Sexual misconduct allegations against Fresh Fire USA leader Todd Bentley have now snowballed to include reports from victims overseas, according to Stephen Powell, the estranged protégé of the popular and controversial faith healer, whom he dismissed in a report last Thursday as “not fit for public ministry.”
“I’ve just had a written statement submitted by a pastor last night of all kinds of stuff, including how he is talking to multiple leaders in Pakistan that are claiming that Todd sexually assaulted three girls over there … I don’t know the exact nature of it but they used the word sexually assaulted. … We’re trying now to get the written statement from the (Pakistani) pastors themselves,” Powell told The Christian Post in an interview Monday.
He said they were being very careful in handling these allegations because “these girls, they are in the Muslim world. It is a very sensitive issue.”
Ben Burges of Healing Word Ministries, who said he was ordained under Fresh Fire USA in 2016, also mentioned the allegations in a letter cited by Christian News Network, noting that Bentley is “no longer welcome in Pakistan among the leaders and churches he works with” as a result of the allegations. Burges reportedly traveled with Bentley to Pakistan in 2017.
Burges also noted that during his travels with Bentley, he witnessed the evangelist jesting in a crude sexual manner with a female intern.
“Todd’s response was, ‘Oh, get over it. You better get used to [sexual act] soon; you are about to get married,” Burges noted.
“My concern is that if these things are not handled properly by leadership that Todd cannot get the help he needs,” Burges added. “There are people that are sexually scarred for life, and if leaders don’t handle this properly it will be because of the negligence of leaders that choose to not handle this appropriately.”
A Fresh Fire USA representative told CP Wednesday morning that Bentley would not be doing any interviews and when asked about the allegations coming out of Pakistan said, “I can’t respond for him.”
Powell, who leads the Lion of Light Ministries, first teased bits of a yet to be made public 30-page report on Facebook last Thursday in which he alleged Bentley has a “perverse sexual addiction” that has driven him to prey on interns in 2013 and beyond.
In his Facebook statement, Powell, who believes he got a mandate from God to call wayward Christian leaders to repentance, alleged Bentley “has an appetite for a variety of sexual sins, including both homosexual and heterosexual activity.” He also accused the evangelist of indulging in an open marriage with his wife Jessa. His report further criticized Bentley’s restoration process stemming from moral failure in 2008.
The 30-page report is said to have been shared with more than 100 leaders in the charismatic movement and some who have read it call it “damning.”
“I have seen the report. It’s bad. It’s bad,” Apostle Derrick Gates of Derrick Gates Ministries, who described himself as having working relationships with both Powell and Bentley, told CP Tuesday.
Powell confirmed with CP that Gates, who said he was also previously a member of Bentley’s camp, had joined him in confronting Bentley with evidence from the report earlier this summer. Bentley, Powell said, initially denied the allegations until he later began admitting to only parts of it.
Bentley has since publicly admitted to sending suggestive text messages to his interns in 2013 but vehemently denied any misconduct since that time. He also denied any homosexual conduct while arguing that many of the allegations made against him in Powell’s report are unproven, false and exaggerated.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair