Trial Date Set for Student’s Lawsuit Against Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Its Former President, Paige Patterson

After years of delays and contention, a trial date has been set for Jane Roe v. Leighton Paige Patterson et al.

On Jan. 19, U.S. District Judge Sean Jordan signed an order saying jury selection and trial will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, April 3, at the United States Courthouse in Plano, Texas. That will be a little more than four years from the date the case was filed against Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and its former president, Paige Patterson.

Jane Roe, a pseudonym, alleges that while a student at Southwestern she was stalked, raped and repeatedly abused by a male student who also was a seminary employee with access to her campus living space. The suit contends the seminary and then-President Patterson are liable for not protecting her, although she did not report the abusive behavior to seminary officials until several months after it allegedly happened.

Patterson’s mishandling of this case — he reportedly told other seminary officials he needed to “break her down” to silence her — led to Patterson’s dismissal by seminary trustees in 2018. Patterson also had been accused of mishandling sexual abuse claims at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina, where he previously served as president.

Although the legal case was filed on March 12, 2019, it has faced a series of delays due to what Roe alleges were obfuscations by the seminary and its attorneys as well as Patterson and his attorneys. The Southern Baptist school is in the odd position of defending itself in tandem with the president trustees fired, at least in part, over the same issues presented in the case. Both the seminary as an institution and Patterson as an individual are named defendants in the case.

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Source: Baptist News