In addition, Kimes accused the former pastor of “crossing more borders”.
“When I was in the hot tub with the kids, he would get in and stand close to me so his hands could caress my legs,” she recalled.
“Then the physical encounters escalated,” she explained. “Although he never had sexual intercourse with me and never kissed me, I was physically injured by his unwanted and repeated sexual touches on my private parts. I froze. Each time I froze.”
Kimes said Lentz’s inappropriately touching and suggestive text messages were addressed twice by both senior pastors during my time at their home. But even though she came forward, Kimes claimed that she was “accused and silenced” in both cases.
Following the claims of Kimes, the founders of Hillsong Church Brian and Bobbie Houston issued a statement that read in part: “After the dismissal of the former senior pastor of Hillsong East Coast, it was clear that the issues were important, and based on our concerns, we initiated an independent and lengthy investigation into the culture of all four Hillsong locations at the Eastcoast.”
“In the search for clarity, it was very unsettling to hear Leona Kimes’ experience,” the statement said. “We have respected Leona’s privacy and her deeply personal story. She has now decided to share her experiences so that she and her husband can move forward as a family.”
The founders said they were “obliged to learn more about how to recognize such trauma and provide meaningful support to anyone who has experienced it”.