IHOPKC Bans ‘Prophet’ With Ties to Mike Bickle Due to Sexual Misconduct Allegations

The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

January 18, 2024

By Rebecca Hopkins

The International House of Prayer Kansas City (IHOPKC) has banned Bob Hartley, a self-proclaimed “prophet” with close ties to IHOPKC Founder Mike Bickle, from its prayer room due to recent allegations of sexual misconduct.

“Based on information we have been presented and verified, Mr. Hartley has been informed he will no longer be permitted access to the IHOPKC Prayer Room,” IHOPKC Spokesperson Eric Volz posted on X MondayWe can also confirm he is not on staff at IHOPKC, nor is he a congregant of Forerunner Church.”

Though Hartley is not an IHOPKC employee, Hartley posted videos of himself as recently as last December, praying on stage at IHOPKC’s prayer room. Hartley also has close ties to IHOPKC and Bickle, dating back to the founding of the 24/7 prayer ministry in 1999.

Also, former and current IHOPKC staff, one of whom served on the board of Hartley’s ministry, told The Roys Report (TRR) that they reported alleged sexual misconduct by Hartley to Bickle in 2016 and 2022, but Bickle didn’t take any action.

Bickle, who’s facing allegations he sexually abused multiple women over several decades, told TRR that he doesn’t know of any report from 2016. Bickle said he recalls a “dispute” between Hartley and a woman in 2022, but added that at that time, Bickle was no longer leading IHOPKC and Hartley was not on staff.

The most recent allegations against Hartley were published earlier this week on Facebook by former IHOPKC leader Michelle Seidler. One post included a text by an alleged victim, saying Hartley had “EXTREMELY forceful” sex with the woman after she “resisted him for weeks.”

Seidler also published an account by an alleged victim, claiming Hartley used promises of prophetic words to initiate private meetings with her.

And Seidler published a video of Hartley, apparently soliciting sex from a woman. Seidler wrote that in a text, Hartley “asked how much money she wanted” and said “he would put (the money) in a bag for her and meet her wherever she wanted.”

Seidler, who told TRR she’s also one of Hartley’s victims, said she’s “lost count” of the number of women who have contacted her in the last few months about Hartley’s inappropriate behavior. She added that she’s in contact with a “dozen” women with “substantial” stories of sexual harassment or assault by Hartley from 2016 to now.

Hartley did not respond to TRR’s multiple requests for comment.

However, in two different rambling video messages posted to Facebook this week, Hartley admitted to some “mistakes” but denied he sexually assaulted .

He also offered various explanations for the videos, like his social media being “hacked” and using “Adderall” to cope with his divorce. Hartley also admitted he has no “boundaries,” and said he has had “consensual” relationships with “strong ladies,” who wouldn’t “allow me to push them and pressure them.”

Hartley at one point blamed the situation on “witchcraft.” And he complained that people are criticizing him for his support of Bickle, calling Hartley “Mike Bickle Number Two.”

“But I just had needs to be held,” Hartley said. “I just love you all.”

The allegations against Hartley follow a tumultuous few months at IHOPKC. Not only has Bickle been accused of sexual misconduct, but alleged victims have also accused IHOPKC of mishandling past reports of sexual misconduct by other IHOPKC employees.

IHOPKC has commissioned a third-party investigation into the allegations against IHOPKC and Bickle and recently admitted the organization had “likely” mishandled some past reports of misconduct.

Bickle and Hartley’s longtime and ongoing relationship

Bickle and Hartley worked together as pastors at the former Kansas City Fellowship (KCF) in the 1980s, according to Michael Sullivant, former KCF pastor. Sullivant told TRR that Hartley purchased IHOPKC’s original buildings to “help IHOP get started getting space to pray.”

Bickle and Hartley still talk, according to Hartley’s son, Jedidiah Hartley, who spoke with TRR. Jedidiah shared a text with TRR from his father, stating that Luke Bickle, Mike Bickle’s son, is living with the elder Hartley. Jedidiah added that his dad told him about recent phone conversations he’s had with Mike Bickle.

“When this first went down with Mike, my dad was telling me he was talking with Mike,” Jedidiah told TRR. “I was under the distinct impression that he was having conversations with him regularly.”

