Home Christian News Exclusive: Sex Abuse Allegations by Carl Lentz’s Former Nanny Put Spotlight on...

Exclusive: Sex Abuse Allegations by Carl Lentz’s Former Nanny Put Spotlight on Hillsong Culture

By 2016, Laura Lentz had apparently learned of the alleged behavior and Kimes said the couple addressed the situation with her. “I was blamed and silenced,” Kimes said in her statement. “I was the problem.”

Multiple times in her statement, Kimes said she blamed herself for the alleged sexual activity. “I would leave church on Sunday full of shame after hearing his sermon. I would think it was all my fault, only to get a flood of messages from him that afternoon.”

In 2017, Kimes said, the Lentzes sat down with her again to address the situation. This time, according to Kimes, “he took full responsibility for taking advantage of me and putting me in a situation that was so heavy for me.”

Lentz had considered confessing to leaders, but “after talking it through with his wife,” they decided it wasn’t necessary, according to Kimes. They told her they would establish boundaries. But, Kimes said, Lentz’s wife told her soon after “I should repent and dismissed me from all of my duties in the house.”

“I’d been fired from their family, but not from their staff. I felt like it was my fault, leaving me full of shame. I wasn’t given another role, and thought we could resolve it, though I wasn’t sure how. I just knew we were all going to keep quiet.”

Later that year, Kimes and her husband relocated to lead the Hillsong campus in Boston.

During those first years on staff for Hillsong, working in the Lentz household, Kimes said the job, which she considered her ministry, was “exhilarating but also exhausting.” She said she was responsible for “cleaning their house, running their errands and ensuring that everything within the walls of their house was as perfect as possible. It was also my responsibility to take care of the pastors’ children.”

“I rarely had time outside of work to be with friends, family or other employees,” Kimes told RNS.

Hillsong churches have reportedly depended on volunteers to work long hours that left many burned out, with one former volunteer telling Vanity Fair  they joked about “the Hillsong hangover,” after long weekends serving at the church.

Kimes said the “do whatever it takes attitude” extended to staff, who “often sacrificed personal needs for what our lead pastors needed — or even just wanted.”

Kimes and her husband, Josh Kimes, have themselves come under scrutiny for their treatment of volunteers in their Boston church. Tiffany Perez, a former volunteer there, told Business Insider that she was asked to care for the couple’s daughter for up to 25 hours a week as well as do cleaning and look after their dog, while being paid $150 a week.

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Roxanne Stone is the managing editor for Religion News Service @RNS.