Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is playing defense as the Los Angeles Times investigates an allegation that its president, Paul Crouch, was involved in a homosexual encounter with a male former employee. It is also examining the California ministry's opulence, theology, and business practices. TBN says Crouch, 70, will remain at the helm.
The Times published a story September 12 about legal wrangling involving Crouch and accuser Enoch Lonnie Ford since the late 1990s. Ford met Crouch in 1991 at a drug treatment center affiliated with the network.
After Ford, 41, threatened to sue the network, claiming that he had been unfairly fired, Crouch reached a $425,000 settlement with him in 1998. In it, the man agreed not to discuss his claim of a 1996 sexual encounter with Crouch. But in April, Ford's lawyer sought $10 million for the rights to a manuscript Ford wrote detailing his allegations.
The Orange County-based ministry called the accuser "a convicted felon and longtime drug abuser." tbn said ministry funds were not used to pay the settlement.
"The importance of the settlement does not rest on the money paid, but rather on Dr. Crouch's vehement denial of the allegations made against him as well as the agreement of the accuser," the ministry said.
The newspaper also reported that tbn, with inadequate board oversight, pays Paul Crouch $403,700 and his wife, Jan, $361,000—"the highest salaries paid by any of the 12 major religious nonprofits whose finances are tracked by the Chronicle of Philanthropy." TBN nets about $60 million a year and has $583 million in assets. The watchdog agency MinistryWatch.com called for an independent commission to run TBN.