Ballard is the real-life subject of the indie box-office hit 'Sound of Freedom,' which follows a man who rescues children from human traffickers
Tim Ballard is speaking out after being accused of sexual misconduct in an investigation involving seven women.
Ballard, the real-life subject of the indie box-office hit Sound of Freedom, which follows a man who rescues children from human traffickers, issued a statement on Tuesday through the Spear Fund, for which he serves as senior advisor.
“As with all of the assaults on my character and integrity over many years, the latest tabloid-driven sexual allegations are false. They are baseless inventions designed to destroy me and the movement we have built to end the trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable children," Ballard said in the statement, which was sent to PEOPLE.
Ballard released a second statement, also via the Spear Fund, reaffirming his commitment to his work to end human trafficking despite the claims made against him. "We will keep fighting for the vulnerable all over the globe, and we know that the truth will always prevail,” the statement said in part.
VICE reported on Monday that sources “familiar with the situation” — who have chosen to remain anonymous “because they fear retaliation” — reportedly alleged to the outlet that Ballard “invited women to act as his ‘wife’ on undercover overseas missions” for the anti-child sex trafficking organization Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.).
The O.U.R. founder and former CEO “would then allegedly coerce those women into sharing a bed or showering together, claiming that it was necessary to fool traffickers,” per VICE.
The publication alleged that Ballard “sent at least one woman a photo of himself in his underwear, festooned with fake tattoos.” A source alleged to the outlet that Ballard allegedly also asked another woman “how far she was willing to go” to rescue the children from sex trafficking.
A source close to O.U.R. reportedly “has detailed knowledge of Ballard making sexual advances to a volunteer using methods similar to those he allegedly used with OUR employees,” which are allegedly “consistent with his conduct toward another former volunteer” who went on record with the publication, according to VICE.
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O.U.R. said in a statement to PEOPLE that Ballard, who resigned from the organization on June 22, “has permanently separated from O.U.R.”
“O.U.R. is dedicated to combatting sexual abuse, and does not tolerate sexual harassment or discrimination by anyone in its organization,” the statement continued. “O.U.R. retained an independent law firm to conduct a comprehensive investigation of all relevant allegations, and O.U.R. continues to assess and improve the governance of the organization and protocols for its operations.”
The organization added, “To preserve the integrity of its investigation and to protect the privacy of all persons involved, O.U.R. will not make any further public comment at this time.”
“O.U.R. is confident in its future as the leading organization committed to combatting sex trafficking and saving children who have been captured and sold into slavery,” the statement concluded.
In his statement through the Spear Fund, Ballard said, “During my time at O.U.R., I designed strict guidelines for myself and our operators in the field. Sexual contact was prohibited, and I led by example. Given our meticulous attention to this issue, any suggestion of inappropriate sexual contact is categorically false.”
Ballard’s exit from O.U.R. preceded the Utah organization’s internal investigation into several employees’ claims against the former CIA and U.S. Department of Homeland Security agent, VICE reported in July.
Ballard is portrayed by Jim Caviezel in Sound of Freedom, which Angel Studios released on July 4. The film, which centers around a mission Ballard undertakes to rescue children from sex slavery around the world, has grossed over $183 million at the domestic box office, per Box Office Mojo.
An official synopsis for the movie on Angel Studios' website says it "shines a light on the harrowing reality of sex trafficking and the valiant efforts of those who work tirelessly to combat it."
Angel Studios did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
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