The following are excerpts from a letter dated 3rd March 1996 on the Church of God, International letterhead for Australia. The writer is Alan Kendall, CGI's then representative in Australia.
Dear Friends and Brethren,
Last July a civil court charge was laid against Garner Ted Armstrong by a lady who worked as a masseus in a health clinic in Tyler. The charge was that of sexual assualt. Proof of the charge had been captured on a video. The reason for the video was to prove that a previous claim by the lady of sexual assualt was legitimate.
When the Board of Directors and the Ministerial Council were informed by Ted Armstrong, Ron Dart immediately told GTA that he should resign his position in the ministry and as spokesman on TV and take an indefinite leave of absence until the court case was finalized. This direction was ignored and it was decided to keep things quiet until after the Feast of Tabernacles, so as not to cause upset amongst the brethren during the Feast. Immediately following the Feast Ron Dart resigned, on the grounds of ill health, which are true, he has a bad heart. The church in general then became aware of the problem regarding GTA. A hurried ministerial meeting decided that GTA should stand down from his position on the Board of Directors and Ministerial Council and his position of chief executive. Which he did. He did however continue to preach on TV.
At this time the seriousness of the charges against GTA were not well known amongst the general membership. However they became more evident early in February, through the efforts of Ian Hufton, an Australian, working at headquarters. He made public some of the allegations against GTA and was promptly dismissed from his job.
A ministerial Conference was then called by some twenty five ministers, who were becoming rapidly disenchanted with the action or lack of action being exhibited by the controlling bodies at Headquarters. At this meeting a copy of the video showing the misconduct of GTA was viewed by at least nine ministers and a few lay men. All admitted that ALL of the charges made by the woman against GTA were true, much to their disgust.
A further Ministerial Council was held two weeks after the first one, this one was an official one, assembled by the executive at Headquarters. Two recommendations were put forward to the second Conference, recommendations that had been formulated by the twenty five ministers plus an additional ten who later signed the recommendation letter, at the first conference. The recommendations were that GTA should immediately take an extended Sabbatical and seek psychiatric counseling for his obvious problems and that the Board of Directors and Ministerial Council should be dissolved and replaced with a Council which was more representative of the church and one that had the well being of the church as its foremost consideration.
As a result of these recommendations being virtually totally rejected by the controlling bodies at Headquarters, a total of nine ministers have resigned and others are expected to join them. The Church of God, International in Australia has lost complete faith in the Board of Directors, the ministerial Council and the controlling executive, in Tyler, Texas, and have decided by popular vote, 97%, to sever its ties with the Headquarter church in Tyler, and to become an Independent body.
In the service of Jesus Christ
ALAN KENDALL (Elder)