"I am sorry for the hurt and pain I have caused these women and will continue to seek their forgiveness," said John Crist

By Natalie Stone
November 06, 2019 08:39 PM
Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

Christian comedian and YouTuber John Crist is apologizing after being accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.

In a report published Wednesday by Charisma News, five women, whose names were intentionally replaced with pseudonyms by the outlet, came forward with accusations about Crist. The outlet reports that “Crist has exploited his Christian reputation and platform to harass, manipulate and exploit young women over the last seven years,” multiple sources allege.

“The allegations include, but are not limited to, individually sexting multiple women during the same time period, initiating sexual relationships with married women and women in committed relationships, offering show tickets in exchange for sexual favors and repeatedly calling these women late at night while drunk,” Charisma News reports.

In a lengthy statement issued to Charisma News, Crist, 35, apologized “for the hurt and pain” that he has caused various women, admitting that he has “treated relationships with women far too casually, in some cases even recklessly.” (PEOPLE confirmed Crist’s statement via his rep.)

“Over the past number of years, various women have accused me of behavior that has been hurtful to them. While I am not guilty of everything I’ve been accused of, I confess to being guilty of this — I have treated relationships with women far too casually, in some cases even recklessly. My behavior has been destructive and sinful,” Crist began.

“I’ve sinned against God, against women and the people who I love the most. I have violated my own Christian beliefs, convictions and values, and have hurt many people in the process. I am sorry for the hurt and pain I have caused these women and will continue to seek their forgiveness. I have also hurt the name of Jesus and have sought His forgiveness,” he continued.

Crist further revealed in his statement that he has sought professional treatment to help with his “addiction struggles.”

“Over several recent years, I have privately sought and received regular professional treatment for my sexual sin and addiction struggles,” he wrote.

While he continues to seek “healing and freedom,” Crist announced that his remaining 2019 tour dates have been canceled.

“I’m committed to getting healing and freedom from my sin and have decided to cancel my remaining tour dates this year and to postpone all future commitments in order to devote all my time and energy on getting healthy spiritually, mentally and physically,” said Crist, who made Pollstar’s Top 100 Tours Globally list in 2019, “with over 197,000 tickets sold for his ‘Human Being Tour,'” according to his biography.

While Crist’s private battles may come as a surprise to his 1.2 million Instagram followers, the comic said that “those closest to me — my family, team and close friends — have known about this battle for some time, and now you do too.”

He admitted, “I’m ashamed of my behavior and I’m so sorry for hurting so many people. I don’t blame anyone but myself. I’m responsible for my actions and I’ve repented and am taking full ownership. I realize it will be difficult for some people to ever forgive me, and I accept that as a result of my bad decisions and actions.”

Crist concluded: “My entire career has been lived out on stage, and even though I’ve shared many of my life struggles with my audiences, I’ve lived in constant fear of the darkest parts of my life being exposed publicly. My greatest fear has been that those who have loved and supported me would hate me if they knew everything about me. I now humbly seek forgiveness and mercy and love — not just for me, but for those I’ve hurt along my path. I’m so sorry.”

The news comes more than a month after country star Lauren Alaina revealed hours before the Dancing with the Stars premiere in September that she and Crist had split.

“I mean, there’s, like, no big story. We were like, best friends before we dated, and we’re still best friends,” Alaina, 24, told host Bobby Bones on The Bobby Bones Show. “It just didn’t work out. I guess that’s how dating goes, right?”

In May, Alaina revealed on The Bobby Bones Show that she had been quietly dating Crist for a few months.

Danny Matson/Getty Images; Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

A rep for Alaina did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment about the sexual misconduct allegations brought against Crist.

The son of a pastor, Crist is the third of eight children and was raised in the south.

“I grew up in the deep south, my dad is a pastor, and I was the third of eight homeschooled children. My first job was at Chick-fil-A. Coming from a background like that, how do you NOT write jokes?!” he said on his website about where he finds inspiration to write jokes.

Crist’s Netflix special John Crist: I Ain’t Prayin for That was set to hit the streaming service on Thanksgiving (Nov. 28). A Netflix spokesperson confirmed to PEOPLE on Thursday that the launch of the special is on hold.