If you do not know the history of Tiffany Thigpen and Sharayah Colter, please read: Part 1: Tiffany Thigpen, a Victim of Darell Gilyard’s Abuse and Paige Patterson’s Ignorance, Counters Sharayah Colter’s Post
Today I suddenly came to the conclusion that Tiffany’s story provides a mirror into the plethora of issues within the SBC which lead to problems in effectively dealing with abuse on many levels. She has carefully documented her journey for many years and we have decided to try to get it all down in writing. It will probably take us a few months.
In the meantime, here is Tiffany’s response to Sharayah Colter. I sent the following questions to Tiffany and she answered me. (Note: DG stands for Darrell Gilyard.)
Why do you think Sharayah cherry picked the things she quoted by you?
What is her history?
Sharaya Colter and her husband Scott were long time employees under Paige Patterson. At one time Scott was Chief of Staff and she was Paige’s assistant. They were all fired last year as a result of Paige’s history of misconduct at the Seminary. In my opinion, being that they were all fired together says a great deal about their loyalties to each other and the need to get them to leave the seminary together.
I’ve never met her so I can only assume why she chose to suddenly make this post and include me in it. It appears that she is wanting to change the narrative of what actually has happened over these last 3 decades, but it won’t work. This is not the first attempt by her and many other of Paige’s loyal followers to divert truth and I am sure it won’t be the last.
I have been told by multiple sources that Patterson is mounting a comeback. Given that I believe that he is payrolling her new venture. She appears to be his personal spin doctor. I’ve also been assured that many people do not listen to what she says because many have noticed her actions and attacks, especially when it comes to Patterson even though she quotes plenty of scripture while doing it. She is accused of leaking personal documents of another survivor, Megan Lively. Alleged Rape Victim Says She Now Forgives Paige Patterson, Claims Letter Shared Online Was ‘Edited’
I must also question her moral and ethical values when it comes to my story. It’s apparent that she took the time to read my old blog. Seemingly, she spent much time there cherry picking quotes while ignoring others which gives the impression that she was attempting to spin my story to benefit Patterson. There is quite a bit of damning information on my blog which appears was left out y Sharayah.
I emphatically believe that Patterson was in no way railroaded nor falsely accused. He was re-fired after they learned he had lied. He wasn’t fired while away and unable to defend himself. He knew how to use a phone. He was caught.
In Sharayah”s post, she left off these 2 parts of those same quotes:
I am not defending them fully, but I have had a heart check and as I pray for the purifying of my heart and the correct motives, I must speak this truth out loud especially with so many of you reading and responding.
To crucify these two men over the sins and problems of DG would serve no purpose. To challengethese men to stand up now and humbly admit mistakes and ask for forgiveness is, I believe, totallyappropriate, especially as they are leaders and called to a high standard. And what I would like to see is for them to now step up and help put an end to this problem within the church.
They cannot stop sin, but we need a system where sexual predators go on the books (especially after more than one allegation) some kind of record accessible by all churches to check before hiring pastors or other staff. It is not enough to do criminal background checks because many times victimsdo no more than confront the church, so there is no public record.
We need a system available tochurches nationwide that prevents this. I know several people have asked for this for years (primarily Iknow Christa Brown has made this her mission) isn’t it time now to make this happen. Such a simplething really. Who better than two prominent voices like Paige Patterson and Dr. Vines? I am told thereis a record within the SBC but it is private and only used by them. That does not help the churches! We cannot stop all of the predators, but what if it were a substantial number? DG would have never made it to Victory or Shiloh or FBC for that matter if this had been in place tears ago. Think of all of the victims who would have been saved – at least 50. That is a shame.
That is the REAL issue here. Let’s stop thisabuse. Let God hold them accountable for their sins, but let’s not partake in it by turning our heads. And let’s not further the sin by tearing each other apart. I am preaching at myself here to. Christ loved the sinner but hated the sin. Let’s focus on the sin and put the devil on the defense He wants this sin todestroy God’s house and the families within. Let’s make a strong circle in the name of Jesus and make the devil flee. He can only have the power over us that we allow, “Resist the devil and he will flee fromyou.” DG was an impostor among us, he was falsely shepherding for his own gain. We need real men of God shepherding. Let’s all allow God to make some good out of this, shall we? Who is with me on this? I think it is time for God to be glorified by us all doing the right thing. Thank you for your time as I rambled on, I cannot believe the time – I have chosen every word carefully and had to wait until the house was quiet to think clearly.”
I believe there are several reasons for Sharayah’s deliberate choice of certain of me quotes from my old blog.
