Home Christian News Judge Orders Guidepost Documents Unsealed in Johnny Hunt’s Lawsuit Against SBC

Judge Orders Guidepost Documents Unsealed in Johnny Hunt’s Lawsuit Against SBC

Johnny Hunt
Screengrab via YouTube / @Hiland Park Baptist Church of Panama City, FL

Johnny Hunt, a former Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) president and North American Mission Board (NAMB) executive, has succeeded in efforts to unseal four Guidepost Solutions documents in his defamation and invasion of privacy case against the SBC.

In March, Hunt sued the denomination, its Executive Committee, and Guidepost Solutions, the independent firm that the denomination hired to investigate allegations of sexual abuse within Southern Baptist churches.

As ChurchLeaders has reported, Hunt was forced out of his NAMB role in May 2022. That month, Guidepost Solutions released a scathing report about sexual abuse within the SBC. Among the incidents listed was an alleged forced sexual encounter between Hunt and another pastor’s wife in 2010, near the end of Hunt’s SBC presidency.

Hunt, 71, has adamantly denied any abuse or assault, saying the encounter was consensual, though sinful. The pastor, who retired from First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Georgia, in 2019, maintains a lucrative career as a conference speaker. Hunt also has returned to the pulpit, saying that he went through a restoration process and that a team of pastors cleared him for ministry in November 2022.

Four Guidepost Solutions Documents Unsealed

On Nov. 29, Baptist News Global reported that in the court docket for Hunt vs. Southern Baptist Convention et al, more than 80 court entries have already been filed. According to the latest entry, Judge Jeffery Frensley approved Hunt’s request to make public four previously sealed items.

They include audio recordings of counseling sessions involving the alleged victim and her husband, the husband’s private journal, and information the couple provided to Guidepost investigators, including text messages and interview notes.

While requesting that portions of the record relating to the couple remain sealed, Guidepost pointed to its contractual terms with the SBC as well as its desire to protect the alleged victim. But the judge ruled that because names are redacted, the unsealed documents reveal no private information about the woman or her husband.

Baptist News Global reports: “Guidepost’s own brief arguing against disclosure describes the accusations against Hunt more succinctly and graphically than the [original Guidepost] report itself.” The brief alleges that Hunt “systematically” groomed the alleged victim during his SBC presidential term and then tried to “gaslight” her and her husband.

According to unsealed documents, Hunt arranged for the couple to obtain marriage counseling from Roy Blankenship, an unlicensed staff member at First Baptist Woodstock. Guidepost claims that Blankenship told the alleged victim and her husband not to mention, discuss, or write about Hunt by name—because that would “negatively impact the over 40,000 churches Hunt had represented” as SBC president.

Johnny Hunt Questions Motives Behind Redacted Information

Hunt’s legal team countered the attempt to keep materials sealed by saying that Guidepost “redacted information relating to Hunt that directly conflicts with the allegations made against him by Guidepost, which is likely the true reason Guidepost seeks to prevent the public from seeing them.”