Southern Baptist Officials Knew of Sexual Abuse Allegations Eleven Years Before Leader’s Arrest
Southern Baptists are gender complementarians – they say they respect women, but by looking at news stories like this, one can see that is not so.
As a single woman, I will not take relationship advice from a group of Christians (Southern Baptists) who cover-up sexual abuse of girls and women, and who teach that male hierarchy and female subordination is “biblical,” which they do as part of “gender complementarian” teachings.
I also won’t bother, contrary to what my parents taught me, to seek a potential husband from a local church, since so many church-goers do things like fondle teen-aged girls and then the rest of the church covers it up.
by Sarah Smith, July 2018
The missionary arm of the Southern Baptist Convention knew about allegations against Southern Baptist leader Mark Aderholt more than 10 years before he was arrested July 3 on charges that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl, according to police records, emails and an internal investigation from the organization.
In 2007, the International Mission Boardconducted an investigation into allegations that Aderholt had a sexual relationship with the girl while he was a 25-year-old student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. At the time of the investigation, Aderholt was one of the more prolific missionaries with the Mission Board, which has sent Southern Baptists around the globe for more than a century.
The International Mission Board did not report the allegations to authorities.
Aderholt, the assessment team determined, had “more likely than not” engaged in an “inappropriate sexual relationship” with Miller from 1996 to 1997. As for Aderholt, the the team found he was “not truthful” about the “full extent of the relationship.”
Aderholt did not appeal the findings; instead, he resigned in January 2008.
“I felt validated,” said Miller. “I felt like the truth had been spoken, and it had been believed.”
Despite the investigation, Aderholt went on to serve as an assistant pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark. He rose up to be the associate director and chief strategist of the South Carolina Baptist Convention in 2016.
Julie McGowan, the Mission Board spokeswoman, declined to answer specific questions about whether it shared its findings with other Southern Baptist churches. In an email she said responding to such questions “could subject IMB to possible lawsuits under tortious interference with contract laws.”
It wasn’t until Miller brought her allegations to the police in Arlington, almost 11 years after the International Mission Board internal investigation, that something more was done.
Aderholt was arrested on July 3 on charges of sexual assault against a child under 17 and two counts of indecency with a child — sexual contact.
… The Southern Baptist Convention is grappling with its own #MeToo movement, spurred by the firing of the leader of its Fort Worth seminary over the mishandling of sexual assault reports. The treatment of women was the theme at this year’s annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas — as was the responsibility of reporting abuse and the question of how churches can best prevent alleged abusers from continuing to serve in the ministry.
In response to a list of 36 questions from the Star-Telegram, Aderholt’s attorney, Justin Sparks, wrote, “Mark is innocent and this case will be tried in court and not in the newspaper.”