David Platt, president of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, has ordered an investigation of IMB’s “handling of past actions” with sexual abuse.
Platt’s announcement comes after a Southern Baptist leader, Mark Aderholt, was arrested and charged with sexual abuse crimes against a child.
In 2007, Anne Marie Miller reported that Aderholt had sexually abused her. The IMB investigated the allegation of Aderholt, who was also an IMB missionary. The IMB agreed with Miller, but they did not fire Aderholt and did not report the crime to police.
According to Baptist News Global, Miller was 16 at the time. Aderholt was 25 and working as a youth pastor.
This summer, Aderholt was arrested after Miller reported the incident to police.
Platt said the situation was “extremely disturbing.”
“I am commencing a thorough, outside, independent examination of IMB’s handling of past actions—including this case and any other similar situations,” he said in a statement.
“In addition, I am commencing a thorough, outside, independent examination of IMB’s present policies and practices to ensure that our current commitment to zero tolerance for child abuse, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment is completely and consistently enforced across IMB today.”
Miller also issued a statement, saying she was “grateful” to Platt for promising to investigate the case further.
“His apology and the action of obtaining third-party investigations into my case and all other similar cases demonstrates his commitment to not tolerating sexual abuse or misconduct in any capacity,” she said.
“Furthermore, the conversations happening in the IMB and in convention leadership encourage me that abuse survivors will finally have an ally in the Church as we pursue healing. It’s my prayer that past and present survivors receive the support we need and the policies which result from these changes will prevent future victims from becoming so.”
Publication Date: July 27, 2018
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.