Bradlee Dean's ministry is a cult and Dean is a crook, ex-employee says

Categories: Bradlee Dean
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"[T]he ministry abuses donation money by its administrators taking large housing allowances when many of its employees struggle to pay their own bills," Dagel says.
:::: UPDATE :::: Jake Dagel, former Bradlee Dean employee, discusses working for his "cultic sham ministry"

Today, Jake Dagel, a 20-year-old Iowa college student who worked for Bradlee Dean's "You Can Run But You Cannot Hide" ministry until late last month, went public with allegations the ministry is a cult and that Dean is a crook.

So yeah, you probably shouldn't apply for this job.

In a press release, Dagel alleges Dean's ministry took all his money, barred him from reading the news, and ultimately kicked him out of a vehicle he and other ministry members were riding through Tennessee at 3 a.m. after he couldn't pay for gas.

Here's Dagel's entire press release. We've been in touch with him and will publish an exclusive interview about his experiences with Dean Monday morning, so check back then for that (Update -- you can read our interview with Dagel here):

***Former employee of You Can Run But Can Not Hide International says ministry is a cult and donations are being abused***

Jake Dagel, a former employee of Bradlee Dean's Minnesota based ministry, You Can Run But Can Not Hide International, is publicly coming forward today to share his experiences while working with the ministry. Dagel believes the ministry is a cult who manipulates and controls the minds of its employees. Dagel has also found through investigation that the ministry has abused donation money.

Dagel, a 20 year old student from Iowa first came into contact with Dean's ministry when he invited him to speak at his community college in Iowa. Two weeks after the presentation Dagel became an employee of the ministry and joined the street evangelism team. While on the team Dagel traveled the country with the ministry to share the gospel in public locations.

Dagel reports that while working with the street evangelism team he was belittled and told he knew little about how Christianity worked, there was little for him back at home, was forced to tithe to the ministry, and that not talking to his family was normal. Dagel was also not allowed to watch television and was told to not pay attention to any media.

While traveling back from Florida on Saturday, June 29th the evangelism team made a stop around 3:00 AM in Pulawski, Tennessee to get gas. Dagel was told it was his turn to pay for gas but did not have the money to do so. Dagel was then instructed to either pay for gas or grab his belonging and get out of the vehicle. Because Dagel was without money to pay for the gas he got out of the vehicle while members of the ministry drove off to their destination.

Upon further investigation Dagel has found that according to You Can Run International's 2011 IRS Form 990, President Bradlee Dean was paid $80,261 in compensation and $41,860 in housing allowance in 2011 for a total of $122,121. This is an increase of a $24,931 from the 2009 IRS Form 990. Secretary Jacob MacAulay was paid $55,604 in compensation and $25,678 in housing allowance for a total of $81,282 in 2011. This is an increase of $14,385 from the 2009 IRS Form 990.

"This so called ministry is clearly a cult due to the way it manipulates and controls its employees," said Dagel. "It is also clear that the ministry abuses donation money by its administrators taking large housing allowances when many of its employees struggle to pay their own bills. I am making this information public in hopes that others will reconsider being employed by the ministry and giving them any money in donation."
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at

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swmnguy topcommenter

In America you can do almost anything you want if you can blame your behavior on religion.  All the standard rules of etiquette are suspended, and many of the rules of morality.  Many legal and financial obligations also do not apply to those who can claim religious motivations.

Naturally, this is very attractive to a type of person who does not like following rules, or treating others the way they like to treat themselves.

Bradlee Dean's behavior is very typical of this sort of scoundrel.  He's building one heck of a comeuppance for himself.


I feel for this kid and there's no excuse for the nastiness he's getting here.  he thought he was doing something good, got sucked in over his head, was disabused of the illusion, and wants to make potential donors and victims aware. he's using the term "cult" correctly, and while dean can probably plead ignorance of dagel's situation, he can't plead poverty or need anymore than the catholic church, pat robertson, or liberty university.

Debbie Ledin
Debbie Ledin

just your average bible thumper without his clergy papers. i think god may have a place for him.


this just in: insane christian dicknose running a cult.

this is a 20 yr old who volunteered to spread Dean's vile agenda.

fuck 'em all.

JamieJoy Lidberg
JamieJoy Lidberg

Props to Jake! He will no doubt continue to suffer abuse and threat like prayers, like so many before him. However thanks to him for having the courage to come out with this. Hopefully he has escaped with less damage then some others...


Yes, Dean is a creep, but this is the first I've ever heard of a 20-year-old college student whose claim to fame is being fired by a creep issuing a press release. Regardless, City Pages, you shouldn't be in the business of reprinting press releases.


I think this deserves a hearty "Well Duh."

green23 topcommenter

@rasputin1  The press release isn't his 'claim to fame". It's pretty much how you "go public" with something in the contemporary media environment. It was also made clear by Rupar in the story that an interview was forthcoming, and this was the available information at the time. You are just another of those people who fail to realise that this a blog, aren't you?

His "claim to fame", as you put it, is that he was in Dean's organisation; not that he was "fired". Really, was he even "fired"? I doubt that he was ever "employed", which is how Dean's "ministers" operate. 

Your distinctions are meaningless. Is it possible that you are an evangelical who is upset about other evangelicals being presented in an unflattering light?


@green23 @rasputin1 Green23, I have a degree in journalism, and I've never heard of a 20-year-old college student without some sort of prior experience doing this. (He may have some experience with press releases, working for media-hungry Dean. This isn't clear.) I'm not saying I disbelieve him—I don't—but how this is happening is odd. The usual route is to run to a reporter and blab to him.

You are someone who fails to realize that this is a blog made by a professional media organization. If they want to *link* to the press release, by all means, but there is more digging to be done, and reprinting press releases as news (which this is close to doing, since it doesn't have much setup or criticism, positive or negative) is frowned upon by professional journalists. They could wait for the interview; that something is forthcoming is worthless until it has come. This isn't breaking news; you can sit on it. It is more like promoting for a later interview, which is more advertising than journalism.

As for distinctions, you're the one making them, not I. Fired/left, employed/volunteered ... we don't really know, and the fact remains that he's only known for a past association with Dean. (And I didn't call his press release his claim to fame, either.)

And for accusing me of being an evangelical, you truly are trying to just demonize me. No, I'm not an evangelical, nor even a believer (I'm a staunchly secular atheist socialist). Are you? Did I make any sort of complaints about how evangelicals are treated in the press that would make you write that sentence?

I don't have a high view of your intelligence, from what you wrote.

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