The AP reports that former Southern Baptist Convention official Mark Aderholt was indicted by a Tarrant County grand jury this week on one count of sexual assault of a child under 17 and three counts of indecency with a child. The charges relate to allegations of sexual assault in
Baptist Press reported previously that Aderholt has been accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old while he was a 25-year-old student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Though the accuser’s name is redacted from a copy of the indictment obtained by BP, author and speaker Anne Marie Miller has identified herself online and in media reports as Aderholt’s accuser. Miller told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram she is “glad that truth is being heard and justice is being served.”
Aderholt served as a missionary with the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board (IMB) missionary and more recently served as the South Carolina Baptist Convention associate executive director. He also spent time working as a pastor in Arkansas.
Aderholt served with the IMB, which sends missionaries to other countries, from 2000 to 2008. The IMB learned of the allegations against Aderholt when he worked there in 2007 and conducted an internal investigation but did not report it to law enforcement; Aderholt resigned in 2008.
From a Baptist Press report this summer:
The IMB told Baptist Press today (July 16) it learned in 2007 of allegations Aderholt had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old in 1996-97 while he was a 25-year-old student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served with the board from 2000-08.
The IMB conducted an internal investigation in 2007, and the matter was set to go before the board of trustees, “which, at that time, was the only group with the authority to terminate a member of our missionary personnel,” IMB spokesperson Julie McGowan said in written comments. But Aderholt resigned on his own “before the Board could vote on the recommendation from the investigative team that included both men and women,
The IMB has since changed its policies to allow a missionary to be terminated by “staff senior leadership,” McGowan said.
The IMB’s 2007 investigation, including two days of interviews with the alleged victim, led an IMB team to conclude at the time that Aderholt “engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship” with a teen in 1996-1997, that the victim “suffered as a result” and that Aderholt “was not truthful” with the IMB “about the full extent of the relationship,” according to correspondence to Miller from IMB general counsel Derek Gaubatz published July 13 by the Star-Telegram.
The IMB did not report the incident to law enforcement at the time, McGowan said, because the victim — who has identified herself in a blog post and other forums as author and speaker Anne Marie Miller — said on multiple occasions that she did not want to make a report to police.
Aderholt resigned from his position as associate executive director for the South Carolina Baptist Convention after he was arrested in July.