Patterson Fired and Stripped of Benefits

The saga of Paige Patterson and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has taken another turn– perhaps its last.

Patterson has been terminated “effective immediately,” according to a statement released Wednesday evening by the school.

In addition to losing his status as “president emeritus” at SWBTS, the board’s executive committee also stripped Patterson of all “benefits, rights and privileges.”  Those privileges included a house on campus that is under construction and the title of theologian-in-residence with compensation. The position and benefits were granted to Patterson just a week ago.

The decision, according to the statement, was based on “new information confirmed this morning … regarding the handling of an allegation of sexual abuse against a student during Dr. Paige Patterson’s presidency at another institution and resulting issues connected with statements to the Board of Trustees that are inconsistent with SWBTS’s biblically informed core values.”

The “other” school was Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC.  Patterson was its president from 1992 to 2003.

Last Tuesday, a former SEBTS graduate student told The Washington Post that after she reported to Patterson and fellow seminary officials in 2003 that she had been raped on campus, they failed to notify authorities and the former president encouraged her to forgive the perpetrator. Patterson did not respond to the claims, but SEBTS launched an internal review of its own.

Patterson has been under fire for weeks, including calls for his dismissal, over his past counsel and statements regarding women, abuse, and divorce.

The announcement was followed by tweets from a host of Southern Baptist officials.

The Executive Committee took the action without a vote in a regular meeting of the board saying  “the information demanded immediate action.”

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