Page Six published a damning report on Thursday uncovering a 2018 letter in which several whistleblowers involved with the church at the time came forward. In their reveal, the former true believers shared stories about disturbing levels of “inappropriate” sex and “sleeping around” taking place among higher-level church staff members and volunteers, among other things.
Like we noted, the former volunteers and staffers first tried to go to Hillsong about this issue — and barely anything was done! Back in 2018, the group sent the church’s leaders a letter claiming the popular ministry “was a breeding ground for unchecked abuse,” and further warned of “verified, widely circulated stories of inappropriate sexual behavior amongst staff/interns.” Yikes!!!
As a result, at least one person stepped down from a full-time position after it was revealed he had “multiple inappropriate sexual relationships with several female leaders and volunteers and was verbally, emotionally, and according to one woman, physically abusive in his relationships with these women.”
However, other members reportedly skirted consequences for their bad behavior, and continued their employment with the popular ministry outfit. In particular, the letter accused one other male staffer of “not respecting physical and sexual boundaries within dating relationships with female church volunteers,” which included going so far as “having sex with a 19-20-year-old female team member.”
And the note further warned that because of “vague or absent sexual harassment/sexual assault” policies at Hillsong, the organization effectively fostered a “culture of silence and fear.”
It wasn’t just sexual misconduct, either. The whistleblowers noted the presence of “harsh words, belittlement, and name-calling from certain pastors and staff.” Regarding one pastor in particular, the staffers accused him of “losing his temper, bullying, yelling and outright screaming at other volunteers and leaders.” When the church tried to intervene, an exec was told “that’s just how [he is] — it’s their personality.” Wow…
Ultimately, the letter was sent to seven of the top leaders in the United States branch of the church, including Lentz, who at the time was in his position at the top of Hillsong’s New York City outfit. Other than the one firing that Page Six reported, it’s not clear what Hillsong did in response; regardless, this just goes to show there were MAJOR problems at the popular congregation even beyond Lentz’s own disgraceful and hypocritical affairs.
What a world…
Reactions, Perezcious readers? Are you surprised by this?? Sound OFF with your take down in the comments (below)…
[Image via Hillsong Church/YouTube]