IHOPKC Report Discounts Mike Bickle Abuse Allegations; Whistleblower Fires Back

The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

November 16, 2023

By Julie Roys and Rebecca Hopkins

The International House of Prayer Kansas City (IHOPKC) has just released a report on initial findings, discounting some of the recent clergy sexual abuse allegations made against its founder Mike Bickle. The report also questions the “true objectives” of the “Complaint Group,” which presented the allegations to IHOPKC leadership in October.

This group, comprised of former IHOPKC leaders, published a statement Oct. 28, saying it had become aware of numerous allegations of sexual abuse against Bickle from “credible” women, “spanning several decades.”

However, IHOPKC said in its report that it has identified five of the eight women the group claimed are Bickle’s victims. Three of the women have publicly called the allegations “lies,” the report stated. A fourth has reportedly refused to communicate with IHOPKC’s lawyer. One of the women’s allegations predate IHOPKC’s founding, the report said. And four of the women did not give consent to be included in the list of alleged victims, the report said.

The report also claimed that the document presented by the complaint group didn’t contain any “actual evidence,” like victim statements, emails, or texts, but rather “only blank squares acting as exhibit placeholders.”

Dwayne Roberts, a founding member of IHOPKC and a member of the so-called “Complaint Group,” called IHOPKC’s report “disappointing on several levels” in a statement submitted to The Roys Report (TRR).

“We are firmly convinced that no charge should be made against an elder except in the case of two or three witnesses,” Roberts stated. “The fact that around 20 witnesses have come forward with first-hand experience of impropriety was why we could no longer remain silent.”

Roberts specifically took exception to the report’s claim that “victim #2” had “partial credibility.”

“This case includes a relationship between a 42-year-old internationally renowned minister and a 19-year-old, a relationship that began with prophetic manipulation and became a 4-year sexualized relationship that lasted into the early years of IHOPKC,” Roberts stated.

According to the report, the complaint group first approached IHOPKC on Oct. 24 with the allegations against Bickle. The report added that the group “did not, and has not, claimed that these women had ever previously made their allegations known to IHOPKC prior to October 2023.”

IHOPKC said in its report that it took the allegations against Bickle “very seriously,” and within 24 hours began looking into the details and asked Bickle to step away from public ministry.

However, the report claimed that the allegations came with “a list of pre-prepared demands ‘to prevent escalating levels of disclosure.’ These demands and threats, which included dictating the use of IHOPKC’s funds, generated an atmosphere of concern regarding the true objectives of the Complaint Group.”

The report added, “(U)pon review by outside legal counsel, it was determined that the collection and presentation of the allegations by the Complaint Group lacked any semblance of reliability or due process.”

In his statement to TRR, Roberts contested the timeline in the report.

“The statement that the Executive Leadership Team was officially notified on October 24th about these allegations is also untrue,” Roberts said. “While it is true that a meeting took place on that date and more information was given, key members of the ELT (executive leadership team) were officially notified on October 9th and (IHOPKC Executive Director) Stuart Greaves told me that the whole ELT was informed on October 10th.”

Roberts added “many of the allegations had been communicated over the prior 18 months in an ad hoc manner.”

IHOPKC says hiring 3rd-party to investigate is ‘premature’

IHOPKC also stated in a letter posted yesterday to its website that hiring an outside party, specializing in church abuse, to investigate is “premature.”

IHOPKC has heard the demands to bring in a third party to investigate the organization in general, but this step is premature until IHOPKC can establish the credibility of the allegations and genuine intent of the Complaint Group,” IHOPKC stated.

IHOP initially hired a national law firm, Stinson LLP, to investigate the allegations. But it changed course last week and instead hired a local lawyer, which it refused to identify.

petition circulating online, which has garnered over 3,000 signatures, is urging IHOPKC to hire GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment) to investigate the allegations.

IHOPKC said in its letter that it “made multiple attempts to reach out” to GRACE on Nov. 9, but GRACE did not respond. IHOPKC said it learned the next day that Attorney Boz Tchividjian, GRACE’s founder, is representing the “main alleged victim,” which disqualifies GRACE as an objective third party.

However, Robert Peters, GRACE’s director of institutional response, told TRR, “Following a review of communication channels, to our knowledge GRACE has never received any inquiries or communication from current IHOPKC leadership regarding recent allegations.”

Tchividjian, who confirmed with TRR that he’s representing one of Bickle’s alleged victims, told TRR that IHOPKC’s statement raises more questions than it answers.

“Who made the determination about the credibility of the allegations?” Tchividjian asked. “What was done to make that determination? What standard was used? . . . Institutions initiate an independent investigation for this precise purpose—and that is to review and assess allegations of reported allegations of abuse.”

