Leaked Report Exposes More Dirt on Ex Hillsong Lead Pastor and Wife; Carl and Laura Lentz Vow Legal Challenge

A leaked report has exposed details of an investigation into former lead pastor of Hillsong New York City church, Carl Lentz. The Christian Post reveals that the confidential report, titled "Internal Investigation Report Regarding Carl Lentz and Other Matters" was submitted to the Hillsong Global Board on January 11, 2021.

Commissioned by the Hillsong Global board, the investigation was carried out by the NYC law firm Zukerman Gore Brandeis & Crossman, following Lentz's termination in November 2020.
The results of the leaked copy showed Lentz being engaged in several extramarital affairs, the spiritual abuse of church volunteers and staffers along with "multiple incidents of consensual sexual interaction between church leaders and congregants, staff, volunteers, or non-churchgoers," as per the article published by The Christian Post.

Hillsong Church
Easter Service at Hillsong London 2013 Wikimedia Commons

The report also underlined serious failures of pastoral care. Several former and current staff members in addition to the volunteers, spoke to the investigators on condition of anonymity.
There were further mentions of the relation between Lentz and his former nanny, Leona Kimes, who had claimed in May 2021 that Lentz had sexually abused her while she was a staff member. In 2016 they were caught in the act by his wife, Laura Lentz, who then proceeded to physically harm Kimes at the home of former NBA player Tyson Chandler. Lentz, who rose to fame after baptizing his close friend Justin Bieber in 2014, has also been exposed for cheating on his wife more than two times.

Apart from the detailed widespread sexual misconduct the report clearly outlines his lack of accountability to the then Global Senior Pastor, Brian Houston, or to the board. "… he did as he pleased in a hierarchy where he seemingly answered to no one," as per the Christian Post. Investigators suggested that Lentz was not always a credible witness, especially "when defending his demands for cultural isolationism from the Australian parent church."

Hillsong Church
Inside Hillsong Church, Sydney Wikimedia Commons

"Lentz, acted with so much freedom in running the Hillsong NYC there was a sense that leaders in Australia had little to no control over him", writes the Christian Post. The Australian mother ship is also held liable here, as it never sought to established efficient supervision and accountability for the New York lead pastor.

There were several incidents recounted by volunteers and staff who had often interacted with Lentz and reported that their mental health was impacted by his bullying behavior in addition to wage and hour violations and discrimination. Reviews of his text messages including ones from masseuses citing the cost of massages and sexual acts were also described in the report.

The leaked copy has garnered a lot of unwanted negative attention towards the church's global board and demands for 'accountability and transparency' are being made. Phoenix pastor Terry Christ has finally made the call for an investigation into the board as per the Christian Post.

The Lentzs, on the other hand, have claimed that there are several aspects of the report which are wrong and not true, their legal representative told Religion News Service, that they will be taking the legal course of action against the Christian Post because of the misinformation and false claims they are being subjected to.

This article was first published on April 16, 2022