More details have come to light following the Hillsong Dallas pastor's abrupt resignation in January 2021.
An internal investigation commissioned by Hillsong Global into former Hillsong Dallas pastor Reed Bogard showed that his abrupt resignation in January 2021 was due to a rape accusation by a junior female staffer with whom he had an affair with for months. Bogard and his wife, Jess led the now-defunct Hillsong Dallas and announced their departure early last year.
"We just really feel that it's time to transition off of our staff and take some time to remain healthy, get healthy and to really see what this next season holds for us," Bogard said during an announcement of his resignation, the New York Post reported at the time. It turns out, a rape accusation had pushed him to leave the megachurch.
According to the Christian Post (CP), the internal investigation was launched less than two weeks after Bogard's abrupt investigation. It was then they found out about the rape accusation from a junior female staffer, who admitted to CP that she was trying to move on with her life. She confirmed that she participated in a deposition concerning the rape allegation but refused to add more details.
"At this stage...I'm not going to comment. Everything that you have in that deposition is obviously something that I did, and I said in the context of a legal deposition," the accuser said. "I think I just want to leave it at that."
The internal investigation was conducted by the New York City law firm Zukerman Gore Brandeis & Crossman, LLP and commissioned by Hillsong Global in October 2020. The investigation was launched shortly after senior church officials were first notified about the former junior staffer's accusation that her first sexual intercourse with Bogard in his car following a late night out together was non-consensual.
Hillsong church leaders were already aware of the sexual relationship between Bogard and the former female staffer, but an investigation was not launched at the time. Church leaders allegedly were led to believe that the relationship between Bogard and the former female staffer was consensual and "consequences to both [parties] were meted out accordingly," investigators reported.
On January 11, 2021, the investigators' report was submitted to George Aghajanian, general manager and a director of Hillsong Church Australia and its international entities. The report said that Hillsong Church Australia first learned of the sexual affair between Bogard and the junior staff member in the latter part of 2014 and that their relationship began in in September 2013 and went on through the start of January 2014.
Investigators said in the report, "At the time, the Church did not conduct any meaningful inquiry into the details or circumstances of the affair, and no one with appropriate training was assigned to look into matters."
In addition, the report stated that the former junior staffer "resurfaced the issue" in October 2020, six years after initially admitting to having a consensual relationship with Bogard. According to the report, "...in discussions with certain leaders of Hillsong NYC, [the junior staffer] asserted to them, apparently for the first time, that her sexual experience with Mr. Bogard, at least initially, had not been consensual."
"For the first time, [the junior staffer] stated that at least in their initial sexual intercourse, Mr. Bogard had raped her," the report said.