Reports that Christian music artist Chris Rice groomed and sexually assaulted a teenage boy in the late 90s to early 2000s from Tates Creek Presbyterian Church (TCPC) in Lexington, Kentucky, have been deemed credible by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) after a year-and-a-half long investigation.
Chris Rice Investigation
The 29-page report details the findings from an investigation that was launched after a survivor came forward in 2020, alleging that the singer sexually abused a teenager while he was contracted to lead worship for the church’s youth and college retreats. The survivor shared information regarding his abuse after TCPC had begun investigating allegations of sexual abuse against Brad Waller, their former pastor and close friend of Rice.
Rice has been nominated for 10 Dove Awards and took home the award for Male Vocalist of the Year during the 1999 Dove’s. He has also releasedn 10 albums, including his latest release in 2019, “Untitled Hymn: A Collection of Hymns.”
One of the Rice’s survivors explained why he was coming forward now, years after the incidents took place, saying, “I just don’t want this to happen to anybody else. I just want people to be on guard….I just don’t want anybody else to be taken advantage of like this, God forbid. It’s just not right, it’s not right. So, that’s what I really want.”
Allegations Against Rice
Rice was contracted by TCPC to lead worship at high school youth and college retreats from 1995 to 2003. The survivor met Rice when he was around 13 years of age and claims that he and Rice started exchanging back massages when he was 15 or 16 years old. The survivor stated that he looked at Rice as a mentor and spiritual father figure, and the two would often share the same room during church retreats, sleeping in the same bed.
Rice, who was signed to Michael W. Smith’s Rocketown label at the time, started directing his conversations with the teenaged boy in a more sexual manner, asking if he had ever struggled with pornography. Rice sent the survivor an app to put on his computer to hold him accountable, something the survivor’s parents were unaware of. The survivor shared that because of the program’s restrictions, he had to call Rice for the password in order to visit certain sites.
When the survivor turned 16 years old and got his driver’s license, Rice asked him to drive to his home in Nashville, which was about a three hour drive away. Rice had the teenager sleep in his personal bed with him, where they watched animated movies and massaged each other’s backs.
As the visits to Rice’s house became more frequent, the survivor stated the massages “progressively got more aggressive from backs to lower backs to legs, to thighs, to more than that.”
During a birthday celebration for Rice, the musician requested that the now 17 or 18-year-old boy go camping with him in Nashville. “Once they were in their sleeping bags in the tent, Rice suggested that it would be warmer if they slept naked and then further that they should sleep naked in the same sleeping bag,” the report stated. The teenager declined Rice’s proposal and shared that the next day, the usually talkative Rice just “shut down.”