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Barnabas Fund director resigns as details of internal report on sexual assault surface

Barnabas Fund director resigns as details of internal report on sexual assault surface

Barnabas Fund today issued this announcement of the resignation of its founding director:

It is with great sorrow that the board of trustees of Barnabas Aid International announce the resignation of Dr Patrick Sookhdeo as a trustee of Barnabas Aid International and from his positions as International Director and CEO of Barnabas Aid as of 22nd November 2015.

Dr Sookhdeo founded Barnabas Aid and has led it with zeal, vision and integrity for 22 years. We are immensely grieved that current circumstances oblige him to step down.

Patrick Sookhdeo said: “It has been a privilege to serve the persecuted Church for many years. I have always been motivated by the needs of Christians facing suffering. I hope for many years to come I can continue serving those whom the world often doesn’t notice. My inspiration has always been Barnabas, the encourager, who stood up for the suffering saints of the early Church. Please pray for me, as I pray for others.”

The resignation comes three weeks since Christianity Today broke a story of divisions within Barnabas over its handling of sex assault case surrounding Sookhdeo:

An internal grievance procedure investigation regarding the assault was launched by BFUK [Barnabas Fund United Kingdom] and Sookhdeo was advised to take a voluntary sabbatical while it did its work. However, he was reinstated in June 2014 – long before the crown court trial, which took place in February 2015 – after BAI [Barnabas Aid International] said that the grievance investigation had not upheld any of the allegations against him.

After the completion of the grievance investigation, on June 4, 2014, BAI issued a statement signed by Hauser. It said that the board “expresses its full support” for Sookhdeo and that the grievance investigation “did not uphold any of the allegations of sexual harassment”.

However, a statement made to staff by BFUK dated the previous day and signed by Bishop Martyn Minns took a different line. It said that though the BAI board had agreed to his return from his “voluntary sabbatical”, a majority of the BFUK Board “voiced strong opposition to this decision”.

Four trustees of BFUK, including Bishop Minns, resigned in September 2014….

… it is clear from the victim’s evidence at the Crown Court trial that the report did not provide the unqualified support for Sookhdeo and a flat rejection of the victim’s complaints that BAI’s statement implied.

In February of this year Charity Navigator issued a “Donor’s Advisory” about Barnabas Aid, listing the same McLean, Virginia address as CANA East of ACNA; it is the same address listed on the Barnabas Aid [USA] contact us page. Julian Dobbs, a CANA missionary bishop, was interviewed about Sookhdeo by Christianity Today in February of this year,

“Our work to support suffering Christians is in no way impacted,” Julian Dobbs, a board member for Barnabas Aid USA, told CT. “The important thing to note is that the work of Barnabas Fund remains strong. We’re involved in over 60 countries around the world. The work is much bigger than one man.” He emphasized that Sookhdeo was not placed on the sexual offenders register.

While Minns disassociated from Barnabas, Dobbs has not. Regarding refugees Dobbs said in October,

The Obama administration can be commended for recently announcing support for refugees from Syria, however they have resisted giving specific and designated support to Christians from the region who are suffering. Some European governments have been willing to support suffering Christians by providing special visas specifically for Christians. I continue to call upon the Obama administration to do the same. Barnabas Aid’s ‘Operation Safe Havens’ is specifically focused to relocate persecuted Christians to countries that will welcome the faithful followers of Jesus Christ.

For Sookhdeo’s views on Islam see these Google search results.


Previous related reports from The Episcopal Café:

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