Statement of Acknowledgment and Public Confession
It is with great sadness and deep lament that we, the current leadership of Live at Peace Ministries (LAPM), provide this statement of acknowledgment and public confession.
In February 2021, a journalist, David French, wrote an article regarding the conciliation services of the LAPM founder, Judy Dabler, while she was working for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) in 2018 and 2019. The story highlighted how Dabler’s conciliation process was utilized by powerful senior leaders as a larger effort to conceal Ravi Zacharias’ abusive behavior. The release of this article, and resulting negative public attention, led to Judy Dabler requesting a professional performance review of the RZIM mediations pursuant to an established Conciliator Grievance Policy. This policy is designed to address complaints that a Christian conciliator may have violated the Standard Conduct for Christian Conciliation.
Judy Dabler asked Ken Sande, the founder of Peacemaker Ministries and RW360, to review the RZIM cases to identify any possible deficiencies in her conciliation methods and to recommend ways to make amends with anyone who may have been harmed by her services. The review was to be conducted by an independent Panel comprised of three attorneys who had also qualified as Certified Christian Conciliators.
The professional grievance process eventually expanded into a formal investigation beyond the scope of the RZIM mediations due to a number of Judy Dabler’s past clients, colleagues, and students coming forward to provide further testimony. Many of them had read the David French article and shared similar concerns about Dabler’s methods and practice of conciliation. Consequently, these witnesses felt compelled to come forward and volunteer to be interviewed by the Panel in hopes of protecting others from further harm. The Panel reviewed Judy Dabler’s records and interviewed 39 individuals, including Judy Dabler’s testimony and subsequent response. Numerous emails, photographs, and documents were presented to corroborate past clients,’ colleagues,’ and students’ responses.
On July 22, 2021, after receiving the final results and recommendations of the Panel, Judy Dabler officially withdrew from the grievance process she originally requested. She declined to accept and submit to the findings and recommendations of the Panel.
As a result, the Panel issued a formal decision which was given to all 39 participants. This document highlighted several deficiencies that violated The Standard Conduct for Christian Conciliation and the American Association of Christian Counselors Code of Ethics. Some examples of cited violations were:
- Mishandling the 2018 and 2019 mediations at RZIM by failing to disclose conflicts of interests and failing to protect vulnerable parties from traumatization and power imbalances.
- Failing to recognize her own power and desire for control and thus behaving in an overbearing manner toward others.
- Sharing private client information that violated confidentiality.
- Developing harmful dual relationships that violated professional boundaries.
- Treating clients in a way that caused a disadvantage to more vulnerable clients compared to her treatment with more influential clients.
- Pressuring colleagues and clients to make confessions or accept agreements that were experienced as unjust.
- Failing to protect some clients from power imbalances.
- Failing to consistently practice personal peacemaking.
- Initiating inappropriate and abusive emotional and physical intimacy with colleagues, students, interns, and clients.
Based on these deficiencies, the final decision concluded that:
“Judy has disqualified herself from any ministry or professional practice involving counseling, coaching, conciliation or training and should suspend all such activities until she has completed an independently supervised process of therapy and conciliation that leads to a clear demonstration of authentic repentance resulting in genuine reconciliation efforts with the people she has harmed and a sincere effort to do all she can to make amends and bring healing to those people.”
While the report cited a litany of reasons for this recommendation, the purpose of this letter is to address what the current leadership of LAPM deems to be a systemic institutional failure by our organization in relation to Judy Dabler during her ministry tenure here (2007 – 2014). 
Through the course of the panel’s investigation, it became clear that in the Spring of 2011, LAPM was made aware of serious complaints against our then-president, Judy Dabler. The current leadership now realizes that we did not properly handle these past complaints. The current LAPM leadership believes that we must not only take ownership for our past institutional failings, but also take substantive steps to correct past mistakes. What was done in secret must be exposed to the light in order to foster accountability and bring healing to those who have been harmed in the past. Although these events took place a decade ago, sadly, these issues have never been adequately addressed. This has resulted in further harm to the victims on several levels.
In the spring of 2011, two men discontinued their employment at LAPM and brought formal written charges against our then-president, Judy Dabler. These charges were brought to both the Board of Directors at LAPM and the Dean’s Office at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS). At that time, Judy Dabler was serving as an adjunct professor at TEDS, which is also where her relationship with the two complainants began. Their verbal and written allegations were serious and specific. Among them were allegations of;
- sexual harassment
- grooming behavior and sexual abuse
- emotional and psychological abuse
- wrongful sexual contact with a donor of the ministry
- past affairs
- violations of counseling ethics and dual relationships
- attempts to manipulate behavior via threats of suicide
While making these allegations in their interviews with the Board of Live at Peace, these individuals provided names of other TEDS students who were also witnesses of Judy Dabler’s abusive actions. Unfortunately, these students were never contacted by the leadership at LAPM. The complaint was closed by the Board of Directors of LAPM without an independent investigation ever being conducted. When questioned on this decision, the LAPM Board wrote in an email dated June 2, 2011, that an investigation was unnecessary since “Judy agreed with the complaints. For this reason, we did not have to verify any of the issues the complainants raised.”
