Former Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary have been dismissed from a sexual abuse lawsuit against Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee member Paul Pressler.
According to The Christian Post, the original lawsuit, filed in 2017, accuses Pressler of repeatedly raping Gerald Duane Rollins when he was 14 years old. The abuse continued for more than 24 years, according to the suit.
Rollins said he met Pressler at a young adult Bible study led by Pressler at First Baptist Church Houston. Rollins then later worked at Pressler’s law firm.
The lawsuit was initially dismissed in 2018 because of the statute of limitations, but an Appellate Court opened the case up again when Rollins was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The diagnosis extended the statute of limitations for reporting the abuse and seeking damages.
Rollins is seeking $1 million in damages and named several in the suit, including Pressler’s wife, Nancy, Jared Woodfill, Woodfill Law Firm F/K/A Woodfill & Pressler, L.L.P., First Baptist Church of Houston, and the SBC.
Meanwhile, Patterson and SWBTS reportedly reached a settlement with Rollins.
“Dr. Patterson is grateful that he has been removed from a suit that he should never have been included,” Patterson’s attorney, J. Shelby Sharpe, said in a statement to The Tennessean. “No money was paid on Dr. Patterson’s behalf or by him to have him non-suited.”
Recently, a federal judge also dismissed a separate claim that Patterson and SBTS were negligent in preventing sexual abuse on campus.
In a 2019 lawsuit, an unnamed plaintiff said she had been sexually assaulted multiple times by another former seminary student. She accused Patterson and the seminary of mistreating her when she reported the abuse.
Meanwhile, Rollins’ lawsuit against the other defendants is set to go to trial on May 15.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Eccolo74
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.
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