A former youth pastor accused of sexually abusing a Washington woman three decades ago when she was 14 has been placed on administrative leave by the International House of Prayer of Kansas City, where he now works.
Brad Tebbutt, who has a ministry at IHOP for people in their 50s and above, will be on leave while the organization investigates the allegations, an IHOP representative told The Star on Thursday.
“As a ministry we are firmly committed to the safety of all our members, especially the most vulnerable including our children and women,” Adam Wittenberg, an intercessory missionary at IHOPKC, said in an email. “In light of the recent accusations against one of our staff that took place over 30 years ago, as is typical in situations of these type of accusations, the staff member is on administrative leave while the veracity of these accusations is ascertained.”
The allegations came to light when Jennifer Graves Roach recently told The Modesto Bee that Tebbutt had sexually abused her in the mid-1980s. Tebbutt was a 27-year-old youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Modesto, Calif., when the abuse began, Roach told The Bee in a story published Saturday.
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Roach told The Bee that Tebbutt consoled her when her father died, then sexually abused her over the next 2½ years.
Tebbutt, who now lives in the Kansas City area, has not responded to requests for comment. In an email to The Bee, Tebbutt asked if he should submit a statement, then went silent for three weeks.
Last week, a day after The Star first reached out to IHOP for comment, an official emailed Roach, saying he wanted “to make contact with you re: events that took place between you and Brad Tebbutt 30 yrs ago.”
Roach told The Star on Thursday she was pleased that IHOP had placed Tebbutt on leave.
“I think it’s an appropriate action for any church in their situation to take,” she said.
She suggested that IHOP ask an organization called GRACE, which stands for Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment, to handle the investigation.
“GRACE is headed by Boz Tchividjian, who happens to be Billy Graham's grandson and a former prosecutor of sexual abuse, and they have skilled investigators that can help uncover what may have happened in their location,” Roach said.
Founded in 1999, the International House of Prayer is a 24/7 mission with its world headquarters on Red Bridge Road in Kansas City.
Tebbutt’s bio says he has been married for 36 years and has two children. He leads the Simeon Company Internship at IHOPKC, described as “a training experience and mentoring community for those 50 and older” who “desire to give their lives more fully to prayer, worship, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, outreach, and works of justice.”
Prior to coming to IHOP, his bio says, Tebbutt was involved in youth ministry for more than 30 years.
Roach recently contacted The Bee, emboldened by the #MeToo movement and saying it was time to break the silence.
Roach, now 47, is married and has a teenage son. She’s been ordained in the Anglican Church and works as a therapist whose clients include sexual abuse victims.
She told The Bee that when she initially came forward, church leaders at first didn’t believe her, then told her to forgive and forget and never talk about it again. She said they never told her mother or reported it to police.
First Baptist, a prominent Modesto congregation, changed to CrossPoint Community Church in 2010.