Sound of Freedom hero Tim Ballard accused of sexual harassment | Hollywood - Hindustan Times

Sound of Freedom hero Tim Ballard accused of sexual harassment

Sep 19, 2023 11:58 PM IST

Anti-child slavery activist and inspiration for film Sound of Freedom accused of sexual harassment

Tim Ballard, the founder of the renowned anti-child slavery organization, Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R), and the inspirational figure behind the film Sound of Freedom has been accused of sexually harassing seven women during overseas missions and taking advantage of a Mormon elder.

Tim Ballard, who founded the anti-sex trafficking organization Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R) a decade ago, abruptly resigned in June
Tim Ballard, who founded the anti-sex trafficking organization Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R) a decade ago, abruptly resigned in June

According to a report by Vice News, Ballard, who was portrayed by Jim Cavaziel in Sound of Freedom, shockingly resigned from his position in June after O.U.R initiated an investigation into the troubling claims of sexual misconduct. Report suggests, Ballard allegedly pressured women to act as his "wife" on undercover missions designed to rescue victims of sex trafficking. He is accused of insisting that they share a bed or shower with him during these missions, purportedly to deceive traffickers.

What's even more distressing is that Ballard, a former Department of Homeland Security official, stands accused of sending an explicit photo of himself in underwear to one woman and inquiring about her willingness to go to extreme lengths to save trafficked children.

While Ballard's abrupt departure from O.U.R was reported publicly three months ago, neither he nor the organization had offered any explanation at the time. To date, Ballard has not publicly addressed the serious allegations of sexual harassment.

Also Read: Sound of Freedom: Box office hit faces online release delay

In response to the accusations reported by Vice, O.U.R released a statement reiterating its commitment to combatting sexual abuse and declaring a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment or discrimination within the organization. They commissioned an independent law firm to thoroughly investigate the allegations while also working on improving the organization's governance and operational protocols.

‘Tim Ballard resigned from O.U.R. on June 22, 2023. He has permanently separated from O.U.R.’ the statement read.

The allegations are corroborated with a letter sent to OUR offices, “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,” the letter, which was sent this summer to donors to anti-trafficking causes, reads. “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.”

After the Vice report went public Ballard responded by giving a speech to a small crowd in Boston in which he said, “It’s not true, nothing you hear is true.”

Before these allegations became public, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which Ballard is a member, issued a statement accusing him of exploiting his relationship with Mormon elder M. Russell Ballard for personal and financial gain. Although the church did not provide specific details, they unequivocally condemned Ballard's actions as “morally unacceptable.”

In response to the church's condemnation, Ballard vehemently denied exploiting his relationship with the church elder, describing President Ballard as being like a grandfather to him. He vehemently refuted any claims of using the elder's name for financial gain and questioned the authenticity of the church's statement, despite it being released through an official spokesperson.

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