February 14, 2019
Mr. Steve Riley
The Houston Chronicle
4747 Southwest Freeway
Houston, Texas 77027
Dear Mr. Editor:
For 42 years, I have said to each graduating class, “If you have not settled forever the issue of sexual purity, take your diploma tomorrow and leave church ministry altogether.” I feel compelled to respond to the Houston Chronicle article in which I was cited. In the case of Darrell Gilyard, Dr. Keith Eitel (now a dean at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) and Dr. Danny Akin (now president at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) worked directly with me to uncover and confirm Darrell’s unfaithfulness to Christ. Dr. Keith Eitel has film of the proceedings of Gilyard’s discipline at the Criswell College, and Gilyard was consequently expelled from school. Dr. Akin accompanied me to Gilyard’s church to be certain that he resigned. I called as many places as I knew where he was scheduled to preach and asked them to cancel his invitation. Most did cancel, and he no longer speaks in Southern Baptist churches.
Further, letters exist in my file from the young woman at Southeastern thanking me for the way in which her situation was handled. She now (more than a decade later) claims to have been raped. According to Dr. Akin as quoted in a Baptist Press article, the term “rape” was not found in the report in her official student file, and there are no details of information being given to me or of my involvement in the matter. Dr. Akin did confirm that my vice presidents had handled the matter properly as this was during the transition of my presidency to Southwestern.
Fort Worth Police records show that within seconds of receiving an allegation of rape at Southwestern by a female student with her mother present, I called the police. They arrived in less than twenty minutes. The young man also a student was immediately dismissed from the school. The young woman was asked by me to file charges against him, and she refused. The Southwestern trustees even confirmed in a public statement, “evidence exists that Dr. Patterson has complied with reporting laws regarding assault and abuse.”
Houston Chronicle reporters have slandered and totally misrepresented me, and in so doing have significantly harmed my ministry. The events they report are tragic. However, there is no reason to punish the innocent with the wicked. I applaud SBC president Dr. J.D. Greear for doing all that he can to bring this abrogation of righteousness and justice to a halt. Anyone abusing a child, a woman, or any weaker person is wrong and marked by deviant behavior. Anyone claiming to be a follower of Christ who acts in such a way or who protects one who preys upon another is both opprobrious and ignoble. Anyone claiming to be a minister of the Gospel who is thus involved is reprehensible and should not continue in the ministry.
The facts are available to anyone who wishes to know the truth. A good investigative reporter should study existing evidence to identify and bring to justice those who are guilty, being careful not to accuse one who has been completely cleared of the charges alleged.
Until He comes,
CC: Mr. Shelby Sharpe, Attorney at Law