Disgraced pastor and former Southern Baptist Convention denominational leader Johnny Hunt filed a lawsuit on Friday (March 17) against the SBC, the SBC Executive Committee (EC), and Guidepost Solutions for defamation and invasion of privacy.
The suit comes in the wake of a 2022 Guidepost Solutions report commissioned by the SBC EC to investigate whether the denomination mishandled sexual abuse allegations over a period of two decades. The report revealed credible allegations that Hunt sexually assaulted the wife of a fellow pastor during Hunt’s tenure as SBC president in 2010.
Cole Law Group, who is representing Hunt, filed the suit in the U.S. District Court in Nashville, Tennessee, on the same day the former First Baptist Church Woodstock (GA) pastor started his controversial men’s conference titled “Rebound: Missed Opportunities and Second Chances.”
That conference is being held at New Season Church, an SBC church located in Hiram, Georgia.
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During the SBC’s 2021 Annual Meeting in Nashville, the SBC messengers—representatives from its 50,000 autonomous cooperative churches—voted to conduct a third-party investigation into the SBC EC’s mishandling of sexual abuse claims dating back to January 1, 2000.
As a result, Guidepost Solutions was hired to conduct the investigation and produced a 288-page report just weeks prior to the SBC’s 2022 Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California.
Guidepost Report Alleges Johnny Hunt Sexually Abused a Pastor’s Wife
The report named Hunt, then Senior Vice President of Evangelism and Leadership at the SBC’s North American Mission Board (NAMB), as having allegedly groomed and sexually assaulted the wife of a longtime SBC pastor who had looked up to Hunt as a mentor (pg. 149).
Following the report, Hunt “vigorously” denied the accusations, a denial reiterated in his recently filed lawsuit.
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“[In] 2010—after his term as SBC President had ended—Pastor Johnny [as many know him by] had a brief, inappropriate, extramarital encounter with a married woman. Some of the precise details are disputed, but at most, the encounter lasted only a few minutes, and it involved only kissing and some awkward fondling,” the suit claims. “It is undisputed that Pastor Johnny abruptly ended the encounter, both Pastor Johnny and the woman disclosed the encounter to their spouses, and they jointly sought counseling and forgiveness.”
According to the Guidepost Solutions report, Hunt initially denied he ever knew the pastor whose wife he had been accused of sexually assaulting. It wasn’t until a second Guidepost Solutions interview with Hunt that he admitted he had known the couple for at least 20 years, recalling he had a “strong influence on said pastor’s life and ministry” (pg. 158).