Tchividjian added, “I don’t think most people outside the world of IHOP take that statement very seriously, because in essence, they’re making their own determinations as to the credibility of allegations made against the founder of the organization. Why in the world wouldn’t you have a qualified third party do that?”

Tchividjian also confirmed that he had heard from IHOPKC’s attorney, who he identified as Audrey Manito of Rouse Frets White Goss Gentile Rhodes, P.C. in Kansas City.

According to former IHOPKC staff, Manito is a member of the IHOPKC community.

After today’s news, some former IHOPKC staff are claiming IHOPKC’s reporting process isn’t safe for victims and are calling for its executive leaders to resign.

“IHOPKC’s statement calling a third party investigation ‘premature’ only further emphasizes their lack of commitment to a safe, transparent process for investigating abuse,” texted former IHOPKC staffer Susan Tuma to TRR.

“IHOPKC is not qualified to investigate, and attempts to ‘verify’ allegations themselves before calling in a third party are completely inappropriate. IHOPKC leadership must immediately step down and allow a full investigation by an independent third party like GRACE or Guideposts for the sake of truth, justice, and the future safety of vulnerable populations in their organization as a whole.”

IHOPKC said it “remains open to inviting a third party (or even multiple third parties)” to examine its finding.

IHOPKC also admitted that its recent process has revealed some deficiencies in how IHOPKC responds to abuse and the group plans to engage experts to do a full assessment.

The allegation document

IHOPKC’s preliminary findings offer a glimpse into the document that the complaint group brought to IHOPKC in October.

The document, which hasn’t been released publicly, includes a criminal allegation and an allegation of physical contact 26 years ago between Bickle and a woman, the report stated.

The report said the document refers to some of the women as Jane Does and some with initials. Two of the women’s names were mentioned “orally during conversations” the week of Oct. 24, the report stated.

The document claims that two victims were emotionally pursued and prophetically manipulated by Bickle. One of those women, however, has allegedly refuted the claim, telling an IHOPKC attorney that the members of the complaint group were “bullies.”

The report states that several victims named by the complaint group have refuted claims that they were Bickle’s victims.

IHOPKC worship leader Misty Edwards, and a woman named April Rose have posted online that they are not victims of Mike Bickle.

Another woman, Catherine Slezinger, posted online that she was “outraged” to find her name on the list of Bickle’s victims.

However, after Shiloah Bickle—the daughter of Mike Bickle’s son, Luke Bickle—called Slezinger’s credibility into question online, Slezinger deleted her post.

Michael Brown steps down as advisor

Well-known apologist and author, Michael Brown, who had been serving as an advisor to IHOPKC, announced today he is removing himself “from any official connection to the process.”

Brown said his “schedule constraints, including international travel,” prohibit him from staying “closely involved as necessary with the daily developments of the investigation into allegations against Mike Bickle.”

Brown added that he continues to “hope that a thorough, third-party investigation will bring the truth to light for the good of all involved.”

Brown preached at IHOPKC’s Forerunner Church on Sunday, Nov. 5 and urged people to trust IHOPKC’s leadership, who he claimed were not engaging in “damage control” but committed to bringing the “truth to light.”

Later, Brown posted on X (formerly Twitter) that he had “made clear to (IHOP leadership) that it was essential that they bring in an outside firm (like GRACE or Guideposts) to investigate the allegations . . .”

Brown added, “I have been given assurances by the leadership that should the arrangement with the law firm not prove to be in the best interests of a fair investigation, they would bring in an outside organization like GRACE.

TRR asked Brown if he feels comfortable with IHOPKC’s decision to change law firms from Stinson to its own lawyer, and not to hire an independent organization, like GRACE or Guidepost Solutions. (Guidepost Solutions is the third party whose investigation revealed widespread cover-up of abuse within the Southern Baptist Convention.)

Brown replied, “At no point have (IHOPKC leaders) indicated to me that they are not open to bringing (in) an organization such as Guideposts.”

TRR also asked Brown what his level of confidence was that IHOPKC leaders did not know about any allegations of sexual abuse against Bickle before their recent statements to that effect.

Brown replied, “IHOPKC leaders have rehearsed the history with me in detail, face to face, and aside from the one alleged victim coming to them some time earlier (as they have acknowledged), to the best of my knowledge, they did not know about the other allegations until a local pastor (the complaint team) presented them with a 50-page document.”

To TRR’s knowledge, IHOPKC has not admitted it knew about any allegations before Oct. 24, so TRR asked Brown what he was referring to. Brown said he could not comment further about the issue.

Julie Roys is a veteran investigative reporter and founder of The Roys Report. Rebecca Hopkins is a journalist based in Colorado.