BREAKING: Statement by Kevin Ueckert, SWBTS Board of Trustees Chairman, on Firing of Paige Patterson, Missing SEBTS Archive Records, Unauthorized Publishing of Confidential Student File Documents

The following statement on the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary website was posted approximately 4:30 pm Pacific Time on Friday, June 1st, by Kevin Ueckert, Chairman of the SWBTS Board of Trustees.

NOTE: Links to select related news stories, analysis, and social media commentary on this statement are in Paige Patterson, SWBTS, SBC Situation – Resource Links, Part 3.

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Based on a number of follow-up questions I have received this week, I am providing this additional statement related to our May 30, 2018 statement. The unanimous decision by the Executive Committee to immediately terminate Dr. Paige Patterson was prayerfully considered and warranted.

We confirmed this week through a student record, made available to me with permission, that an allegation of rape was indeed made by a female student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2003. This information contradicts a statement previously provided by Dr. Patterson in response to a direct question by a Board member regarding the incident referenced in our May 30 statement. The 2003 rape allegation was never reported to local law enforcement. SWBTS will not release the student record to the public without additional appropriate permissions.

In addition, as previously disclosed, a female student at SWBTS reported to Dr. Patterson that she had been raped in 2015. Police were notified of that report. But in connection with that allegation of rape, Dr. Patterson sent an email (the contents of which were shared with the Board on May 22) to the Chief of Campus Security in which Dr. Patterson discussed meeting with the student alone so that he could “break her down” and that he preferred no officials be present. The attitude expressed by Dr. Patterson in that email is antithetical to the core values of our faith and to SWBTS. Moreover, the correlation between what has been reported and also revealed in the student record regarding the 2003 allegation at Southeastern and the contents of this email are undeniable.

Further, SWBTS received a request from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary requesting the return of any documents taken by Dr. Patterson upon his departure from Southeastern. Counsel for SWBTS, Michael Anderson, immediately reached out to counsel for Dr. Patterson, Shelby Sharpe, on May 25 and made inquiry regarding the documents. Mr. Sharpe advised Mr. Anderson that Dr. Patterson only took documents from Southeastern that belonged to him. Yet, independent of that request, following the May 30 Executive Committee meeting, SWBTS located Southeastern documents on the SWBTS campus and began taking steps to preserve them. Mr. Anderson is in contact with George Harvey, counsel for Southeastern, and is working with Mr. Harvey regarding Southeastern’s request for the return of its documents.

The morning after the May 30 Executive Committee meeting, Mr. Sharp provided a few documents he reportedly obtained from Dr. Patterson. The documents clearly dealt with Dr. Patterson’s tenure at Southeastern and should have been previously provided in response to Mr. Anderson’s May 25 request. Shortly after these documents were provided, the wife of Dr. Patterson’s Chief of Staff published a blog and attached these documents without the permission of the students referenced in the documents or appropriate leadership from SEBTS or SWBTS. I believe this was inappropriate and unethical. Regardless, the additional documents do not alter the decision of the Executive Committee.

Ultimately, the decision of the Executive Committee to immediately terminate Dr. Patterson was clear and unanimous.

I also want to reiterate what SWBTS Interim President Dr. Jeffrey Bingham said earlier this week. SWBTS denounces all abusive behavior, any behavior that enables abuse, any failure to protect the abused, and any failure to safeguard those who are vulnerable to abuse.

In this difficult situation, the Executive Committee based its decision on the current performance of the president and did not allow the legacy of Dr. Patterson or the #MeToo pressure to steer the outcome. We did not react; rather, we decisively exercised our responsibility based on the Seminary’s biblically informed core values and integrity.

I join Dr. Bingham in his call for the SWBTS community to join the Body of Christ in praying for healing for all individuals affected by abuse.

