Anti-child trafficking advocate Tim Ballard, whose life inspired the film “Sound of Freedom,” is facing sexual abuse lawsuits filed by five women who accuse him of sexual manipulation, abuse, and harassment during overseas trips related to his work. These trips aimed to apprehend child sex traffickers. Tim Ballard recently resigned from Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), the anti-child trafficking group he founded, amid these allegations, which he has strongly denied.
The women’s lawsuits claim that Ballard was involved in a “couple’s ruse” with members of Operation Underground Railroad, where women posed as his wife to deceive child sex traffickers into believing he was a genuine client. The legal action was filed in Utah state court and names Operation Underground Railroad, The Spear Fund (an anti-human trafficking group where Ballard currently serves as a senior adviser), and Ballard himself as defendants. O.U.R. has not responded to requests for comment.
Ballard, previously a Homeland Security officer and a prominent advocate against child sex trafficking, was appointed to a White House anti-human trafficking board in 2019. The allegations against him revolve around the “couple’s ruse” and the claim that it was used to engage in sexual activities. While promotional materials portrayed the group’s overseas missions as “paramilitary drop-ins to arrest traffickers and rescue children,” the lawsuit alleges that most of these trips involved visits to strip clubs and massage parlors and staying at luxury accommodations.
Multiple women allege they were subjected to “coerced sexual contact” during these trips. The lawsuit further asserts that Ballard leveraged his membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his connections to church leaders to persuade the women that his actions were intended to help vulnerable children. Ballard claimed he had permission from a high-ranking church leader, M. Russell Ballard (no relation), to use the ruse as long as it did not involve sexual intercourse or kissing. The church later condemned his “unauthorized use” of a church leader’s name and “morally unacceptable” actions.
Tim Ballard, who had been considering a run for the U.S. Senate, has alleged that his political opponents were behind the sexual abuse allegations against him. The allegations have generated significant attention and have raised concerns regarding his involvement in anti-child trafficking efforts.
The lawsuits remain ongoing, and Ballard continues to deny any wrongdoing while facing these serious accusations.