Pressler allegedly told Rollins he was ‘special’. Rollins claims the abuse began when he was just 14.
The man whom many consider to be the architect of the conservative movement in the Southern Baptist Convention, Paul Pressler, has recently been named in a lawsuit claiming molestation over a period of decades. The complaint was filed nearly two months ago in Harris County, Texas by Gareld Duane Rollins, Jr., and media outlets have finally begun to call attention to it. Here is a screen shot of the first page of the 40 page petition, which also includes the named defendants.
According to a Baptist Press article, it was 50 years ago (March 1967) that Paul Pressler and Paige Patterson had their infamous meeting in New Orleans at Cafe du Monde to discuss their mutual concerns about the liberal direction in which they believed the Southern Baptist Convention was heading. At the time, Patterson was a seminary student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Pressler was an attorney (he would be appointed to the bench in Texas three years later).
In his book A Hill on Which to Die: One Southern Baptist’s Journey, Pressler recounts how the conservative resurgence (takeover) of the Southern Baptist Convention occurred. He figured out how to bring about a theological shift in the denomination by the systematic appointment of like-minded Southern Baptists to key positions. The turning point occurred in June of 1979 when Adrian Rogers, a Memphis pastor, was elected SBC president.
Those individuals who played significant roles in the Southern Baptist Convention’s
conservative resurgence takeover, are being immortalized in stained glass windows in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s new chapel – the J.W. MacForman Chapel and Performing Arts Center – which was dedicated six years ago.
The total number of stained glass windows that will adorn the chapel is expected to total 69. No doubt the images of SWBTS president Paige Patterson and his wife Dorothy will be featured prominently.
The stained glass window depicting Paul and Nancy Pressler was completed several years ago and has already been installed in the chapel.
What is wrong with this picture???
Now to the details of the petition…
The petition states in Item 3, page 4 that the victim was “a very religious child and remains very religious to this day”.
Further, the complaint includes a lengthy ‘HISTORY OF THE RESURGENCE’, which we may review at some point. One contention in the petition that really surprised us is that Patterson and Pressler are ‘closet Calvinists’. Interestingly, it appears that Pressler’s wife is a Presbyterian, which begs the question: how much influence has she had on her husband’s theological beliefs? As a Southern Baptist who was once a member of the same congregation as Paige and Dorothy Patterson, I (Deb) am perplexed by the claim that Patterson in particular is a “closet Calvinist’, and I definitely plan to do some research on the matter.
*** TRIGGER WARNING! ***
Here are screen shots from the petition that reveal the details of the alleged sexual abuse.
Steam baths and whirlpools? Over at Patheos, the Ponder Anew website included the following in a post published yesterday regarding Paul Pressler (see screen shot below):
Now let’s consider the following…
Paul Pressler attended the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, matriculating in 1946 at the age of 16. He attended this boarding school for two years and graduated. In recent years there has been a rash of articles exposing the underbelly of prep schools, including Pressler’s alma mater. Just last March the following news story aired in Boston:
The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team has been digging into sexual abuse allegations regarding faculty members at Phillips Exeter, and they have published a number of articles on their findings. Here is a link to just one of those reports:
And just last month the NH Journal published the following article:
It begins as follows:
According to a news report from The New York Times, police sought to arrest two deans at Phillips Exeter Academy, an elite private boarding school, for failing “to report the alleged sexual assault of a student to the authorities.” But police were overruled by prosecutors.
The deans, Arthur Cosgrove and Melissa Mischke, were not removed from their positions or arrested for violating the state’s mandatory reporting law.
Has failure to report sexual assault been the modus operandi of Phillips Exeter for a long time? Given the serious accusations against Pressler, we are left wondering whether anything happened to him while at this boarding school?
Nomination to Head the Office of Government Ethics
Back in 1989, President Bush chose Paul Pressler to head up the Office of Government Ethics. After the FBI conducted a background check, Pressler’s name was removed from consideration. Here is a screen shot from a New York Times article on the matter:
According to an article in the Star-Telegram, Donald Shea (Rollins’ attorney) said that:
“Pressler previously settled with Rollins over a 2004 battery charge for an incident in a Dallas hotel room. That settlement is not public, Shea said, but reference is made to such an agreement in recent court filings.”
Finally, consider the following information, which was included in the complaint:
What are we to make of Pressler’s repeated intervention on Duane’s Rollins’ behalf?
Attorney’s Statement on Behalf of Paul Pressler
As we would expect, Paul Pressler’s attorney, Ted Tredennick, brought up Rollins’ criminal record, which reveals arrests on DUIs and other charges over the last several decades.
“Mr. Rollins is clearly a deeply troubled man, with a track record of multiple felonies and incarceration, and it is the height of irresponsibility that anyone would present such a bizarre and frivolous case — much less report on it.”
If what Rollins alleged happened in the complaint really occurred, there is no question that he would be a deeply troubled man. The fact that he has a criminal past only strengthens his case as far was we’re concerned.
We will be following this story closely and will be posting an update next week.