She appeared to twist my words to make it appear that “even she didn’t hold them accountable” and at the same time craftily says “or maybe not” meaning that now I’ve changed my mind and maybe didn’t mean it at all.
She actually proved my point for me. I was acting Biblically, based on my own heart convictions, wanting all of the facts first, wanting to focus on the goal (the abuser) and not be a party to a whole bunch of gossip and vitriol. I prayed I would walk the higher road and that Christ could be glorified. I constantly had to keep my emotions, my wounds, my humanness, my motives, in check. This was one of those moments. Here in our city at that time, the news media and politics wanted to find fault in FBC Jax, especially a scandal, and I wasn’t out to hurt the people of the church. I only wanted to hold the leaders accountable. I thank her for pointing out that my statement towards them showed grace. This means I succeeded at at least that point in that post.
Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines and intimidation
For the record, I showed these two men an incredible amount of grace. They had let me down greatly and I paid a high price for all that I was left with emotionally. My self esteem and self worth were depleted for many years because no one stood up for me after being victimized. I did not then understand the depths of destruction they poured out on anyone who spoke against Gilyard. I did not yet have the “benefit” at that time of what was to come, such as the phone calls to my mother and me, trying to “shut me up”… Patterson’s own words.
Nor had I experienced at that time the intimidation and name calling that were yet to come from Patterson. He had not yet pulled out his “break her down” tactics – but they would come. I did not know the lengths Jerry Vines would go to in order to change the narrative and discredit me. Finally, I also truly, truly hoped that these two men would do what was right. I offered them both the chance to be heard on my blog on the subject matter of Gilyard. I asked them to step up in regards to the requested database since they had the influence and power to push for this.
What many do not realize is that I was going against two of the biggest figures in the SBC. I called them complicit in covering up a predatory abuser. I didn’t want to believe they were capable of such, actions until I knew more and couldn’t excuse it. I grew up with these men personally being figureheads in my life. They were godlike in their influence until I realized they were undeserving of this admiration, a costly realization. I wish I could express how much I needed and wanted for them to make this right – even if only for others. I was willing to put my personal pain behind if they would do what was right for others and to stop lying.
My perspective on the real story about what Patterson/Vines believed about Gilyard. It was just an affair with a 19 year old high school senior as well as 25 other women.
Paige Patterson did not force Darrell to resign and “never preach again” in 1991. He contradicts himself so many times. Patterson spoke in the pulpit at Gilyard’s church in Dallas in 1991, just weeks after Gilyard attacked me and would have raped me had I not been able to fight off my attacker. He wasn’t broken over the real crimes of Gilyard. In fact, he only mentioned “affairs” not the rapes and that he shamed each and every one of the victims, some dropped out of seminary due to the shame and lack of help. Paige was angry, not at Gilyard, he was merely sad about that. Instead he was mad at us, the victims. In an angry finger pointing tirade, he claimed Gilyard “appeared to be guilty”, sound familiar? He then said he was going to work to restore him to ministry, even giving a timeline. He spoke about how he and Dr. Vines had been comforting him and how much they loved him. They said he was going to take a break for some help. He never one time said “Darrell is no longer qualified for ministry and I have told him this.”
When one lies and manipulates, it’s really hard to keep up with the truth. I guess Paige nor Jerry ever thought that the whole world would someday see him on video speaking on that day. When he he told his version he probably did not anticipate that it wouldn’t be so boldly contradicted. Facts matter. And what Paige and Jerry told me happened that day and the day prior were completely different than what I have now seen on video – and that hit me so very hard when I first saw it, I could barely hear it and watch it, I was physically ill. I was manipulated and deceived intentionally, to gain my silence.
I was the victim that made them face the music and make a statement to that church – it wasn’t Patterson!! It wasn’t Vines choice!! It was because I, a high school Senior, had just been attacked by the man they had been promoting for years – a man who had been accused of hurting so many others. Patterson placed him at the next church, and the next, and the next and on and on. Yet he and Vines claim they “couldn’t find those to be credible.” How many does it take? Finally, @RebeccaSherman, then at the Dallas Morning News, caught wind and reported the REAL background story: The downfall of a pastor: Allegations of sexual misdeeds detailed
A post was written in 2014 in Baptist News, in which I was quoted on my thoughts about Vines and Patterson,
“Croft said Gilyard never should have been given the role of a pastor in the first place. Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines — they were the two advising, leading, guiding, promoting and introducing the young up-and-coming dynamo Darrell Gilyard,” she said. “They were the ones that introduced and promoted him to Jerry Falwell and to all of the ‘Big Dogs’ of the Southern Baptist Convention. They were the Watch Keepers, and they failed miserably.”
Explain the Paige Patterson, Jerry Vines, Mac Brunson connection: The lies that were told about you and the coverup of 40 allegations.
Jerry Vines was my Pastor growing up at FBC Jax, FL, I attended church there from the age of 2 until around 19. I looked up to Dr. Vines and he was a hero of the faith to me and I loved his family and him. Paige Patterson was a regular speaker at our church and known to be a great friend of Vines. Darrell Gilyard was “discovered” by Vines at our church and Dr. Vines asked Patterson to help Darrell and give him a scholarship to Seminary.
Dr. Vines and Patterson kept close eyes on Gilyard and promoted him throughout the convention and to “important” churches. They both have said he was like a son to them. Patterson stated publicly that Vines was even closer to Gilyard than he was. Both men were molding and teaching Darrell as well as introducing him to the “who’s who” of Preachers and leaders and it worked. Darrell became more and more sought after.
Unfortunately, Gilyard also had a predatory eye for females and it began back at our church (FBC Jax.) while he was in the Singles department and prior to seminary. It was brought to the attention of Jerry Vines by a staff member, Kenny St. John, who was then the Singles Pastor and his concerns were ignored. Then, during his time at seminary, fellow students began to complain about Gilyard’s unwanted advances, attacks and even rape. Paige Patterson spoke to these victims and shamed them, while continuing to support Gilyard fully. Vines and Patterson pressed on with their promotions of Gilyard though both had first hand knowledge of his predation.
After 4 different churches within an equal number of years fired Darrell due to sexual predation of their females, Patterson still continued to cover for and also promote Gilyard heavily and now added shaming and blaming of the pastors who had fired him, along with the victims. Patterson claimed it was all racially motivated and even jealousy of Gilyards popularity, never telling others of the number of reports and complaints which grew to about 42 before he moved back to Jacksonville, Florida where there were even more and also led to his arrest for molestation and indecency with 2 minors in 2007, and he was found guilty in 2009.
Jerry Vines and Paige Patterson could not seriously think that well over 40 allegations and complaints against Gilyard from so many different churches could have all been a racially motivated conspiracy or jealousy. There is equally no way that they could hear from that many victims and assume they were all responsible instead of Gilyard. They chose to look away and also shame the victims and promote and revere Gilyard, not a mistake but a choice.
After Darrell attacked me during my Senior Year of high school, I wanted to hold him accountable so I went to Dr. Vines, to report what he had done to me because I assumed that he would want to know and would do something about it. After all, it was Dr. Vines who wanted Darrell Gilyard to come and travel with our youth group to be the evangelist for our singing revival tours, he needed to know that he was a predator so he wasn’t used any longer. Also, Jerry Vines was the President of the SBC that year and had the means and power to do something.
But he didn’t, he never reported the crime committed against me to the authorities or anyone for that matter. He asked whom I had already told (he and my Mom and Dad, and my friend the Music Minister of Darrell’s church) and he said good, it is probably best that others don’t know and then words I’ll never forget, “it would be embarrassing for you if others knew” and as we left his office, “you know, given a little time these things tend to just blow over.” No outrage, no sorrow for me, no help offered, secrecy, shame and silence. Now, all of these years later, I know due to the video evidence, that he went to Texas and he and Patterson met with Gilyard and spoke for him on the stage at his church about the need for his restoration and again blamed victims (as seen on video).
Patterson admonished the church to forgive him and support him, he lied about what he was accused of (more than 42 victims at least at this point) calls them affairs and says the women were guilty. Never mentioning the teenaged high school girl who had just come forward triggering this pulpit stand, the girl who was at home trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces – me. I was definitely not “having an affair” and I had to fight him off in a sexual assault, where was my guilt in this? They covered this part up as well and didn’t tell the congregation nor did Vines send notice to the parents of our youth group to be sure there weren’t other victims. Where was their care for me while they were there “comforting him as he wept” at his home? I was devastated all over again when I watched the vidoes that were released by the Houston Chronicle, they were so hard to watch. Vines knew because I told him and he told Patterson. And yet they crafted a story for the audience that night in front of Gilyards church and they lifted him up once again. Some choose to see what they want to see, the evidence is all around.
Sadly, in this video, you will wee very little attention given to the pain of Gilyard’s victims.
Patterson responded forcefully, writing in 2008 that he “forced Gilyard to resign his church” and “called pastors all over the USA and since that day (Gilyard) has never preached for any Southern Baptist organization.”
