Do you have to be a predator to catch a predator? Two lawsuits filed this week make claim to that, accusing Tim Ballard, the self-proclaimed savior of hundreds of trafficked children who inspired the movie Sound of Freedom, of sexual assault.
On Wednesday, the attorney representing five women who filed a lawsuit against Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad earlier this week confirmed that a second lawsuit has been filed. The latest suit, brought against Ballard by a couple, accuses him of sexual assault, financial damages and ruining the couple’s marriage.
“Tim has taken everything from me. He has purposefully destroyed my marriage, manipulated my wife, ruined the relationship with my kids and with my wife’s family,” the plaintiff and husband, known as FT, said.
The lawsuit details how Ballard would use the “couples ruse” — a tactic in which women would pose as Ballard’s wife during undercover operations — to groom female colleagues. This began with Ballard taking trips with these women to “practice” their “sexual chemistry” with tantric yoga, couples’ massages and performing lap dances on Ballard. Women were eventually coerced into more explicit acts, stopping short of penetrative sex, the lawsuit says.
“Traffickers can smell pheromones, so we must have real chemistry during the couple’s ruse, or the traffickers will call us out.” said AA, an employee and alleged victim of Ballard and FT’s wife.
Eventually AA’s late-night conversations and text messages with Ballard, and weeks apart from her husband, led him to seek a divorce after ten years of marriage. In the following days, FT claims he received several threatening messages from individuals connected with Operation Underground Railroad.
“I received a cryptic message, followed by a threatening phone call. I hung up when the person wouldn’t provide me their name. They called back and left a voicemail saying, and I’m paraphrasing, that ‘I had an easy way out. I should have taken the way out. That I will see how tough guys end up. That I’m a pussy. And that they will ruin my career in my industry,’” FT said.
Like any good religious zealot, Ballard also is said to have leveraged his position within the Mormon Church to manipulate his victims. The lawsuit claims that Ballard took ketamine and issued prophecies from the Mormon prophet Nephi that he would become a US senator, US president and, ultimately, a Mormon prophet who would usher in the second coming of Jesus Christ. To locate trafficked children, Ballard would seek help from psychic Janet Russon who claims that she spoke with Nephi who directed her where to find the children. Russon also told women that they were chosen by God to participate in the missions.
Wednesday’s lawsuit echoes many of the same claims as the suit filed against Ballard on Monday.
That lawsuit alleges that Ballard took female colleagues on strip club crawls around Salt Lake City to practice their sexual chemistry. One of the alleged victims, an actress known as DM claims that the day she met Ballard and expressed interest in joining his team, he took her to several strip clubs to “test” how she would “respond to certain uncomfortable and intense situations.” DM claims that Ballard, a father of nine, even brought his son along with him on the escapades and offered him drugs.
Ballard, who stepped down from his position at OUR in June, denies any wrongdoing. On Wednesday night he and his wife, Katherine, launched a defense of his organization’s activities, comparing the atrocities he has fought against to the current war in the Middle East.
“’It was nine years ago today that 120 women and children were rescued from evil and conspiring traffickers on a remote island in Colombia, as depicted in the hit movie Sound of Freedom,” the couple said. “These women and children have names and faces; they are real people. They tragically call to mind the innocent women and children who are pawns in the horrific events in Israel at the hands of the terrorist group Hamas.”