Christian singer and artist Chris Rice is being investigated over allegations that he sexually assaulted a former student after meeting him at a church retreat.
The allegations were reported to Robert H Cunningham, senior pastor of Tates Creek Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Kentucky.
The church has hired GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment), an independent support group for sex abuse survivors, to investigate the claims.
Although Rice was never on the staff of Tates Creek, he led the worship at its youth and college retreats between 1995 and 2003.
He was also friends with the church’s former pastor, Brad Waller, who was found by a GRACE investigation last year to have abused “multiple students” in its youth ministry.
Cunningham said that Rice had become close with some male students and that one of them had come forward with allegations of abuse last week.
“Last week, one of those male students called to inform me of allegations that Mr Rice had sexually assaulted him on multiple occasions,” the statement from Cunningham said.
“While these remain allegations at this point, we are treating them as credible because of the source of the allegations and corroborating evidence we have discovered.”
The pastor said he had “immediately” informed the police after hearing the allegations and called a meeting of the church elders, who voted unanimously to commission GRACE in conducting an independent investigation.
“We are determined to uncover the extent of the alleged abuse, along with any way our church and the leadership at that time may have been complicit,” Cunningham added.
Anyone with information in connection to the independent investigation is being advised to contact the church at [email protected]
Rice could not be reached for comment.