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Tim Ballard inspired 'Sound of Freedom' movie, sued by 5 women for sexual assault

Five women have filed a lawsuit accusing Tim Ballard, founder of Operation Underground Railroad, of sexual assault and battery.

In a recent lawsuit filed in the Third Judicial Court of Utah, five women have accused Tim Ballard, the individual whose experiences as a child rescuer from sex traffickers inspired the movie "Sound of Freedom," of sexual assault and battery. This legal action comes after Ballard publicly resigned from the nonprofit organization he founded, Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), following an investigation into allegations of coercing women into acting as "wives" during overseas missions. Ballard, a former Homeland Security agent, has denied these allegations.

According to the lawsuit filed by one of the women, identified as "WW," she reached out to Ballard on Instagram in April 2021 due to concerns about her then-partner's potential involvement in trafficking. Ballard allegedly invited her to his office in Lehi, Utah, to discuss these concerns. During their conversation, Ballard asked WW if she would consider going undercover, to which she responded negatively but expressed some willingness to consider it. Subsequently, she claims she was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement and instructed not to disclose anything to anyone.

During their meeting, Ballard reportedly explained a tactic called the "Couples Ruse," where women would accompany him on missions to avoid arousing suspicion from traffickers. While Ballard claimed to have strict rules for this tactic, including no sexual touching or kissing, the lawsuit alleges that he used it as a means to groom the women involved.

The lawsuit describes instances where Ballard allegedly made inappropriate advances towards WW, such as caressing her leg and stroking her neck during their meetings. It also accuses him of groping her repeatedly during a mission in Mexico, insisting that they maintain the facade of being a "kinky couple" to make the sting operation more believable. The suit further claims that Ballard took WW to various massage parlors during missions, exposing her to dangerous situations.

The lawsuit also mentions another woman, identified as "DM," who alleged that Ballard had pushed her against a wall and licked her stomach. WW became aware that these actions were not part of a normal mission after learning about DM's experience.

In addition to sexual assault and battery, the women are suing Ballard for fraud, emotional distress, and conspiracy. The lawsuit also includes O.U.R., its board, and affiliated companies as defendants. The women's attorneys assert that their clients had previously reported their concerns to O.U.R. but were ignored.

Ballard, in response to the allegations, has vehemently denied them, stating that they are "baseless inventions" designed to destroy him and the anti-trafficking movement he has built. He emphasized that sexual contact was strictly prohibited during his time at O.U.R. and that he led by example.

The film "Sound of Freedom," based on Ballard's life and starring Jim Caviezel, gained unexpected success at the box office over the summer. The movie resonated with conservative and religious groups, who were drawn to its depiction of Ballard heroically combating child sex trafficking rings. However, the attorneys representing the women in the lawsuit highlight the tragic irony that Ballard, who fought against trafficking, allegedly exploited these women for his own gratification.

The ongoing lawsuit raises significant concerns about the alleged misconduct of Tim Ballard and the handling of these issues within Operation Underground Railroad. It remains to be seen how this legal action will unfold and what impact it may have on the broader movement to combat child sex trafficking.

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