Willow Creek’s Lead Teaching Pastor Steve Carter Resigns as Bill Hybels Faces New Allegations of Sexual Misconduct

Willow Creek Community Church Senior Pastor Bill Hybels stands before his congregation, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in South Barrington, Ill., where he announced his early retirement effective immediately, amid a cloud of misconduct allegations involving women in his congregation. The announcement was made during a special meeting at the church, one of the nation’s largest evangelical churches, which he founded. (Mark Black/Daily Herald via AP)

Another woman has come forward and accused Willow Creek Community Church founding pastor Bill Hybels of groping and performing unwanted sex acts in the 1980s. Following the new allegations, Lead Teaching Pastor Steve Carter announced his resignation over disagreement with how the church has handled sexual misconduct allegations against Hybels.

Hybels, who retired prematurely in April from Willow Creek Community Church, a nondenominational megachurch in Illinois, after several women accused him of sexual misconduct, which he denied, was the subject of fresh allegations in an article by The New York Times on Sunday.

Pat Baranowski, who says she served as Hybels’ gatekeeper, fielding calls from pastors across America, revealed that at first she felt blessed by God when in 1985 she was invited to move into the home of Hybels and his wife, Lynne.

On one occasion when she and Hybels were alone, however, she says that he groped her.

“Stunned, she remembered feeling unable to say no to her boss and pastor as he straddled her, unhooked her bra and touched her near her breasts. She remembered feeling his hands shake,” the article describes.

“That first back rub in 1986 led to multiple occasions over nearly two years in which he fondled her breasts and rubbed against her. The incidents later escalated to one occasion of oral sex. Ms. Baranowski said she was mortified and determined to stay silent.”

In other instances, she claims that Hybels made her rent pornographic videos and insisted on watching them with her, apparently for educational purposes so he could preach against pornography in his sermons.

The former employee, now 65, says that she did not speak up at the time because she loved the people at Willow Creek and did not want to hurt the church.

When she tried to confront him, he told her, “It’s not a big deal. Why can’t you just get over it? You didn’t tell anyone, did you?” she recalled.

Hybels denied Baranowski’s accusations in an email to The New York Times.

“I never had an inappropriate physical or emotional relationship with her before that time, during that time or after that time,” he said.

Carter, who was named as one of Hybels’ successors last year, announced his resignation from Willow Creek on Sunday, not long after the new accusations against Hybels were published.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov