Willy Rice, the pastor of Florida’s Calvary Church, has written a blog post in response to the MeToo movement and has revealed more abuse within Baptist denominations following the firing of Paige Patterson from Southwestern Theological Seminary and a post by Al Mohler titled, The Wrath of God Poured Out – The Humiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention.”
In the blog post, he told a shocking story that took place 25 years ago: “My sister-in-law and brother-in-law were Southern Baptist ministers serving in a small associational camp in south Alabama in the early ’90s. The camp was owned and operated by a local Baptist association. They have two daughters and both of them were sexually assaulted by the Director of Missions of that association.”
He says that the individual “was a former SBC missionary with the International Mission Board (then Foreign Mission Board). Later evidence would reveal that the IMB had a personnel file containing allegations and evidence of numerous sexual assaults of children while he worked overseas.” However after being brought home from the mission field and resigning, the Baptist association in Alabama hired him and allowed him to work with children.
After the assault, Rice says the parents “turned in desperation to the leaders of the IMB wondering how they could let a monster like this walk away without a spot on his public record free to continue his wave of terrorizing the most innocent among us.” He says that they were “stonewalled” by leaders who told them not to go to the police. They also weren’t allowed to speak to leaders at the Alabama Baptist Convention.
He said, “They were shunned, shushed and shamed. People were afraid of lawsuits (which they never pursued), afraid of embarrassing stories, afraid of public repercussions, afraid of everything it seems except a monster violating children and the ultimate judgment of God.”
Not long after, the same man assaulted a 4-year-old child. The parents did end up going to the police, and the man was exposed.
As Rice explains, “Some bear more culpability than others, an association that didn’t do an adequate background check, IMB officials who didn’t expose a predatorial monster, convention officials who turned aside to protect the powerful instead of helping the wounded, but here is what almost no one said, ‘Call the police.’”
As Rice says, it is a painful story, but one he believes must be told.