Former Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz has denied allegations of sexual abuse from a former church staffer.
Leona Kimes made the allegations against the pastor in an essay published on Medium Monday, titled “Writing My Voice Back.”
She wrote that she was hired as the nanny for the lead pastors but that the “boundaries between personal and professional blurred early on, and an unhealthy bond and attachment was formed” as she began working in the family home.
She says he eventually sent her suggestive text messages and made her give him foot rubs. She also says he touched her inappropriately. She says he never kissed her or had intercourse with her.
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“During the years I spent serving them, I was subjected to manipulation, control, bullying, abuse of power, and sexual abuse,” she wrote. “Having told almost no one before this, I am just now able to share what I experienced in their home as the result of intense therapy.”
Kimes later confirmed the unnamed abuser in the article was Lentz in a statement to Religion News Service (RNS).
“I felt trapped and silenced. I also felt so ashamed and I had been told not to say anything or tell anyone,” she told the outlet.
A legal representative for Carl and his wife told Religion News Service they both “vehemently deny the allegations and, in addition to that, have irrefutable proof the events did not happen as they are being described.”