Investigation Initiated: Tim Ballard, Founder of Anti-Sex Trafficking Organization, Accused of Sexual Assault
Tim Ballard, renowned for founding the anti-sex trafficking organization Operation Underground Railroad, is currently under investigation by Utah police following a criminal complaint of sexual assault filed by a woman.
This development comes in the wake of multiple civil lawsuits by at least six women who assert that Ballard sexually manipulated, abused, and harassed them during their involvement in anti-trafficking operations with his non-profit.
Criminal Complaint Emerges Amidst Civil Lawsuits
The criminal investigation stems from a woman’s report to the police on November 1, marking the first known criminal complaint against Ballard.
The exact details of the complaint, including the alleged incident, were not disclosed in the initial contact report obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune.
However, the report mentions that a meeting was scheduled with a detective for the following day, indicating a swift response from law enforcement. Lindon Police Chief Mike Brower confirmed the existence of the criminal investigation, stating that the case is ongoing.
Uncertainty Surrounding the Criminal Complaint
Details about whether the woman behind the criminal complaint is among the plaintiffs in the civil case remain unclear.
The attorney for the plaintiffs, Suzette Rasmussen, was listed as a contact for the woman who filed the police report but refrained from providing further comments on the pending investigation.
Tim Ballard’s Rise and Fall from Grace
Tim Ballard gained prominence for his work with Operation Underground Railroad, claiming to lead the fight against child sexual exploitation and human trafficking globally.
His efforts earned him a position on a White House anti-human-trafficking board in 2019. Ballard’s story inspired the movie ‘Sound of Freedom,’ where actor Jim Caviezel portrayed him.
Despite recently considering a run for the Senate, Ballard’s reputation has suffered a significant blow following the allegations by women who worked with him on sting operations.
Allegations of Sexual Abuse During Operations
The civil lawsuits allege that Ballard abused his position during sting operations, where women were asked to pose as his wife to deceive sex traffickers.
The setup, under the guise of a ‘couple’s ruse’ tactic, reportedly involved Ballard subjecting the women to coerced sexual contact. The women claim they were taken to strip clubs for ‘testing sexual chemistry’ and were later coerced into massages, escorts, and lap dances, all financed by the non-profit organization.
Coerced Sexual Contact and Misuse of Authority
During the operations, the women assert that they experienced coerced sexual contact, including various sexual acts, all while maintaining a façade of a romantic relationship with Ballard.
Allegations include being coerced into sharing a bed with him or showering together, even though accommodations provided separate bedrooms and bathrooms. Ballard is accused of sending inappropriate photos and asking one woman ‘how far she was willing to go’ under the guise of saving children.
Silent Endurance and Compelled Silence
The women claim they felt compelled to remain silent about the unwanted contact, fearing that revealing it could jeopardize their mission.
Ballard allegedly used his status within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and connections to church leaders to convince them that his actions were necessary for the greater good.
Resignation from Operation Underground Railroad
Amid the allegations, Tim Ballard resigned from Operation Underground Railroad, vehemently denying the claims.
The civil lawsuits assert that Ballard offered to cover one victim’s divorce attorney fees, leading to the end of at least two marriages. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints distanced itself from Ballard, condemning his ‘unauthorized use’ of the church president’s name and activities deemed morally unacceptable.
Ballard’s Response and Controversial Tactics
In a video posted to Instagram, Ballard acknowledged that some missions involved pairing up with fake wives but claimed it was a legitimate tactic known as the ‘couples ruse.’
He argued that it allowed operatives to decline offers of underage sex while retaining credibility. Ballard’s representatives have been contacted for comment as the investigation unfolds.