Sound of Freedom activist resigns after sexual harassment allegations

Former OUR CEO Tim BallardYouTube/Operation Underground Railroad

The anti-child sex trafficking activist and subject of the controversial indie hit Sound of Freedom has resigned from the organization he founded amid sexual harassment allegations against him. 

It seemed as though the Sound of Freedom drama had died down in recent weeks. To refresh your memory, the movie dropped in US theaters at the start of July, telling the true story of Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) – a nonprofit focused on rescuing children from sexual exploitation.

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A lot happened in the weeks following its release, from controversies relating to lead star Jim Caviezel’s links to QAnon, to claims of Disney purposely shelving the project and anti-Christian bias, allegations of cinemas sabotaging screenings, and a funder’s arrest for child kidnapping.

But arguably the biggest bombshell arrived earlier this year when Ballard resigned from OUR. Although plenty of questions were left unanswered, a new report sheds light on the situation. 

Sound of Freedom activist resigns after sexual harassment allegations

In a report published this week, sources told Vice that the resignation came following an “investigation into claims of sexual misconduct involving seven women” who were OUR employees. 

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Insiders who are said to be close to the situation allege that Ballard, who is reportedly considering a 2024 Senate run, asked staff members to act as his “wife” on undercover rescue missions outside of the US. 

They allege that he would “coerce those women into sharing a bed or showering together, claiming that it was necessary to fool traffickers,” and that he sent at least one woman a photo of himself in his underwear and asked another “how far she was willing to go” to save children from sex trafficking. 

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Although the accusations involve seven women, who remain anonymous as they “fear” the repercussions, it’s believed there are more, as the figure doesn’t include volunteers or contractors. 

Former OUR CEO Tim BallardYouTube/Lewis Howes

In response to a request for comment, an OUR spokesperson told the outlet: “Tim Ballard resigned from OUR on June 22, 2023. He has permanently separated from OUR.

“OUR is dedicated to combatting sexual abuse and does not tolerate sexual harassment or discrimination by anyone in its organization.  

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“OUR retained an independent law firm to conduct a comprehensive investigation of all relevant allegations, and OUR continues to assess and improve the governance of the organization and protocols for its operations.

“To preserve the integrity of its investigation and to protect the privacy of all persons involved, OUR will not make any further public comment at this time.  

“OUR is confident in its future as the leading organization committed to combatting sex trafficking and saving children who have been captured and sold into slavery.”

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The news arrives following an anonymous letter accusing Ballard of sexual harassment, which was shared by journalist Lynn Kenneth Packer over the weekend and was reportedly sent to OUR staff and donors over the summer. 

Vice shared excerpts from the letter, which read: “Several weeks ago, an OUR employee who accompanied Tim on an undercover operation filed a sexual harassment complaint against him with OUR’s HR department.

“This resulted in an extensive internal investigation into Tim and his individual operational tactics and led to more women speaking up as part of the investigation process.

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“It was ultimately revealed through disturbingly specific and parallel accounts that Tim has been deceitfully and extensively grooming and manipulating multiple women for the past few years with the ultimate intent of coercing them to participate in sexual acts with him, under the premise of going where it takes and doing ‘whatever it takes’ to save a child.”

Ballard hasn’t responded to Vice’s request for comment through various channels, including his personal website and the page for The SPEAR Fund, where he is now senior advisor. 

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Mormon Church condemns Tim Ballard

This month, Ballard also received an unexpected condemnation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, accusing him of using the name of President M. Russell Ballard – who serves as president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles within the church – for his own “personal advantage.”

Part of the church’s statement shared by Fox 13 reads: “Once it became clear Tim Ballard had betrayed their friendship, through the unauthorized use of President Ballard’s name for Tim Ballard’s personal advantage and activity regarded as morally unacceptable, President Ballard withdrew his association. 

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“President Ballard never authorized his name, or the name of the Church, to be used for Tim’s personal or financial interests. In addition, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints never endorsed, funded, supported or represented OUR, Tim Ballard or any projects associated with them.”

Yesterday, the outlet shared a recent clip of Tim Ballard – who is Mormon – speaking to a small crowd of supporters in Boston where he denied the allegations and suggested the church didn’t issue the statement, despite verification that it did. 

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“I don’t believe the church did this, I truly don’t,” he says, adding: “This is breaking down my family like you can’t believe.” The former OUR CEO also questioned the timing of the statement, saying: “It was leaked to the press that I was going to run for US Senate.”

You can read more about Tim Ballard and Sound of Freedom in the links below: 

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