Victim forgives pastor for sexual assault
Issues@Hand
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October 2019On July 2, a former Southern Baptist pastor pled guilty in Fort Worth, Texas, to sexually assaulting a minor over two decades ago. In a plea deal, Mark Aderholt, 47, received a sentence of 30 days in jail, 24 months on probation, and a $4,000 fine.

Ann Marie Miller, the victim, agreed to those terms. Aderholt was arrested in 2018 in South Carolina where he had served on staff at the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

Miller’s victim impact statement was read in court. She also posted the statement on her blog.

“I used to believe that in order for this ordeal to be over, you needed to tell the truth and ask me to forgive you,” she said in the statement to Aderholt. “I know now that’s not the case. This is over because I have spoken the truth. It’s over because I have forgiven you.”

She also encouraged Aderholt to repent.

The issue of sexual abuse in the church was addressed extensively at the 2019 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in June. The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News had earlier reported 380 allegations of sexual abuse in the SBC in the last 20 years. (See AFA Journal, 5/19.)

bpnews.net, 7/3/19; sbcvoices.com, 8/2/19; Southern Baptist Texan, 8/19