Home Christian News Videos, Documents Uncovered Showing Patterson’s Coverup of Abusive Pastor

Videos, Documents Uncovered Showing Patterson’s Coverup of Abusive Pastor

Prosecutors Didn’t Have Access to This Evidence

Until a few months ago, the Chronicle reports, the tapes were “in possession of Patterson confidantes.” Julie Schlax, a former prosecutor who worked on Gilyard’s case, says she never knew about their existence. Any evidence of the pastor’s behavioral patterns would have been key, she says, and might have encouraged more victims to speak out.

Tiffany Thigpen, who describes being groomed as a teenager by Gilyard in Jacksonville, says Vines responded to her concerns by saying going public would be “embarrassing” and that “these things have a way of blowing over.” She now regrets being silenced, saying “There may not have been as many victims” if she’d pursued her case.

In the past two decades, according to the Chronicle’s “Abuse of Faith” series, more than 700 people—mostly children—were victimized by more than 400 Southern Baptist leaders and volunteers. Under the leadership of new Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear, the SBC says it is focusing on restoring trust, preventing future abuse, and ministering to victims.

Last May Greear said, “There can be no ambiguity about the church’s responsibility to protect the abused and to be a safe place for the vulnerable. Abuse can never be tolerated, minimized, hidden, or ‘handled internally.’ Those in leadership who turn a blind eye toward abuse are complicit with it and must be held accountable.” The situation with Patterson is “heartbreaking,” Greear notes, because “Dr. Patterson was very influential in my early ministry.”

Patterson Said He’s Being “slandered”

Patterson insists he forced Gilyard to resign and warned SBC congregations about the pastor’s behavior. Responding to the Chronicle investigation, Patterson said in February, “Reporters have slandered and totally misrepresented me, and in so doing have significantly harmed my ministry.” Patterson, a leader of the SBC’s Conservative Resurgence, has also faced criticism for comments he made about women.

Shelby Sharpe, Patterson’s longtime attorney, says his client “did handle the matters concerning Gilyard that came to his attention timely and effectively.” Claims to the contrary, Sharpe says, come from people who “simply do not know the facts or are willing to believe unsubstantiated accusations.”