his hotel room and kissed her while on a trip to Sweden in 1998.
Another accused him of "a lingering hug" which made her feel uncomfortable while another claim suggested he'd invited a woman to his house, but only while his wife was away.
Describing the accusations as "one of the most heart-breaking and frustrating things" he's experienced, Hybels posted a detailed rebuttal on the church's website.
"The lies you read about in the Tribune article are the tools this group is using to try to keep me from ending my tenure here at Willow with my reputation intact.
"Let me be clear: none of these allegations are true.
"Many of these alleged incidents purportedly took place more than twenty years ago. The fact that they have been dredged up now and assembled in a calculated way demonstrates the determination of this group to do as much damage as they possibly can."
A number of pastors have brought the issue back because they felt the church inquiry wasn't as thorough as it should have been.
Refuting the claims by Hybels that the pastors are just tarnishing his reputation, John Ortberg told the Tribune: "It's absolutely not the case.
"This information came to us in a way that was unlooked for, unwanted, and it put us in a terrible situation.
"To say I was motivated to find a problem couldn't be further from the truth."
The Church elders say they are in full support of Hybels while the pastor himself says he's asking God what he can learn from this "dark situation".
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