24 comments on “BREAKING: Statement by Kevin Ueckert, SWBTS Board of Trustees Chairman, on Firing of Paige Patterson, Missing SEBTS Archive Records, Unauthorized Publishing of Confidential Student File Documents

  1. Pingback: BREAKING: Statement by Kevin Ueckert, SWBTS Board of Trustees Chairman, on Firing of Paige Patterson, Missing SEBTS Archive Records, Unauthorized Publishing of Confidential Student File Documents | Speakingtruthinlove's Blog

  2. Hmm…

    Would not this be a Buckley Amendment or similar violation, since unauthorized personnel had access to these records and divulged them?

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  3. One more thing.

    Chuck Colson went to federal prison for an FBI file he used and did not have authorized access to…..

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  4. Sad that it took so long to 1) expose this man’s true character and 2) for the seminary to do something about it. Better late than never, I suppose. I only pray that there aren’t more victims who were just too fearful to come forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So they had the info on the 22nd but chose not to fire him until the 30th. Sounds to me like they’re trying to put distance between themselves and the lawsuit Patterson will likely be losing about the child sex abusers they kept moving around instead of stopping.

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  6. Like the alleged Golden State Killer, he thought he was going to “retire” in comfort too, didn’t he? “Break her down”? What a pig.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “In this difficult situation, the Executive Committee based its decision on the current performance of the president and did not allow the legacy of Dr. Patterson or the #MeToo pressure to steer the outcome. We did not react; rather, we decisively exercised our responsibility based on the Seminary’s biblically informed core values and integrity.”

    So #METOO (and probably #ChurchTOO) had nothing to do with it? Ok, if you say so…

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  8. “I only pray that there aren’t more victims who were just too fearful to come forward.”

    Megan Lively has already said that eight more women from both SWBTS and SEBTS have contacted her about their experiences with Paige Patterson. I expect more stories to come out.

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  9. Cindy – “Sad that it took so long to 1) expose this man’s true character…”

    I’m having a hard time believing that they didn’t already know his true character. They clearly thought of him highly enough to at maintain his status on campus. Did they really not know he said and did things that women brought up?

    His sermon about the abused woman has been out for years and no one that we are aware of within the organization raised an eyebrow in response. He clearly had help in handling the student’s rape reports his own way. And, now the stories coming out from women who worked at these campuses, as well as women who were students, confirming the culture that worked against women perpetuated by PP.

    I think more men need to confess and repent of how they contributed to the problem and the culture that PP created wherever he went.

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  10. Kathi: You said:”I think more men need to confess and repent of how they contributed to the problem and the culture that PP created wherever he went.” I am afraid their are thousands of them.

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  11. What “cookingwithdogs” says. Yup, the termination of Paige Patterson had nothing whatsoever to do with #MeToo. Certainly we can not expect, say, that representatives of churches around the country made clear that SWBTS graduates would face a rather cold reception when looking for jobs if SWBTS didn’t get their act together.

    I think (hope) that what they were trying to say is that Patterson is not just a “scalp” obtained by a “lynch mob”, not that their move didn’t have anything to do with #MeToo. Certainly the climate that enabled the victims to speak up after years of being silenced has something to do with #MeToo.

    I hope. Whatever the truth is, it strikes me that as a bunch of others saw some of the documents in question (especially his email threatening to beat down the rape victim) and took no action, there should be some more firings, followed by a serious look into the culture that enables it. And as others have said, a culture that condones stained glass windows of living people seems to have something to say against it, to put it mildly.

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  12. Certainly the climate that enabled the victims to speak up after years of being silenced has something to do with #MeToo.

    Indeed. I am baffled and annoyed at the odd criticisms I’ve seen of this movement, which is essentially a bunch of women and men telling their stories. If a story is untrue, criticize it, but there is no doubt in my mind that the vast majority are true. And most I saw were anonymous, so the guilty are being protected in most cases anyways. So what are they angry about? Why the criticism?

    More like Patterson perhaps concerned about their previous actions. If so, they should own up to them and apologize and take any punishment that comes.

