Two “thorough, outside, independent” investigations have been initiated by International Mission Board President David Platt into the IMB’s handling of any past sexual abuse allegations and into its policies of zero tolerance for such abuse.
Platt also stated a public apology to Anne Marie Miller, who has alleged sexual abuse by an individual who subsequently became an IMB missionary yet was not reported to authorities following a 2007 IMB inquiry into the matter.
Platt’s actions and apology were relayed to Baptist Press in a statement today (July 25), which is posted at the IMB’s website.
Platt spoke with Miller before releasing the statement to Baptist Press, according to an IMB spokesperson. Miller subsequently sent an affirmation of Platt’s actions.
“[Many] facets of this situation are extremely disturbing,” Platt said of charges filed against Mark Aderholt for sexual assault of a child under 17 stemming from a 1996-1997 relationship when he was 25 and of the 2007 IMB investigation. Aderholt, who later served at two Arkansas churches and with the South Carolina Baptist Convention, was arrested July 3 in Fort Worth, Texas, and released on bond.
Platt stated he is “commencing a thorough, outside, independent examination of IMB’s handling of past actions — including this case and any other similar situations. In addition, I am commencing a thorough, outside, independent examination of IMB’s present policies to ensure that our current commitment to zero tolerance for child abuse, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment is completely and consistently enforced across IMB today.
“Further, I am presently in conversations with leaders of other churches and ministries, particularly within the SBC, to establish practical ways we can and must prevent situations like this in the future,” Platt stated. “Any attempts to minimize, ignore, cover up, or overlook child abuse, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment are absolutely intolerable, and we must take action together now to ensure safety and support for every person employed or affected by a church or ministry.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press, Art Toalston