FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A prominent Southern Baptist Convention leader has been removed as president of a Texas seminary following allegations that he made abusive and demeaning comments to women.
The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) board of trustees said in a statement that Paige Patterson was removed Wednesday following a 13-hour meeting.
The statement says the board decided to “to move in the direction of new leadership.” But the SWBTS board also passed a motion appointing Patterson as President Emeritus and affirmed an offer to have Patterson and his wife “live on campus as the first theologians-in-residence.”
Patterson is accused of commenting on a teenage girl’s body, saying female seminarians should work to look attractive and that abused women should almost always stay with their husbands.
The 75-year-old is also accused of ignoring a woman’s rape complaint when he was president at a seminary in North Carolina. According to the Washington Post, the woman said she was assaulted in 2003 and that Patterson “wanted to know every detail of the rape.” After relaying the information she says Patterson did not report the incident to the police and encouraged her not to, as well.
On May 10 Patterson issued an apology that said, in part, “I wish to apologize to every woman who has been wounded by anything I have said that was inappropriate or that lacked clarity. We live in a world of hurt and sorrow, and the last thing that I need to do is add to anyone’s heartache. Please forgive the failure to be as thoughtful and careful in my extemporaneous expression as I should have been.”
Patterson rose to prominence in the 1970s while leading a conservative takeover of the Baptist Convention. He helped to pass resolutions banning women as pastors and taught that women should be submissive to their husbands.
Dr. D. Jeffrey Bingham, Dean of the School of Theology, has been appointed as the interim president.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)