Ousted lead pastor Carl Lentz is being alleged by a Hillsong Church staffer for sexual abuse, manipulation, and bullying, as she worked as a nanny for Lentz and his family.
The allegations were expressed by the now Hillsong Boston pastor, Leona Kimes, in a blog entitled “Writing My Voice Back.”
While she did not provide the name of her abuser, she told Religion News Service that she was referring to Lentz.
Lentz was kicked out from his position in November due to “moral failures.” The ousted pastor turned down Kimes’ allegations, according to his legal representative, who also told NBC News that Lentz and his partner “vehemently deny the allegations and, in addition to that, have irrefutable proof the events did not happen as they are being described.”
Kimes claimed that the abuse took place while she was working for the lead pastors as a nanny.
According to her, she moved along with her husband, Josh, from Australia for the establishment of Hillsong NYC. Her nanny duties for Lentz and his family lasted for seven years.
Kimes wrote that she was “subjected to manipulation, control, bullying, abuse of power, and sexual abuse.”
“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,” part of her Medium said.
As he started working for the family, she said that “boundaries between personal and professional blurred,” adding that “an unhealthy bond and attachment was formed.”
“I felt like they needed me to care for their family so they could focus on their hard life of being lead pastors, and I was determined not to fail them,” she said.
“The abuse of power started small. Hours would increase beyond belief. Often I would work from 7 am to 11 pm. Schedules were switched last minute without even attempting to confirm my availability. Tasks kept getting added and added to my load,” Kimes claimed. “They made fun of me constantly, even calling me Cinderella, which they said was their way of loving me. My husband was frequently criticized as a group sport. Gossip was constant. If I didn’t join in or if I disagreed, I was the odd one out. Classic bullying.”
The sexual abuse, on the other hand, “started small” when Lentz voice his remarks regarding how she looks.
“I vividly remember the moment my pastor noticed my body in a way that felt predatory to me,” she said. “I was outside in my bathing suit getting ready to swim with the kids. His wife was there. He looked me up and down, making comments about my body and how hard I’d worked to get in shape. His gaze was so intense that I wanted to say ‘ok, enough please,’ but I just covered my belly with my arms and sat down to feel safely covered by the chair.”
More boundaries were not respected following that incident. Kimes said that Lentz got inside a hot tub once with her and the children, accusing the pastor of being positioned in a way his hands can reach her legs.