The former government agent whose story is at the center of the hit summer blockbuster “Sound of Freedom” is in the limelight yet again — but this time, it’s casting a shadow on his work.
Tim Ballard, who left his job with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to rescue children from sex slavery, has been accused of sexual misconduct with several of the female decoys he has worked with on the kinds of undercover operations chronicled in “Sound of Freedom,” CBN News reported.
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In June, the Utah native left his position at Operation Underground Railroad, the organization he founded in 2013 to fight child sex trafficking, after an employee reportedly filed a complaint against him when they returned from a trip together. An internal O.U.R. investigation into the matter led to Ballard’s ouster.
Ballard is now defending himself in an Instagram video he posted over the weekend.
“Based on the allegations that are flying around and the questions being asked,” he said, “we’ve decided to tell you these tactics. While I do so, I’m going to pay homage, respect, love, and gratitude for these female operators who serve such an important role in rescue operations.”
He went on to explain “children don’t just fall out of the sky,” noting a lot of behind-the-scenes work is necessary in order to successfully dupe sex traffickers into agreeing to work with Ballard in what is — unbeknownst to the criminals, of course — a sting operation.
“It’s a very proactive work,” said Ballard. “So if I am … or one of my operators is approached by a trafficker trying to put a child to service on that person or a sex worker and that man, that operator doesn’t partake of what’s being offered, they lose credibility, and so we came up with a concept that we call the ‘couple’s ruse’ or the ‘couple’s tactic.'”
Using that “tactic,” Ballard explained, he and a female operator will go into a situation, either pretending to be married or dating. As the operation unfolds, one of the sting operators will feign interest in engaging sexually with the child being offered to them while the other resists.
“The bottom line is we block for each other,” he said. “So the trafficker sees the situation and recognizes that I have every excuse not to partake. Hundreds, maybe thousands of children have been rescued using this amazing tactic.”
Ballard noted that, in the coming days, he will be sharing testimonials from some of the “heroic” women with whom he has worked. Those women, he said, “want their voices heard.”
“They want you to know what it’s been like for them working with me and other operators,” he explained. “It’s time for you to look under the hood, and you can make your own decision about these tactics. But I want to pay homage to these female operators. I want to give them their opportunity to tell their story and bear their witness to the amazing work that they have done working with our teams.”
In a statement released last week, a spokesperson for O.U.R. said Ballard resigned from the organization June 22 and “has permanently separated” from the company.
“O.U.R. is dedicated to combating sexual abuse, and does not tolerate sexual harassment or discrimination by anyone in its organization,” the representative said. “O.U.R. retained an independent law firm to conduct a comprehensive investigation of all relevant allegations, and O.U.R. continues to assess and improve the governance of the organization and protocols for its operations.”
Ballard, for his part, has called the allegations against him “false,” describing them as “tabloid-driven” and calling them “baseless inventions.”
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