The discrepancies between Thompson’s account of the situation and RZIM’s account don’t end there. In a statement given to ChurchLeaders by RZIM and published to their site on September 25, 2020, concerning the 2017 lawsuit Zacharias filed, the ministry writes, “The Thompsons, through their attorneys, then requested to enter into mediation to resolve the matter without going to trial.”
According to the Thompsons, this statement is not accurate. “We did NOT request mediation, rather both parties agreed to mediation to avoid a lengthy and costly public legal battle,” the Thompsons write in a statement published on the Roys Report on October, 13, 2020. They also say “Mr. Zacharias’ legal counsel informed our legal counsel that we faced long, protracted litigation and that Mr. Zacharias had a donor who would cover any and all legal costs that Mr. Zacharias incurred.”
The September 25th RZIM statement also portrays the 2018 C&MA inquiry into the matter as being “independently and rigorously investigated.” We reached out to RZIM asking for clarification on this point, since their description of the inquiry and C&MA’s are so different. Ruth Malhorta with RZIM told us the following: “When RZIM’s Board of Directors stated on September 25, 2020, that ‘this matter was independently and rigorously investigated in 2018’ at the initiative of C&MA, they meant that the C&MA’s actions were independent of RZIM.”
Can Zacharias’ Word Be Trusted?
If Zacharias did indeed lie about his interactions with the Thompsons, is it possible that he lied about other things?
In his 2017 statement, Zacharias wrote the following:
In my 45 years of marriage to Margie, I have never engaged in any inappropriate behavior of any kind. I love my wife with all my heart and have been absolutely faithful to her these more than 16,000 days of marriage, and have exercised extreme caution in my daily life and travels, as everyone who knows me is aware. I have long made it my practice not to be alone with a woman other than Margie and our daughters—not in a car, a restaurant, or anywhere else.
However, this account does not line up with the word of at least three former employees who worked at two spas that Zacharias co-owned in the Atlanta area. ChurchLeaders spoke to one of those former employees who wished to remain anonymous. She told us she was regularly alone with Zacharias—even at his house a couple of times—to give the apologist massages. And, according to her account and the account of two other former employees who spoke to Christianity Today as well as Steve Baughman, Zacharias made sexual advances and exposed himself on multiple occasions.
The Spa Workers’ Accounts
The spa worker we spoke to knew Zacharias for several years prior to working in the spa he co-owned. As is well-known, Zacharias suffered from a back injury that caused him pain and from which he sought relief through massage. He was also profoundly lonely, according to our contact. She described him as someone who needed friends and “needed lightness and happiness in his life.” As Zacharias came to her for massages, the two bonded over discussions of faith and their personal lives.
Eventually, though, she says Zacharias started doing inappropriate things, like putting an arm around her waist, touching her legs, and exposing himself. Things got worse from there, she says, to the point where he asked her to have sex with him. She refused.
While this was happening, our contact said Zacharias also professed his love for her and told her that if he could leave his wife and his ministry behind, he would. She says she felt compassion for him because of how unhappy he was. She describes spending “hundreds, if not thousands of hours, speaking to Ravi. We had a friendship. I think that was real.”