International Mission Board & Alleged Sexual Assault Victim of Former Missionary Present Differing Accounts of How Board Handled Investigation

The International Mission Board and an alleged sexual assault victim of a former missionary have presented differing accounts of how the board handled an investigation of the alleged misconduct.

After Baptist Press published a July 16 update on the case of former IMB missionary Mark Aderholt — who has been charged in Fort Worth, Texas, with sexual assault of a child under 17 — his alleged victim, Anne Marie Miller, sent an email to BP disputing the IMB’s representation of its 2007 investigation into the alleged misconduct. Miller was 16 and Aderholt 25 when the assault allegedly occurred in 1996-1997.

Aderholt served with the IMB from 2000-2008 and went on to serve on staff with Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark., and with the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

In response to Miller’s claims, board spokesperson Julie McGowan said, “We stand by the statements we made. We are cooperating with an ongoing criminal investigation, and we do not plan to share information publicly that could interfere with that investigation.”

Among Miller’s claims: She did not decline “multiple times” to report the abuse, as the IMB claimed, and the IMB is not “supporting” her. Miller also said that while others could have reported her alleged abuse to Texas law enforcement in 2007, IMB was the only organization or person with “an intimate knowledge of what happened” until she “gave the details to law enforcement” earlier this year.

“As the victim in Mark Aderholt’s case,” Miller said, “I assure you I did not say ‘multiple times’ that I did not want to report the abuse to law enforcement.” Miller wrote that she made the comment one time following what she characterized as “an emotionally stressful and inappropriate line of questioning from the IMB” in its 2007 investigation. She also faults the IMB for not encouraging her to file a report or offering to help her “psychologically deal with their investigation.”

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Source: Baptist Press