A pastor & former employee of the Lentz family wrote an essay that included allegations of sexual abuse, bullying, & manipulation.
Just when he thought his church scandal had subsided, Carl Lentz is back in the headlines. The disgraced pastor was once the leader of the famed global celebrity-favorite megachurch Hillsong New York, but after it was revealed that he'd been carrying on a monthslong affair, Lentz was fired from his position. The woman would later come forward to detail her reported romance with Lentz, including that they allegedly loved one another, but in the end, Lentz publicly apologized to his wife and children for his behavior and is back to rebuilding his relationship.
Now, a woman named Leona Kimes who claims she worked as a nanny for the Lentz family for seven years after moving from Australia to help build Hillsong NYC has come forward. In an article the now-Hillson Boston pastor shared on Monday (May 31), she wrote, "During the years I spent serving them, I 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."
Kimes accused the Lentz's of overworking both her and her husband, little by little increasing both their hours and their workloads. "They made fun of me constantly, even calling me Cinderella, which they said was their way of loving me," wrote Kimes. "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 started small, too," she continued. "My pastor would look at me and say, 'Gurl, you’re looking good. You’ve been in the gym?' There was a lot of flirty teasing like this. I had been around long enough to know that’s just how he was with women. But after a while, the comments started to escalate. I remember being told, 'after you have kids, we’ll buy you a boob job.' Looking back, I know I felt embarrassed, but I didn’t know it was wrong then."
She claims Lentz took photos of her without consent, even cropping out his wife in one of the images. He allegedly would continue with flirtatious behavior, ask her to rub his feet when he got home, ask to accompany her on errands alone, and make physical advances toward her. Kimes also claims that before she was fired, Lentz admitted that his behavior was inappropriate. Lentz's wife, Laura, issued a statement to PEOPLE saying that they "vehemently deny the allegations and, in addition to that, have irrefutable proof the events did not happen as they are being described."