Tim Ballard's life experiences saving children from sex traffickers inspired the movie Sound of Freedom. Now, five women are suing him for sexual assault and battery.
Sound of Freedom experienced a surprising box office performance over the summer after gaining a cult following among conservatives and religious groups. Both Ballard and the actor who portrays him, Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ), have been celebrated by the right-wing for their embrace of Q-Anon conspiracy theories.
Filed Monday in the Third Judicial District Court of Utah, the lawsuit comes just a month after Ballard stepped down from the nonprofit anti-sex trafficking group he founded, Operation Underground Railroad (OUR). The organization hired an outside firm to investigate Ballard for his behavior on overseas missions, where he allegedly coerced at least seven women to act like “wives.”
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According to some of the women in the lawsuit, Ballard used tactic on missions called the “Couples Ruse,” where women would accompany him to sting operations so traffickers would not become suspicious. Rules for the ruse included no kissing or touching in a sexual manner, but one women, known only as WW, said he used it as a way to groom her.
WW claimed that Ballard took her on stings at several massage parlors that left her in dangerous situations. She also said that Ballard came onto her in a meeting before a sting, and that he groped her repeatedly during a mission in Mexico. WW shared Ballard insisted that they had to “remain in character” and act as a “kinky couple” to seem believable.
“WW immediately tensed up but thought that Ballard was testing her and that she should just keep talking as if nothing were happening,” the lawsuit says. “WW kept talking as Ballard stroked her neck.”
WW also said that another woman, known as DM, confided in her that Ballard had “pushed her up against the wall and licked her stomach."
“The tragic irony is not lost on these five women: that Tim Ballard literally trafficked them for his own sexual and egotistical gratification,”