On March 7, 2014 Bill Gothard resigned from the ministry he founded, the Institute of Basic Life Principles (IBLP), after 34 women accused him of sexual misconduct and spiritual manipulation. Gothard’s groups were previously plagued by a massive sex scandal in the 1980’s and a child abuse scandal in the late 1990’s.
Brian Sikma, communications director for the conservative opposition research group, Media Trackers, used the homeschool curriculum and training manuals produced by Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute (ATI). Sikma’s wife, Amy, a political operative in her own right, also completed the same coursework. In addition to his work for Media Trackers, Sikma holds a privileged position on the board of directors for the family values group, Wisconsin Family Council. As the protégée of conservative radio and TV host, Charlie Sykes, Sikma is a frequent guest commentator.
After completing Gothard’s high school curriculum, Sikma enrolled in the Oak Brook College of Law, a non-accredited college that Bill Gothard founded and remained chancellor of until he was accused of sexual misconduct. The college is appropriately named after Oak Brook, the Chicago suburb where IBLP’s headquarters is located. As part of the college’s application process Sikma was required to attend “all the sessions of Gothard’s Seminar in Basic Life Principles sponsored by (IBLP).” Once enrolled Sikma and his fellow classmates were required to further study Bill Gothard’s teachings and complete coursework from his ministry. After completing his education there, Sikma went on to earn another non-accredited degree from the Baptist College of Ministry. The college’s website boasts that the school is “unashamedly fundamentalist and militantly separatist.”