Willow Creek/Flickr
Share

Willow Creek church founder Bill Hybels faces new investigation after fresh harassment claims

Tue 07 Aug 2018
By Alex Williams

An American megachurch has announced a new independent investigation into claims its founding pastor sexually harassed female colleagues and a congregation member, after fresh allegations emerged.

Speaking with the New York Times, Bill Hybels' former executive assistant Pat Baranowski accused the former leader of Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago of sexually and emotionally abusing her during the 1980s.

Lead pastor Heather Larson said the probe would be given "full autonomy" and overseen by an advisory board of "external" Christian leaders from across the US.

 

In a meeting held in April, Hybels announced he was stepping aside as a leader of Willow Creek with immediate effect.

Addressing his former congregation, the evangelical leader admitted naivety by placing himself too frequently "in situations that would have been far wiser to avoid."

As many as ten women have now come forward to accuse Hybels of inappropriate behaviour, including prolonged hugs, comments about their appearance and invitations to his hotel rooms during a number of years.

www.steveryancarter.com

 

The women took their claims to the press, after two investigations initiated by leaders at Willow Creek found no wrongdoing.

Hybels told the New York Times he denied Ms Baranowski's allegations. He has refuted previous claims made against him, calling some 'flat-out lies'.

A member of the Willow Creek leadership team, Rev Steve Carter (pictured above) quit his post on Sunday, citing concerns over how church officials have handled the allegations made against Hybels.

Stay up to date with the latest news stories from a Christian perspective. Sign up to our daily newsletter and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every morning.

Daily news direct to your inbox
Your News Feed

Stay informed and inform others with up to the minute news from a Christian perspective. 

Daily News email

RSS feeds

News Widgets

You may also like...

The funeral of Cardinal Keith O'Brien, formerly the Catholic... More

A former West Sussex vicar has appeared in court to answer sex... More

A missionary from Cambridgeshire who saw his best friend shot... More