Bickle wrote to TRR that he’s known Hartley for the past 40 years but hasn’t had much contact with him in the last 15 years, except for seeing him in the prayer room “once every couple months.” Bickle also said that Hartley isn’t a member of Bickle’s five-person “support team.”

Photos from December 2019September 2016, and March 2012 show Bickle and Hartley together.

Bickle said Hartley called him recently to advise him to get a lawyer to mediate with a woman who has alleged that Bickle sexually abused her.  

Past efforts at accountability

Though never on staff at IHOPKC, Hartley was involved “financially” and attended meetings to minister to visitors and leaders, said Seidler, who worked at IHOPKC from 2004 to 2014.

In 2016, Seidler said she found some inappropriate messages Hartley sent a woman. Hartley had been ministering at Bethel Church in Redding, California, so Seidler said she and another woman took the information to Bethel Pastor Bill Johnson and to Bickle.

Seidler said Bill Johnson sent out an email, banning Hartley from ministering at Bethel but didn’t explain why. Seidler said Bickle did nothing.

Johnson did not immediately respond to TRR’s emailed request for comment.

Bickle wrote to TRR that he didn’t know about any 2016 allegation.

In 2022, another woman reported alleged sexual misconduct by Hartley to IHOPKC staffer Dave Thomas, who also served on the board of Hartley’s ministry, Deeper Waters. Thomas told TRR that the woman claimed that Hartley had “forcefully” had sex with her.

Also, in a statement posted recently to Seidler’s Facebook page, Thomas recalled being at Hartley’s home when the woman called.

“(Hartley) placed her on speaker phone and I heard her pained, broken, distressed and trembling voice,” Thomas wrote. Thomas said Hartley claimed the woman was upset because of “her abusive father,” but he later learned that the woman’s call came the day after Hartley had “violated her sexually.”

Thomas said he encouraged the woman to report the incident to police, but she never did.  

Thomas said he also tried to meet with Hartley about the allegations, but Hartley refused and instead pushed Thomas and his wife out of the ministry.

Thomas said he told “several leaders” about the woman’s allegation, including Bickle and Johnson, and another “national leader” whom Thomas didn’t want to name.

Thomas said Johnson told him he wasn’t in a position to help because his wife was deathly ill but wanted updates.

Thomas said Bickle seemed supportive but said Hartley wasn’t on staff, so there wasn’t anything he could do.

Thomas said Hartley periodically visited the prayer room during this time but wasn’t engaging in public ministry at IHOP. Thomas said he told another IHOPKC leader, whom he declined to name, about the allegation against Hartley. Thomas said this leader said he didn’t want to hear about it but seemed close with Hartley.

“During that time, (Hartley) was coming into the prayer room and I was not comfortable with his presence there,” Thomas said. “He told me one time that he could get me fired if he wanted to. . . . And I saw him go back into the back offices where the leadership go. I know during that time, in May to June of 2022, he was conversing with the leaders.”

“Basically, the people at IHOP, the leaders, felt there wasn’t anything that was their particular responsibility to address in this situation because Bob was not on staff,” Thomas said. “So, I was left alone.”

When asked about the 2022 allegation against Hartley, Bickle wrote to TRR: “I had one short conversation with a man who informed me that Bob and a lady were in a dispute and the man wanted IHOP leaders to get involved. I told the man that I had resigned from IHOP in 2020 so I was no longer in the leadership and so that that (sic) Bob Hartley was not a part of IHOP nor was he under the IHOP leaders and the lady to my knowledge was not on the IHOP staff. So, I told the man that he need (sic) to identify the group that Bob recognized as his leaders. I did not know who that group was then nor do I know that info .”

A “small step”

Seidler said she’s glad to see IHOP’s decision this week to ban Hartley from the prayer room.

“Small step,” she wrote on Facebook. “But it’s a step.”

Meanwhile, Hartley has made some threats against those who are speaking out against him in a recent video posted . He said he’d hate for some information “to come out about the person who has done some major attacking.”

“There’s some messes there from that person,” he said.

Hartley also said Monday that he’s going to be getting off social media. However, one of his Facebook accounts accepted a friend request from this journalist yesterday.

Correction: The story has been updated to accurately state that Thomas is currently on staff at IHOPKC.