SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Days after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement calling certain claims made by Operation Underground Railroad founder Tim Ballard “morally unacceptable,” Ballard has released his own statement.
Sent as a news release from Ballard’s current organization, “The SPEAR Fund,” Ballard said he would not stop his efforts and inferred that the allegations against him come from the very people he’s trying to fight.
Ballard has reached fame through OUR, which works to rescue victims of child trafficking. He is the subject of the recent movie “Sound of Freedom.”
Ballard expressed doubt that last week’s statement by the LDS Church was issued in an official capacity, despite it coming directly from the church’s media director, Doug Andersen.
“It has been alleged that an LDS church spokesperson issued a statement about me through a tabloid that is often hostile to people of faith,” said Ballard in Monday evening’s release. “My church has not publicly verified the statement’s authenticity.”
Ballard has also been the subject of a number of VICE articles about how Ballard was removed from OUR because of sexual misconduct allegations. VICE also reported he had been the subject of an investigation by both the FBI and Davis County. The investigation has since been closed without any charges made against Tim Ballard or the nonprofit.
The church’s statement last week said Ballard had used his friendship with LDS President M. Russell Ballard for “personal or financial interests,” calling it a “betrayal” of that friendship.
Tim Ballard issued the following statement this evening:
“Rescuing kids and fighting child trafficking is an ugly and dark business, especially when — as the result of my work for more than 20 years — we continue to expose members of the powerful, well-funded child trafficking cartels.
“Evil pedophiles will stop at nothing, and they have allies in government, in the media, in big corporations, and even in public institutions. They continue to lie and attempt to destroy my good name and defame my character … and they will never stop.
“I want everyone to know that I and our vast army of supporters will likewise never stop. We will keep fighting for the vulnerable all over the globe, and we know that the truth will always prevail.
“I am a faithful Member in good standing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I believe in Jesus Christ, the Holy Scriptures, and I believe in our faith with my whole heart. That will never change.
“It has been alleged that an LDS church spokesperson issued a statement about me through a tabloid that is often hostile to people of faith. My church has not publicly verified the statement’s authenticity. We are also highly suspicious about the timing of such a statement given its close proximity to Mitt Romney’s announcement that he is retiring, my own public comments about my prayers about future plans, and the fact that the LDS church does not engage in political activity.
“In any event, nothing will change my core beliefs. If someone within the church did release this statement, I am absolutely confident that the right people will step in and ensure that proper due process is followed as the rules of our church dictate.
“I, my family, and the Spear Fund team will confidently move forward and focus on our mission of saving children from the horrors of sex slavery, and remaining fierce defenders of freedom. We invite anyone who shares this passion to join us.”