In fact, Gilyard preached after his Texas ouster at various churches, including Jacksonville’s First Baptist Church, which was led by former SBC President Jerry Vines. It was there that Tiffany Thigpen said she met Gilyard, who she said later “viciously” attacked her.
Thigpen, who was 18 at the time, said that Vines tried to shame her into silence after she disclosed the abuse to him. “How embarrassing this will be for you,” she recalled Vines telling her. As far as Thigpen knows, police were never notified.
Gilyard was convicted in 2009 of lewd and lascivious molestation of two other teenage girls, both under 16, while pastoring a Florida church. He found work at an SBC church after his three-year prison sentence, prompting the local Southern Baptist association to end its affiliation.
….Thigpen said of Vines in a recent interview: “You left this little sheep to get hurt and then you protected yourself. And I hope when you lay your head on your pillow you think of every girl (Gilyard) hurt and life he ruined. And I hope you can’t sleep.”
Patterson and Vines did not respond to requests for comment. Heath Lambert, now senior pastor at First Baptist in Jacksonville, said in a statement that “we decry any act of violence or abuse.”
Gilyard was finally confronted in Exclusive videos show confrontation of Baptist pastor accused of sexual misconduct: Houston Chronicle.
Vines makes a racially based comment to Tiffany.
Just after Darrell’s attack/sexual assault on me on May 15th, my Mom and I met with Jerry Vines at his office and I told him what happened, a horrific experience for me to tell. Vines did not seem shocked at all, looking back my Mom and I have discussed this, he knew what the problem was already. He told us to “let him handle it” and also asked whom I had told (no one) and he said “it would be embarrassing for me if anyone knew” (understand that the purity culture was huge back then and also this was still a racial issue and with Darrell being African American and me being white virgin…I understood his meaning as to what my reputation or eligibility would look like within SBC culture).
Why did Vines invites known predator to speak the Pastor’s Conference? Vines is a much responsible as Patterson but he is still an acceptable pastor amongst the SBC leaders?
Now realize that even with ALL of this knowledge and knowing Darrell had JUST (2 weeks prior) assaulted me, WHY did Vines and Patterson invite Darrell to speak at the Pastors Conference in Atlanta on June 3, 1991? https://repository.sbts.edu/handle/10392/5006
Why would my Pastor, Vines the President of the SBC at that time, invite a KNOWN sexual predator who had just 2 weeks prior attempted to rape a teen, to speak to the audience of the SBC? It is a question that haunts and harms me emotionally. I was worth NOTHING to these men, what they wanted to present and their “son” and their “Conservative Resurgence” was far more valuable than my well being and the well being of far more than 35 other victims of Gilyard. Yet Sharayah Colter says my timelines don’t match and my story doesn’t ring true. I say that the story and evidence and timelines speak for themselves. Patterson and Vines just hoped it “would all blow over” and no one would do the math. I have lived with the aftermath my whole life while Paige and Jerry proclaim they “didn’t find us credible” and could “not find demonstrable evidence” and that in the end “they were responsible for his resignation” that wasn’t really a resignation because you see in the video that Patterson and Vines were still restoring him and counseling him. What he did not say in the video was that he should be disqualified and never preach again because there were many, many victims and that now he had victimized a teen.
Darrell continued to preach at the newly formed church until he moved back to Jacksonville and took the Pastorate at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist which is now the church of HB Charles who took over after Darrell was arrested in 2006 over abuse of 2 teens.
With that being said, the 2006 arrest, please note that Dr. Vines was still friends with Gilyard and was at times speaking at his church. Dr. Vines, with all of this knowledge of sins and crimes says he “had no option but to forgive him after he admitted his moral failings to him in 2003” (note the year) and that “five years later he saw the ‘FIRST’ signs that he had been duped.” How many ‘signs’ do you need Dr. Vines? Was the distraught and traumatized teenager whom had trusted you her whole life not enough? Were the 35 before me not enough? How about the over 200 that came after me during the ‘5 years later’ while you were still preaching at his church, guest speaker at his Valentines Banquet and even your manager/son Jon Vines befriended Darrell and Darrell performed at your sons wedding ceremony during these ‘5 years’ post the 2 decades of signs/reports/admissions/firings/scandals/sexual abuse.
Why is Patterson the only focus? Both Patterson and Vines worked hand in hand?
There is much more to Tiffany’s story and I plan to post again in the new future. For example, Jerry Vines misrepresents what happened to Tiffany in his biography. I plan to address this on TWW and with the publisher. In fact I may need you help on that one.