In response to these allegations and Judy Dabler’s subsequent response, the Board placed her on a one month paid leave of absence (April 8, 2011 – May 7, 2011) and then on a paid sabbatical for four months (May 8, 2011 – September 7, 2011). The Sabbatical plan was intended to serve as a private “formal reprimand and caution” from the LAPM Board Directors. During this Sabbatical, Dabler was to pursue counseling, work on her book, write a policy on dual relationships, and travel to Australia for ministry purposes. Judy Dabler retained the title of president during this sabbatical. Although another senior staff member assumed the role of acting president in her absence, this role was limited in power as all major financial decisions were not permitted without Dabler’s approval.
In a further concerning discovery, the two initial complainants were functionally silenced when both victims challenged the decision to allow Judy Dabler to continue in ministry without satisfactory repentance for her harmful behavior. These men were urged by LAPM to mediate face-to-face with their alleged abuser using a reconciliation process not suited to address power and abuse dynamics. The Board admonished these men to comply by using direct references to confidentiality clauses in the terms of their employment, contractual obligations to mediate all disputes using conciliation, accompanied by reminders of scriptural references to avoid bitterness, slander, and gossip, and to trust the authority God had providentially placed on the LAPM Board and Trinity. Additionally, it was inferred that these complainants were partially responsible for the alleged abuse by reframing the allegations as mutual conflict.
To explain the sudden absence of these employees, it was reported by several witnesses that Judy Dabler communicated to staff, clients, and donors that these men were no longer on staff due to their “personal sin.” Judy Dabler was reinstated by the LAPM Board back into leadership on Thursday, September 8, 2011.
Near the conclusion of this process, the LAPM Board promised these men that their formal complaints were placed in Judy Dabler’s personnel file as a record of their allegations. However, as of Spring 2021, there was no record of any of these reports either in her personnel file or in the LAPM Board meeting minutes. It is unclear how these documents disappeared. Subsequently, there were no records of any kind in LAPM files that these events occurred. It was only after the two complainants came forward as a part of this recent grievance process that the story has been properly reconstructed and verified using personal testimony, past emails, photos, and files.
We acknowledge that the recent grievance process helped to reveal the following errors, mistakes, and sins by Live at Peace Ministries:
- A failure to seek and hire independent investigators to obtain a complete unbiased accounting of the allegations and uncover the full extent of harm.
- A failure to seek, identify, assist, and protect other potential victims.
- Allowing the accused to inform and influence the process of how these allegations were handled.
- A lack of accountability for the reported perpetrator and a failure to effectively call her to repentance by removing her from ministry.
- A lack of sufficient communication with the reported victims left them without vital information and updates for long periods of time, which increased the sense of isolation, pain, and harm.
- A lack of comprehensive restitution and care for the individuals who were harmed.
- Wrongfully utilizing an “Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) clause” in the “Terms of Employment” agreement to compel compliance.
- Insisting that the reported victims mediate with an alleged abuser that did not properly account for the imbalance of power.
- Using Scripture as a tool to enforce submission and mandate trust in institutional authority.
- A failure to notify the state counseling licensure board of these allegations.
- Failure to maintain accurate record-keeping regarding the formal allegations.
- Failing to stop the alleged perpetrator from spreading untruthful statements about the reported victims.
- Failure to properly name harm by reframing abusive power dynamics in softer language (“inappropriate dual relationship” vs. “sexual exploitation” or “conflict” vs. “abuse”).
LAPM leadership failed to live out its core commitment to peace by failing in each of these areas. We failed to hold Judy Dabler accountable, minimized the victims’ concerns, and neglected to pursue justice vigorously. In so doing, LAPM leadership failed to love her well, but more importantly, we did not love the victims well. The current LAPM leadership is grieved by the harm that has been caused by our sins of commission and omission, enabling an abusive pattern and silencing victims’ voices.
The current LAPM leadership believes that a public confession is appropriate when harm has happened in the silent corners of an institution. Through publicly acknowledging our past institutional failure and naming the resulting impact, we desire to pursue truth and to restore the dignity and voice of these victims. We have sought their forgiveness privately and now publicly, and have committed to do justice by bringing this to light. Additionally, we have provided financial assistance to the victims as a means of practical aid to continue the process of their healing. We will be filing a complaint to all governing bodies overseeing Judy’s conciliation and counseling credentials. And finally, we will be entering a prayerful discernment process on whether to shut down LAPM entirely.
It is our desire that the Body of Christ truly becomes a place where the wounded are healed, the vulnerable protected, and the traumatized seen. In the days ahead, as we enter a discernment process about the future of this ministry, we ask that you join us in praying for wisdom, but most of all, pray for the healing and restoration of those impacted by Judy Dabler’s conduct and LAPM leadership’s failures to confront and address it.
Note: The use of the complainants’ stories in this statement is done with both of their blessings. It is our hope that this acknowledgment helps these men to take another step in reclaiming their stories.
 Judy founded LAPM in 2007, initially serving as President, later as a Reconciliation Specialist and Director of Education and Training, until she left by mutual agreement in 2014.
“Sexual exploitation by a helping professional includes sexual conduct of any kind between a professional and the person seeking or receiving a service. Helping professionals include doctors, therapists, professors, police officers, lawyers, religious leaders, and any other professional who offers a helping service.” https://www.rainn.org/articles/sexual-exploitation-helping-professionals