New court filing accuses Tim Ballard of ‘violent sexual assaults’ against his former assistant

An amended filing alleges that Operation Underground Railroad’s leaders knew of Ballard’s alleged misconduct, but did nothing to protect his assistant.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Celeste Borys and Mike Borys filed an amended lawsuit Wednesday which accuses Operation Underground Railroad founder Tim Ballard of “violently” sexually assaulting her.

A new court filing alleges that Operation Underground Railroad founder Tim Ballard “violently” sexually assaulted his former assistant — and also accuses leaders of the anti-trafficking nonprofit of failing to intervene or warn the assistant about his alleged behavior, despite having been made aware of similar misconduct with another woman.

That assistant, Celeste Borys, and her husband, Michael, initially sued Ballard and OUR in October. An amended complaint filed Wednesday provides new detail and context to her allegations, including that she says Ballard “violently” assaulting her on several occasions. It also added Ballard’s wife, Katherine, and a friend of Ballard’s to the lawsuit as defendants accused of being complicit in Ballard’s alleged misconduct against Borys.

The new filing alleges that after Borys filed her original lawsuit, Ballard allegedly texted her and offered to pay her money that she was seeking in the civil suit. “I have always told u to just tell me and I will pay. I will give u whatever we owe u,” reads a text thread included in the filing. “I read it,” the text thread continues, apparently referencing the lawsuit. “Why Celeste ?? U know what you wrote is not truth. Why?”

It goes on to say: “I love you like a sister and I hope you live well....I will never understand tho why you wrote things u know are not true”.

Borys filed a police report with the Lindon Police Department last month alleging Ballard sexually assaulted her, according to a report obtained through a public records request. Lindon Police Chief Mike Brower confirmed several weeks ago that Borys was interviewed by officers and said the investigation was ongoing.

The new court filing states that Borys has turned over an article of her clothing she said she was wearing during one of the last “violent sexual assaults,” which allegedly contains Ballard’s semen.

The amended lawsuit also identifies another alleged victim, referenced in the document as “JJ,” who went to OUR leadership in April 2023 to accuse Ballard of grooming and manipulating her into sex acts as part of a “couples ruse” — where Ballard would have women pose as his partner while on operations to find child traffickers.

When “JJ” made her accusations, the suit alleges, an OUR attorney flew to Miami to warn Ballard — who, along with Borys, was attending a fundraising gala and premiere of the movie “Sound of Freedom,” based loosely on Ballard’s origin story. The attorney then flew back to Salt Lake City, the suit says, “without ever warning … Borys that she was in OUR’s condo with an accused predator.”

The allegations made by “JJ” prompted OUR to hire a law firm to investigate, the amended complaint alleges, which ultimately led to Ballard’s separation from the nonprofit he founded — although the filing goes on to suggest Ballard expected OUR to be dissolved and most of the assets given to The SPEAR Fund, where Ballard is now a senior advisor.

Borys is one of six women who have accused Ballard of sexual assaults in civil lawsuits. The woman referred to as “JJ” has not sued Ballard.

Spokespeople for Ballard and OUR did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. Previously, Ballard has said he “vehemently” denies the allegations in the lawsuits and would be vindicated in court.

On Tuesday, OUR posted a lengthy statement on its website, distancing the organization from Ballard and describing its plans moving forward.

While he was the public face of OUR, the statement says, he only participated in a fraction of its operations in recent years and his departure came after an investigation determined he had “engaged in unprofessional behavior that violated OUR’s policies and values.”

It went on to say that OUR hopes Ballard can “get the help he may need” to address the trauma of witnessing the effects of trafficking and the nonprofit is “deeply sorry for any harm or distress that Tim Ballard’s actions may have caused anyone associated with OUR.”

The statement said OUR is confident it will prevail in the lawsuits that have been filed and, going forward, is seeking to hire a new CEO to audit its finances, rewrite its policies and procedures, and restructure its board “to include accomplished professionals with diverse perspectives and skill sets.”

In years past, many of the OUR board members had been Ballard’s friends or relatives.