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The Sound Of Freedom: The Dark Truth About Tim Ballard, The Movie's Inspiration

The following article includes allegations of sexual assault.

Tim Ballard, the man whose story inspired the hit film "Sound of Freedom," has been accused of rampant sexual impropriety.

Vice reported that after Ballard left Operation Underground Railroad (or O.U.R.), news broke that he did so after seven women accused him of sexual misconduct. According to the outlet, they received information from sources that Ballard would ask victims of sex trafficking to pretend to be his "wife" during missions meant to rescue them from their situations and that he also told women that in order to trick the traffickers into believing the two were in a relationship, he would insist that they share a bed or even shower together. Sources also said Ballard sent inappropriate photos to women and asked a woman "how far she was willing to go" to help save children from sex trafficking.

The Vice report also notes that though seven women have come forward, it's possible that the number was higher. As of this writing, the sources and alleged victims have requested full anonymity. O.U.R., in response, released a statement that said, "Tim Ballard resigned from O.U.R. on June 22, 2023. He has permanently separated from O.U.R. O.U.R. is dedicated to combatting sexual abuse, and does not tolerate sexual harassment or discrimination by anyone in its organization. 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." They concluded that by saying they wouldn't make any further statements at this time.

An anonymous letter about Tim Ballard is making waves in Utah

Apparently, Vice — which first reported on these allegations in July — is getting their information from an anonymous letter that's been making the rounds in Utah regarding the accusations against Tim Ballard.

"Several weeks ago, an OUR employee who accompanied Tim on an undercover operation filed a sexual harassment complaint against him with OUR's HR department," the letter says, as read in a video by Lynn Packer, a journalist. "This resulted in an extensive internal investigation into Tim and his individual operational tactics and led to more women speaking up as part of the investigation process. It was ultimately revealed through disturbingly specific and parallel accounts, that Tim has been deceitfully and extensively grooming and manipulating multiple women for the past few years with the ultimate intent of coercing them to participate in sexual acts with him, under the premise of going where it takes and doing 'whatever it takes' to save a child."

This led to a condemnation of Ballard by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was also reported by Vice. Ballard then claimed, despite concrete evidence to the contrary, that the Mormon church never spoke out against him. Ballard has been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for decades, doing a mission in Chile before attending Brigham Young University (a private university founded by Mormons).

What else is there to know about Tim Ballard and Sound of Freedom?

Tim Ballard — who, it's been reported, is considering a Senate bid — served as the main inspiration for "Sound of Freedom," a sleeper hit in the summer of 2023 where the real C.I.A. and Homeland Security veteran is played by Jim Caveziel. In the movie, directed by Alejandro Monteverde, the character of Ballard ends up traveling from California to Colombia to help rescue young children kidnapped in Honduras and intended to be used as sex slaves. Ultimately, Ballard has to journey deep into the Colombian jungle to rescue a young girl, killing a sex trafficking kingpin in the process.

The narrative of "Sound of Freedom" presents Ballard as a cut-and-dry hero, and while it's important to note that Ballard does not have any writing or producing credits on the film, he has participated in plenty of press for the film when it was released. It's also important to clarify that both Ballard and Caveziel have expressed support for problematic beliefs held by members of QAnon. In a 2020 article in the New York Times about QAnon "hijacking" the movement to help child victims of sex trafficking, Ballard told the paper of record, "Some of these theories have allowed people to open their eyes. So now it's our job to flood the space with real information so the facts can be shared."

Ballard, according to Vice, did not respond to requests for comments.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).