A new investigation has found that the Southern Baptist Convention was aware of sexual assault allegations against one of the church’s leaders 11 years before he was arrested for them earlier in July.
Fort Worth, Texas’ Star-Telegram reported Friday that in 2007, the SBC’s International Commission Board investigated disgraced former church leader Mark Aderholt over allegations that he’d had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl when he was a 25-year-old seminarian.
Anne Marie Miller, the woman in question, was interviewed for two days by the ICB in 2007, though the alleged relationship occurred over a decade prior. A month after the 2007 investigation, the then-27-year-old Miller received the board’s findings — that Aderholt had “more likely than not” had an “inappropriate” relationship with her in 1996 and 1997, and that he was “not truthful” when asked about the “extent of the relationship,” the Star-Telegram reported.
Aderholt resigned from the Mission Board in 2008, the report continued, but nevertheless went on to become “an assistant pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark.” before taking an associate leadership and director role at the South Carolina Baptist Convention in 2016.
The ICD never disclosed its findings to the police, and as the Star-Telegram reported, “it wasn’t until Miller brought her allegations to the police” nearly 11 years after the investigation and more than 20 years after the alleged affair that Aderholt was arrested.
The former church leader resigned from the South Carolina Baptist Convention in June, and was arrested in Arlington, Texas on July 3 on two charges of indecent sexual contact with a child.