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  13. Regarding criticism of “#Metoo”, I think a lot of it is simply based on the notion that the mob is going to march to the Bastille and start the Reign of Terror, if you catch my drift. The thing that is fascinating to me in that regard is how at least the victims of Larry Nassar have been very disciplined not to go that way; their primary goal seems to be repentance, not cash. To me, that’s pretty amazing given that you’ve got hundreds of plaintiffs with 20-30 years age difference and all kinds of other religious, social, and other differences.

    There is a lesson there somewhere, and it ought to really empower #MeToo to make a huge difference in all areas. And for reference, I say this as the “grand poo bah” of Sunday School at my church. I don’t know of any incidents, but my church has been around for 50 years, so it’s very possible/likely something nasty has occurred.

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  14. “Disclosure of sexual abuse is a critical time in the life of a child. It’s the moment when a child learns whether others can be trusted to stand up for them, or whether they’ll be sacrificed for others’ comfort.”

    vs.

    “But generally speaking, we don’t need pastors to “believe the victim.” We need pastors to listen in love, offer support, and then follow just and fair means of adjudication.

    The presumption of innocence is a foundational component of jurisprudence, and it can’t be minimized.”

    My older brother would break all sorts of things. When my parents demanded to know who it was, he would throw me under the bus. He was so convincing that no matter what argument I tried to use to defend myself I always ended up getting spanked, and probably more severely for lying. I had essentially no trust in my parents, even though they would have argued that they were fair and impartial and believed in innocent until proven guilty.

    I don’t know whether they truly cared about me or not, but they created such a lack of trust that I talked about pretty much nothing with them. As far as I know, they never mourned that broken relationship.

    What “just and fair adjudication” would I have gotten from my pastor? If you believe my pastor would have listened to my parents, my brother and me and decided that my brother had lied and my parents were deceived, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

    So, I suffered abuse from my brother, knowing that if I didn’t, he could get my parents to abuse me, and knowing that I was so completely and utterly alone and defenseless in this, and this guy thinks that some pastor, God’s gift to the world(TM) is going to be able to unravel this, he’s completely blind.

    In fact, I have an acquaintance who was one of my pastors while this was happening. He tells me how wonderful and encouraging my parents and family were to him. I’ve honestly struggled whether to tell him the truth, because I don’t think he could handle it. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t believe me.

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  15. “But generally speaking, we don’t need pastors to “believe the victim.” We need pastors to listen in love, offer support, and then follow just and fair means of adjudication. The presumption of innocence is a foundational component of jurisprudence, and it can’t be minimized.”

    When will pastors learn that they have no business attempting to adjudicate a criminal case???? There is no presumption of innocence when a friend tells you what happened to them. There should be none in a counseling scenario. How can you possibly help someone if you don’t believe them by default??

    There is so much wrong with this.

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  16. Doug Wilson has Paige Patterson’s back; no surprise there. After reading about congressional candidate Nathan Larson I thought this man would make the perfect new darling for Doug Wilson.

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  17. @ Mark

    When my father decided he wanted to whip my sister and me we could NEVER explain ourselves, that would be talking back and making things worse. So we got whippings for things our cousins did.

    These men have made it clear they do not want wife beating or child rape against the law. They want three witnesses to child rape? No one watched me get sexually abused, but in these people’s heads, there should be three perverts lounging about on the sidelines not stopping it or ever calling the police.

    So I should be presumed to be a lier when saying I was abused. These people are looking out for abusers, not abuse victims.

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  18. CH, “When my father decided he wanted to whip my sister and me we could NEVER explain ourselves, that would be talking back and making things worse. So we got whippings for things our cousins did.”

    Yup. Pretty much whenever I opened my mouth, it didn’t end up well for me. So, I just shut up and took it. Perhaps not surprisingly, my brother who repeatedly lied and threw me under the bus is a respected church leader. Part of having to escape that system was all the gushing praise I heard about my abusive parents and brother.

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