Amid sex abuse scandal, Southern Baptist Convention launches study group

Taking Action

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Roughly a week after 8News exposed a local missionary group failed to report child sex abuse allegations, the Southern Baptist Convention announced it’s a launching a sex abuse task force.

J.D. Greear, the President of SBC, has announced the formation of a ‘presidential sex abuse study group’ that will consist of outside experts.

“Our churches should be a refuge for the hurting and a safe haven for the oppressed,” Greear said in a press release shared with 8News.

Greear adds he’s forming the sexual abuse study group “to consider how Southern Baptists at every level can take discernable action to respond swiftly and compassionately to incidents of abuse.”

The move comes just about a week after Anne Miller revealed to 8News that she first reported allegations of child sex abuse to the Richmond-based International Mission Board back in 2007. 

IMB is the missionary arm of the SBC.

“They should have counseled and guided me to press charges,” says Miller.

Emails from IMB’s general counsel confirm that while IMB found “it was more likely than not” that pastor and missionary, Mark Aderholt, “engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with Miller.”

The abuse allegedly happened with Miller was a teen and Aderholt was a youth pastor. Despite IMB’s findings, IMB never reported it to police.

When I learned Mark was not reported to authorities and given an opportunity to resign I knew I had to do something,” says Miller.

She tells 8News she was shocked to learn just two months after coming forward with those allegations Aderholt was able to move on from church to church.  

After resigning from as a missionary with IMB, he became a pastor at a Baptist church in Little Rock, Arkansas, and later a strategist for the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

Feeling misled by the IMB, Miller went to police this year.

In early July, Aderholt was arrested and charged in Texas with the sexual assault of child under the age of 17.

Late last week, IMB’s President David Platt apologized to Miller and announced an independent examination of IMB’s handling of this case and its current practices.

Aderholt’s attorney has had no comment.

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