ATI’s Bill Gothard Sexually Harrassed ATI Workers?

ATI’s Bill Gothard Sexually Harrassed ATI Workers? February 4, 2014

by Calulu

For the past few days I’ve been reading through the accounts by ladies who’d worked with Bill Gothard, ATI’s founder and venerated head, over at Recovered Grace. They all give very similar versions of their time with Bill, being inappropriately touched, and treated with a creepy flirtatiousness.

Gothard openly brags about his virginity and the fact he’s never kissed a woman romantically. Yes, he might be an unkissed virginal older man but he does seem to show a penchant for playing footsy with his young lady targets. Clearly inappropriate given the relative age difference and the relationship of boss to underling. Against the law in most places.

Recovering Grace Correspondence with Bill Gothard

Recovering Grace – The Gothard Files: A Case for Disqualification

The stories of the ladies who experienced sexual harassment

Lizzie’s Story

Annette’s Story

Grace’s Story

Meg’s Story

My question is do you think Bill Gothard needs to publicly admit and atone for his behavior? What needs to happen next?

Comments open below

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • Pardon my ignorance, what what the heck are those poor women wearing? The scarves on their heads make them look like refugees from a now defunct Soviet satellite country. Is that how he wants women dressed? What on earth?

  • Nea

    I’d be shocked *if* I wasn’t aware that cult leaders, by definition, abuse their cult members, women especially. What should happen next should be the public breakup of the cult, if there’s to be any justice for the girls brought up in it. Let it smash like the Vision Forum cult.

  • Madame

    What a disgusting creep. I think Gothard should be exposed for the abusive hypocrite he is. His “ministry” should be shut down and thoroughly investigated, and his name should be written in the book of evangelical infamy.

    I don`t know what interesting information the law might find if they thoroughly investigated the ministry and examined the women’s (and girl’s) stories closely.

  • Saraquill

    Gothard should have legal sanctions both criminal and civil filed against, him, make huge reparations to his victims and go far away where he can’t harm others.

  • Yes, undeniably so. He is in a position of authority and abused that authority.

  • Frequently, yes, that’s what Quiverful proponents want women to be dressed like.

  • Indomable

    Yeah and actually there is a new account just posted today indicating that he HAS kissed at least one of his victims. So much for his self-proclaimed “purity”. This man’s teachings have harmed so many, my family included…it’s way past time he fell off his pedestal.

  • FullMetalMarmotte

    This is really NOT surprising… your typical sexual predator. Make sure your victims don’t have any info about harassment, build yourself a respectable image and make sure anyone criticizing you will be ostracised… et voilà

  • Madame

    I read the “Sacred Grooming” story today and there’s an ATI QF guy trying to call this whole thing consensual and an awkward way to pursue marriage. I can`t believe how blind or naive this man is! aaaack!
    To say that a 59 year-old boss making sexual advances (holding hands, whispering in ear, touching hair, rubbing foot up her leg) on his 20 year-old secretary is perfectly ok, is preposterous. When the boss fired employees, or sent volunteers home, for being alone in a room with a person of the opposite sex does it, it’s hypocrisy. And when the man abuses the trust of a young woman he’s supposed to be protecting, and uses her to feed his sexual desires, it’s abuse. How hard is it to see that?

  • $66283444

    I had the same questions on consent when I read “Sacred Grooming.” Meg realized 20 years later that the situation was inappropriate, but at the time, she thought she was in love. The general tone I got from Meg’s story is that she loved him, albeit it was a twisted love. For us to label that as sexual harassment essentially takes away her right as a person and a woman to choose who and how she loves, no matter how toxic it may be.

  • Saraquill

    That still doesn’t make his abuse of power all right.

  • $66283444

    I never said it did.

  • I’m doing a series for my blog on “The Handmaid’s Tale” coming true – this is terrifyingly like the story.

  • Madame

    The guy is defending Gothard, not Meg. Gothard was sexually harassing her, regardless of how she felt.
    He kept it all in the dark, hidden, behind closed doors, under airplane blankets. He took what he wanted, when he wanted it.
    He didn’t love her. He just took advantage of her love and used it for his pleasure.
    I agree with those who say that if Gothard had loved her, he would have gone after her when she had to leave the country.

  • B.E. Miller

    Can you pass me the link?

  • Thank you. I think I have 3 parts? Starting with the one today.

  • ILoveJellybeans

    “Gothard openly brags about his virginity and the fact he’s never kissed a woman romantically.”

    “When Bill knew I was being sent home, he called me into his office. He took me in his arms and ran his fingers through my hair. Hugging me tight, he told me never to cut my hair, that I was his inspiration. He then kissed me deeply on the lips and told me never to forget him. Then I was picked up and put on a plane, and I have never heard from him since.”

    Oh really?
    Unless he thinks it doesn’t count because it wasn’t romantic and was purely based on lust.
    He also states he has not seen or touched the private parts of a woman and says he is a virgin.
    I wonder what that really means. Theres so many loopholes, like people who say they are virgins as they have never had PIV sex, but have done anal or oral. Does it count if he touched a woman’s private parts through her clothes? Or if he doesn’t consider his victims to be women because they aren’t married or are underage-he might have seen or touched a girl’s vagina, but not a woman’s. Did he specify that because although he never saw or touched their private parts, someone has seen or touched his? Or if he never touched it with his hands, but touched it with his dick. Or has he seen or touched a man’s (which I think is unlikely as all of the people he targeted are female).
    He is being very specific-he didn’t say “I have never had any sexual contact with anyone”
    Its like when Doug Phillips confessed that he had cheated on his wife with another woman, but said he didn’t “know her biblically”. That doesn’t make it any less sexual, he could have done all sorts of things, even things that Christians would find even more scandalous than regular, penis in vagina, missionary style sex.

  • tulips

    I’m comfortable saying sexually inappropriate given the forum (work) and the power differential. I would also rather call his behaviors toward underage women molestation than sexual harassment.