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.
Copyright © 2004 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
MinistryWatch.com's call for an independent commission is available online.
Weblog's coverage of the TBN allegations include:
Weblog: Former TBN Employee Alleges Gay Tryst With Paul Crouch | TBN boss paid $425,000 to silence claims, but accuser now wants $10 million. (Sept. 13, 2004)
Weblog: LA Times Digs Deeper into TBN's Prosperity Gospel Message | Plus: Swaggart promises to kill gay suitors, another Catholic diocese files for bankruptcy, and many other stories from sources around the world. (Sept. 21, 2004)
TBN says it needs massive reserves for expansion and terrorism insurance (second item) (Sept. 23, 2004)
The only remaining Los Angeles Times article still online is: Watchdog Group Wants TBN Leaders to Step Aside | Televangelists reject the request. Wall Watchers seeks reforms and an inquiry into finances. (Sept. 29, 2004)
TBN's responses to the allegations include:
TBN Response to the LA Times Article | In a recent article in the Los Angeles Times reporting a story that Dr. Paul Crouch, the founder and president of Trinity Broadcasting Network, was allegedly involved in a wrongful termination and sexual harassment case in 1997 is deplorable and the scandalous claims leveled against him are false. (Sept. 12, 2004)
TBN Sets Record Straight Against LA Times -- Again! | "A recent article published by the Los Angeles Times was full of inaccuracies, condescension and mischaracterizations about the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), its ministry and operations," said TBN spokesperson Colby May. (Sept. 22, 2004)
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more