Evangelical Leader Besieged by Multiple Claims of Sex Abuse

International House of Prayer founder Mike Bickle allegedly violated marriage covenant, intimidated victims
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2023 8:15 AM CDT
Evangelical Leader Accused of Clergy Sex Abuse
This Nov. 12, 2022, photo shows the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.   (Wikimedia Commons/SunDawn)

The founder of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri, has agreed to step away from public ministry amid an investigation stemming from numerous claims of clergy sex abuse. Leaders of the evangelical church announced Sunday that "we have recently become aware of serious allegations including sexual immorality directed against Mike Bickle, the founder of IHOPKC," per the Christian Post. A day earlier, three former church leaders issued a statement saying they had informed the leadership team of credible "allegations of clergy sexual abuse by Mike Bickle," which had spanned "several decades," per the Kansas City Star. It's unclear if law enforcement has been notified.

The three men, including IHOPKC founding member Dwayne Roberts, said they initially tried to confront the pastor with the allegations of one alleged victim but he "repeatedly rebuffed" them. "Instead, Mike used manipulating and intimidating tactics towards the victims to isolate them and discredit them," according to the statement. The men didn't say how they learned of the allegations but described "the collective and corroborating testimony of the experiences of several victims." "The allegations seemed out of character to the man we thought we knew, but they were so serious we could not ignore them," the group added.

They said the claims were "sexual in nature where the marriage covenant was not honored." They also claimed Bickle had "used his position of spiritual authority over the victims to manipulate them." Bickle, who has led the IHOPKC since its 1999 founding, has yet to comment, though he preached last weekend about false accusations, per the Star. IHOPKC, whom some have criticized for a lack of transparency, did not respond to requests for comment. In Sunday's statement, however, leaders said Bickle had "agreed to not preach or teach from the IHOPKC platform, attend our 24-hour prayer room, or engage his social media channels while we work with others to assess this situation," per the Post. (More sexual misconduct stories.)

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