Tates Creek Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Kentucky has released a statement announcing that they will be commissioning an investigation into allegations raised against CCM singer/songwriter Chris Rice. Tates Creek pastor Robert Cunningham wrote that a student had reached out to allege that Rice had sexually assaulted him multiple times during a stint of leading worship retreats for youth and college students between 1995 and 2003.
“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,” wrote Cunningham. Cunningham says that he immediately informed the police of the allegations, and reached out to his church board which unanimously voted to reach out to GRACE — an organization that investigates allegations of abuse in Christian institutions.
While Rice was not an employee of Tates Creek, Cunningham says he still felt that his church was responsible for the investigation, since “if this individual had not been involved in our youth ministry, he would not have been exposed to Mr. Rice.” Cunningham also wrote that he felt a responsibility to “institutionally repent of what is uncovered.”
Cunningham said that only one person has come forward with allegations, but urged any others to reach out, promising a “safe, loving and confidential place to share your story.” Cunningham said that GRACE would be setting up an anonymous way for any other survivors to share their own stories as well. He also encouraged any other churches or organizations that have worked with Rice in the past to look into their own “unique situations.”
In the 90s, Rice achieved fame for writing the contemporary Christmas hit “Welcome to Our World,” which was recorded by Michael W. Smith. He then began his own career, with albums like Deep Enough to Dream and Smell the Color 9. “Cartoon Song” became a Christian camp staple and Rice won a Dove Award for Male Vocalist of the Year in 1999.