Former Baptist leader indicted for sexual assault
FORT WORTH, Texas – Mark Aderholt, a former International Mission Board missionary (IMB) missionary, South Carolina Baptist Convention associate executive director and assistant pastor of missions at Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock, was indicted Dec. 18 in Texas for alleged sexual assault of a minor more than 21 years ago.
Aderholt, 47, was arrested in July in South Carolina under a warrant issued in Tarrant County, Texas, and has been out of jail on bond since his arrest. The indictment by a Tarrant County grand jury includes four counts of sexual assault of a child under 17.
The offense allegedly occurred in Arlington, Texas, in 1997, according to a story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
In a July 13 online story, Sarah Smith of the Star-Telegram said the IMB knew about allegations against Aderholt 10 years prior to his arrest on the charges. Smith cited as her source police records and emails from an internal investigation from the organization.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has confirmed that Aderholt was a student at the seminary when the crime allegedly was committed. He graduated in 2000 with a master of divinity degree.
Though the accuser's name is redacted from a copy of the indictment obtained by the Baptist Press, author and speaker Anne Marie Miller has identified herself online and in media reports as Aderholt's accuser. Miller told the Star-Telegram she is "glad that truth is being heard and justice is being served."
Aderholt's indictment came the week after newly-elected IMB President Paul Chitwood promised to continue an independent study of the board's handling of past allegations of abuse and harassment.
Additionally, Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear is conducting an ongoing Sexual Abuse Advisory Study in partnership with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, with plans to report to the convention at its June 2019 annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala.
– This story was compiled from reporting by the Baptist Press and Arkansas Baptist News.
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