Home Christian News Investigative Reporter Julie Roys Removes Herself From Her Own Conference After Accusations...

Investigative Reporter Julie Roys Removes Herself From Her Own Conference After Accusations of ‘Spiritual Abuse’

Roys told her friends that her decision to pull out of the conference was a tough one, referencing her apology statement and admitting mistakes she’s made.

“In a desire to be sensitive to the safety of the survivor community,” Roys wrote, “I have made the difficult decision to step down from leading and speaking at the upcoming Restore Conference. Given the controversy, and the hurt caused by what I wrote in my book, I fear that speaking at the conference would be a distraction. The primary reason I planned the conference was to provide a safe space for those hurt by the church to find care and community. I am concerned that my participation in the conference would be an impediment to that, so I’m stepping down.”

Roys says she believes that God is calling her aside for a time so she can see Him and herself more clearly, saying, “Before this controversy erupted, I already was reeling from some of the worst backlash to an investigation I’ve ever experienced.”

“Now, coupled with having a painful experience of my life publicly debated,” Roys said, “it’s been hurtful and disorienting,” and with help from others has realized her need for “some time away with Jesus—I will continue reporting, but sadly, I can’t be with you at the conference. This also is painful, but I think necessary.”

The conference has never been about her, Roys said in her letter. “It’s always been about the hope and healing we find in Christ.” Roys said she prays God uses the conference to heal the souls of those in attendance.

“Please know I am committed to the growth process and to honoring God in this difficult situation, however painful,” Roys concluded as she apologized for the last-minute change.

Author Mary DeMuth will be filling in as emcee in Roys’ absence.

Responses to Roys’ News

One of the speakers for the conference, Lori Anne Thompson, replied to Roys’ tweet, saying, “The way home is harder and steeper than I wish it was.”

Another reply Roys’ received was from a follower on Twitter who said, “I’m sad to read this but love how you remind readers that the conference is about Christ, not you. Can’t wait to hear about what God is doing in and through you during this season. He is restoration! Praying with you!”

“Thank you for confessing your sins and not covering them instead,” someone else replied. “Thank you for reminding us that it is actual repentance which leads to actual restoration. Thank the Lord that he chooses to use us in all of our brokenness when we trust him with the consequences of true humility.”

Not everyone was happy with Roy’s statements. An abuse advocate posted an image of a conversation that took place over text, wherein she asked Roys to pull her book from publication, because Roys “crossed boundaries” as an adult in her interactions with the student. Roys responded by saying, “What boundaries did I cross,” and appears to justify her feelings, explaining that she “never spoke of my internal struggle to the student—I shouldn’t say student. She was graduated.”

“And that right there is the problem,” the abuse advocate replied. “I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt that at that time you didn’t understand the power dynamics and boundaries between leader and follower,” explaining that her daughter is 22-years-old and she’d be disturbed if Roys did what she described in her book to her daughter.

“This is spiritual abuse,” her text image showed accusing Roys.

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Jesse is the Content Editor for ChurchLeaders and Site Manager for ChristianNewsNow. An undeserving husband to a beautiful wife, and a father to 4 beautiful children. He serves as a deacon, a growth group leader, and is a member of University Baptist Church in Beavercreek, Ohio. Follow him on twitter here (https://twitter.com/jessetjackson). Accredited member of the Evangelical Press Association.