The Baptist world has heard very little from Paige Patterson in recent months. Maybe that’s because of the 10 million dollar sex discrimination lawsuit filed against him in federal court by former professor, Sheri Klouda. Or perhaps Patterson was overwhelmed with all of the national attention Southwestern Seminary received upon the unveiling of his plan to keep women in the kitchen with the Mrs. Homemaker Degree.
Whatever the case, Paige Patterson has broken his silence and responded to allegations that he ignored allegations of sexual misconduct by a preacher friend now accused of sending lewd Mark Foley-esque text messages to minors.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (aka SNAP) recently called on Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to suspend its president, Paige Patterson and investigate newspaper reports from 1991 that indicate that Patterson turned a blind eye 17 years ago to allegations of sexual misconduct against Darrell Gilyard. Gilyard has been described as a one-time Patterson protege who is now accused of being a serial predator. Read about that here.
Here’s a few snippets from Patterson’s response:
Nearly two decades ago, I was neither an investigator nor a judge but the president of a small Bible college. I certainly did not have resources available to me to pursue the case, yet I did all that I could within my means to discover the truth when allegations concerning Mr. Gilyard were brought to my attention. Until such time as I could ascertain that Darrell Gilyard was in fact guilty as alleged, I could not make any charge against him…
Once I had investigated the matter and was able to substantiate that Mr. Gilyard was guilty, I got him to confess that guilt publicly; I expelled him from the Criswell College so that he was never allowed to complete his degree there; and I moderated the business meeting at Victory Baptist Church in Richardson, Texas, the night he, in response to my insistence, resigned his position as pastor.
According to SNAP, despite what Patterson says, media accounts indicate that in 1991 Patterson “knew of reports that a high-profile African-American pastor had sexually assaulted and exploited female college students and church members, but that he kept quiet about it and instructed the students ‘to refrain from speaking’ about it.”
A quick look at 6 pertinent articles from The Dallas Morning News in 1991 reveals this very public information much of which is taken verbatim from the articles:
A significant number of women at Victory Baptist Church in Richardson, Texas accused their pastor Darrell Gilyard of sexual abuse. One said Gilyard had sex with her in the pastor’s study. Another said she received lewd phone calls and another said Gilyard raped her. One woman who said she had had a long-term affair with Gilyard said her phone calls requesting a meeting with Patterson were not returned. Patterson’s secretary told the woman that unless she had proof, he wouldn’t see her. Other women abused by Gilyard recalled meeting with church officials at both Victory Baptist and First Baptist churches who drilled them with questions about their emotional stability and their relationships with other men. Officials at First Baptist knew of the allegations of sexual misconduct four years before Gilyard’s resignation yet they did not believe those allegations and continued to recommend Gilyard.
Gilyard was Patterson’s prize student who he described as one of the “most brilliant men in the pulpit.” Patterson told a DMN reporter that “we were dealing with a man of special gifts and talents. I was unwilling to call anyone guilty until I had demonstrable evidence these allegations were true. Patterson demanded that the women provide real proof such as photographs, videotapes or lab tests despite the fact that Gilyard had been removed from his previous church, Concord Missionary Baptist Church, in 1987 amid allegations of sexual improprieties. An administrator at Concord stated that “around 25″ members of the 1,500 member church made sexual allegations against Gilyard.
After being fired from Concord, Gilyard gained employment as assistant pastor for Hilltop Baptist Church in Norman, Oklahoma. He stayed only a year but soon after leaving allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced at Hilltop. Two women told church officials that Gilyard had made sexual advances toward them and a third woman confessed to an affair with Gilyard. The senior pastor took this information to Patterson. Patterson did nothing.
In 1989, Gilyard pastored Shiloh Baptist in Garland, Texas where allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced again. Patterson met with the women. According to one observer, the discussion did not focus on details of the allegations but instead delved into the women’s pasts.
More from Gilyard’s time at VBC in Texas: One woman set up a meeting with Patterson. Upon arriving at his office, she was confronted by Gilyard and Gilyard’s wife and attorney. Patterson told the woman to refrain from speaking to anyone about the situation. He told her that unless she came back with two witnesses or proof that something had happened, not to come back. Another woman called Paige Patterson and recounted a story about having sex with Gilyard in the sanctuary. After Gilyard’s forced resignation, Don Simpkins, a pastoral counselor who had been involved in several discussions with women abused by Gilyard, stated to the Dallas Morning News that he believes allegations against Gilyard were covered up by Victory Baptist, First Baptist and Paige Patterson.
This is a rather simple story. Check out the past media accounts from 1991. While Patterson claims to not have had the resources to investigate, he took the time to discredit the abused and paint Gilyard as the victim. The facts show that Gilyard couldn’t keep his mouth shut and his zipper zipped at each and every church that he pastored. The man may have sexually abused up to 25 women at one church alone. Patterson knew of the allegations all along. Did he turn a blind eye? Yes. Did he turn a deaf ear? Absolutely.
Patterson had the opportunity to bring down Gilyard up to 4 years before he was fired. Everyone knew. Where there’s alot of smoke, there has to be a little fire. For Patterson to believe that all these accusations were false is akin to the loony toon who still believes OJ didn’t do it and the King of Pop has never “touched” a little boy.
Too bad it has taken 17 years for someone to call Paige Patterson to task.