A Statement from the ABSC
As some of you may already be aware, a lawsuit has recently been filed by the attorneys of a young man who alleges a Baptist pastor in Arkansas had an improper relationship with him. The suit has been filed against the pastor, the church, and the local association. This suit also includes the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and Dr. Sonny Tucker, as the Executive Director of the Convention, alleging that the Convention received information about the relationship and failed to report it to the authorities. To date, no charges have been filed against the pastor or anyone else as a result of the claims in the suit, nor have there been any criminal convictions.
These are serious allegations which the Arkansas Baptist State Convention is taking very seriously. The Arkansas Baptist State Convention and Dr. Tucker are being represented by the law firm of Friday, Eldredge & Clark, which is thoroughly investigating this matter. So far, our lawyers have seen no indication of impropriety on the part of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention or Dr. Tucker. Rather, it appears the plaintiff does not understand the relationship between the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and the local church and pastor. Apparently, the plaintiff mistakenly believes that the Arkansas Baptist State Convention somehow controls the local church and should have been monitoring this local church pastor’s actions. In any event, the Convention has no responsibility in this case for his and/or the local church’s actions.
The Arkansas Baptist State Convention has long placed a high priority on ministry and safety for children and students. For several years, the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, under Dr. Tucker’s leadership, has been involved in an intentional, statewide safety and training emphasis to equip churches to better prevent and respond to sexual abuse. We grieve with every victim of abuse and pray for them and their families. It is our sincere desire to see every church minister to victims and their families with love and support.
We will continue to cooperate with our attorneys and defend what appears to be false accusations against the Convention and its Executive Director. We ask that you refer questions concerning this suit to Greg Addison, who may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.