Christian family institute founder suspended after sexual harassment, abuse complaints

Bill Gothard, who headed a Christian-based family institute and once hobnobbed with GOP Governors Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Sonny Perdue, has been relieved of his duties at the institute he founded over allegations of harassing women who worked at his ministry and failing to report child abuse cases.

According to Religion News Service, Gothard, 79, has been suspended from the Institute in Basic Life Principles, which he founded in 1961,  following a series of allegations posted at the Recovering Grace website.

One allegation claims that Gothard molested an under-aged woman in the early 1990s. Additional allegations charge Gothard with sexual harassment and failure to report child abuse to Child Protective Services.

In a statement posted this week, board chairman Billy Boring told World magazine: “After completion of the review, the board will respond at an appropriate time, and in a biblical manner.” Until then, the statement said, Gothard “will not be involved in the operations of the ministry. The board of directors will be prayerfully appointing interim leadership.”

Gothard  founded the Institute in Basic Life Principles in the early sixties and has been a strong proponent of home-schooling, conservative dress, respect for authority, and aversion to debt.  Additionally Gothard used his Advanced Training Institute conferences to advocate for the Quiverfull movement which encourages large families and discourages the use of birth control.

Devotees of the Quiverfull movement includes the Duggar family, stars of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting".

The news of Gothard's suspension comes on the heels of declining  revenues at at the institute coinciding with the online allegations.

In 2009, IBLP reported a net income loss of $1 million. It lost $4.1 million in 2011, and $3.5 million in 2012, according to its most recently available tax forms.

[young caucasian woman praying on Shutterstock]