Paul Crouch was the founder and president of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, or TBN, the world’s largest evangelical Christian television network, as well as the former host of TBN’s flagship variety show, Praise the Lord. In September 2004 the Los Angeles Times reported that Crouch in 1998 paid Enoch Lonnie Ford, a former employee, a $425,000 formal settlement to end a wrongful termination lawsuit which alleged a homosexual tryst with Crouch. TBN officials acknowledge the settlement, which required Ford to maintain silence regarding the alleged incident, but contested the veracity of the accusations and credibility of Ford, who is a repeat offender in the CA court systems. Ford has convictions in criminal cases in Orange County Courts case numbers: 04CC05609, 01CF0559. Solano Courts case number: FCM107776 San Bernardino County: M618996 TBN officials stated that the settlement was made in order to avoid a lengthy and expensive lawsuit.
Ford, who wrote a book manuscript about the lawsuit, was forbidden by a court appointed arbitrator to publish it because of a previous settlement, in which he agreed to not publicize the allegations he made. From prison (for violation of a previous probation agreement from a past felony conviction), Ford’s attorney offered to sell TBN the rights to the book for $10 million, but his offer was rejected by TBN’s attorneys, who called it extortion.
In October 2004, Judge Robert J. O’Neill awarded Paul Crouch $136,000 in legal fees to be paid by Ford for his violation of the terms of the settlement agreement, specifically the prohibition of discussing the settlement’s details. On March 15, 2005 Ford appeared at the taping of the ION Television show Lie Detector. The show’s producers decided not to air the show, and the outcome of the lie detector test was never released.
Crouch family members control the boards of all Trinity Network entities, which makes Trinity “ineligible to join” the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
In 2000, Crouch was sued for $40 million by author Sylvia Fleener, who accused Crouch of plagiarism in his popular end-times novel (and subsequent movie), The Omega Code. Fleener’s lawsuit alleged that the movie’s plot was taken from her own novel, The Omega Syndrome. A former Crouch personal assistant, Kelly Whitmore, revealed that she had encountered a loose-leaf binder in Jan Crouch’s luggage that the Crouches referred to as “the End Times project” and that he often called it “The Omega” but said he disliked the working title, “especially the word “Syndrome.” After the defendant’s motion for summary judgment failed the case was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
Many controversies circulated around Paul Crouch and TBN. Here is just one:
On April 14, 1993, Paul Crouch came on during a portion of a “Praise-A-Thon” that was a week-long, 24-hour appeal for funds to keep the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) on the air. He claimed that he had some world-shaking news.
That news was that a “very dear friend” of his whom he identified as “Pastor Henkle” had recently had some personal and verbal words directly from God. Crouch assured everyone that he had experienced some of Pastor Henkle’s prophecies in the past and had observed them to come true. The world-shaking words that Pastor Henkle supposedly had received directly from God were:
On June the 9th, Thursday, 1994, I am going to rip evil from this world! [Author’s Note: Isaiah 25:6-9 was given as a Scriptural basis for this prophecy.]
Needless to say, the Lord did not rip all evil from this world. It is been said that Paul Crouch had a private vault in his very lavish home filled with huge sums of money.
Crouch died at his home in Orange, California, on November 30, 2013, after a decade-long fight with degenerative heart disease, his grandson Brandon Crouch told The Associated Press. Trinity Broadcast Network had reported that Crouch became ill and was taken to a Dallas area hospital in October while visiting the network’s facility in Colleyville, Texas. Later he returned to California for continued treatment of “heart and related health issues.”
Olsen, Ted. “Former TBN Employee Alleges Gay Tryst With Paul Crouch.” Christianity Today. 9.01.2004. www.ctlibrary.com/ct/2004/september web-only/9-13-11.0.html.
“Bad faith, blackmail and a troubled TV evangelist.” The Independent. 9.14.2004. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article32197.ece.
News Service Report. “West Virginia Woman Settles Suit with Network.” The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York) p. B-2. 1.05.2002