“Patterson supporters seemed willing to live with the decision but it infuriated many, especially conservative Christian women, who said Patterson had not been explicitly held accountable and had been allowed to retire with his stature intact.”
(Kate Shellnutt – Christianity Today) A week after trustees voted to immediately shift Paige Patterson to “president emeritus” at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), the board’s executive committee has stripped the Southern Baptist stalwart of all “benefits, rights and privileges.”
In a statement announcing Patterson’s termination, the committee stated today that it had confirmed information regarding reports that he mishandled a sexual abuse allegation while president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS).
Last Tuesday, a former SEBTS graduate student told The Washington Post that after she reported her rape to Patterson and fellow seminary officials in 2003, they failed to notify authorities and the former president encouraged her to forgive the perpetrator. Patterson did not respond to the claims, but SEBTS launched an internal review of its own.
Best known as the leader who orchestrated the “conservative resurgence” in America’s largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), Patterson spent decades as a revered and seemingly untouchable denominational figurehead; previous controversies had come up, but had not threatened his position or reputation until now. His case has been widely viewed as a prominent example of the fallout of the #MeToo movement and how it has changed expectations for institutional leaders.
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