SWBTS responds to sexual abuse lawsuit

SWBTS President "Greenway responded to a personal injury lawsuit that alleges "Jane Roe" was forcibly raped at gunpoint on at least three occasions from October 2014 through April 2015 by a fellow student with an extensive criminal history who also was employed as an SWBTS plumber." - BPNews

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Jay's picture

I saw this story on Twitter this morning.  It ought to sound familiar to us by now, but I am certain that some will write it off as sour grapes or something like that.  To those people I would say, “I hope you never have to live through or help people in abuse situations.”

https://mobile.twitter.com/russ_meek/status/1147322812350308352

 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Mark_Smith's picture

Jay wrote:

I saw this story on Twitter this morning.  It ought to sound familiar to us by now, but I am certain that some will write it off as sour grapes or something like that.  To those people I would say, “I hope you never have to live through or help people in abuse situations.”

https://mobile.twitter.com/russ_meek/status/1147322812350308352

 

The twitter post was about a minor... totally different from the abuse a graduate student adult experienced. In the SWBTS case, the question is not about helping the survivor/victim here. Now she has filed a lawsuit against Patterson and SWBTS saying that they are responsible! That is the question.

Bert Perry's picture

One other note; the logjam broke in the Nassar case not due to what his victims testified he did, but rather because the investigators noticed he was quite the pack rat--and guessed correctly that they would do well to look into his garbage.  The case really broke open when they found over 30,000 images of child porn on a hard drive he'd discarded.

A big part of why people don't report is because the statistics go this way; for every (estimated) thousand sexual assaults, you get ~310 reports, six convictions leading to jail time, and six to 30 cases where the police are willing to bet (something between a ham sandwich and their career) that the reporter lied.  That leaves somewhere between 274 and 298 of every 310 reports in the zone of "police didn't see fit to proceed."  Sometimes that may be justified, at other times, it's because a rape kit (physical exam) was taken and not processed, or because the police didn't bother to interview named persons of interest.  

And so you've got an incredible percentage of reported cases--88-96% of them--where people who have been sexually assaulted are implicitly told "your case isn't that important to us."  Think those victims talk with their friends, saying "the police didn't bother doing anything"?   Think that might have something to do with 69% or so of victims not reporting at all?  I do.

Here in Minnesota, we've got a slightly better conviction rate than average--about 5% of reports result in jail time if a recent Star-Tribune story is to be believed--but even here, it's estimated that only about 20% of reports result in the police doing "best practices" investigations.  

We might infer that a little bit of pressure to do the right thing here might change this a LOT.   Put bluntly, if the local PD has plenty of speed traps, but no resources for investigating sexual assault, maybe it's time for a new sheriff next election.  Or maybe a victim you know simply needs an advocate who will ask the tough questions like "we named the perp; have you interviewed him?" or "how did the DNA samples from the rape kit come out?".  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Mark_Smith's picture

Nassar was the team doctor employed by the gymnastics team. If you wanted to perform, you had to see him. People complained about him early and often. The institution ignored all of those complaints.

At SWBTS this guy was a janitor... Plus, the victim/survivor had some form of voluntary relationship with him.She allowed him to stay in her life by not immediately reporting his stalking, then violent threats, the rape to the police. Plus it took a long time for her to report. It wasn't until after all the violence that she reported. SWBTS then acted...

Totally different cases... not even close in the level of responsibility by the institution.

Mark_Smith's picture

MSU/Nassar involved girls. Yes, minors.

SWBTS involves a fully grown adult woman graduate student.

Bert Perry's picture

....of why victims don't report: look closely at the handling of the sexual assaults of at least 36 victims by Jeffrey Epstein.  For reasons I don't understand at all, Epstein got off with a little over a year in a country club jail when comparable crimes (e.g. Larry Nassar's) put the perpetrator in jail for life. Hoping and praying that the current DOJ investigation administers a good deal of justice this time around, but I cannot blame sexual assault victims for saying "why bother?" when they read stuff like this.  (outside chance is that Alex Acosta might get some time in the Big House--and I'm not saying Michigan Stadium with that one)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb's picture

Bert a Republican US Attorney, who is now our Secretary of Labor made that deal which was determined to violate Federal Law big time.  Both Donald Trump and Bill Clinton allegedly took advantage of Epstein’s harem.  Maybe the deal was made because Epstein had the goods on other well known rich men and Republicans and Democrats.  You have to wonder why such a deal was struck letting Epstein off the hook.  If Epstein now faces 45 years in prison he may want some payback so other heads may roll.   Could prove to be interesting.  Although it’s most likely they viewed the victims as prostitutes and not victims back then.  

Mark_Smith's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

....of why victims don't report: look closely at the handling of the sexual assaults of at least 36 victims by Jeffrey Epstein.  For reasons I don't understand at all, Epstein got off with a little over a year in a country club jail when comparable crimes (e.g. Larry Nassar's) put the perpetrator in jail for life. Hoping and praying that the current DOJ investigation administers a good deal of justice this time around, but I cannot blame sexual assault victims for saying "why bother?" when they read stuff like this.  (outside chance is that Alex Acosta might get some time in the Big House--and I'm not saying Michigan Stadium with that one)

Once again, Epstein involves minors. Worse, it involves him bringing in international minors, which is sex trafficking. He did this for years, and was known to be doing it. I have heard about this guy for years. So, to compare this to the SWBTS case by having it in the same thread as it is absurd, quite frankly. ONCE AGAIN, the SWBTS student was an adult female graduate student. No comparison here, even in the case of talking about why people do not report. International girls illegally brought in to the US versus an adult female graduate student... think about it.

Bert Perry's picture

Mark, "hearsay" is when one person hears another person say something.  What you're referring to is "eyewitness testimony", and while that's subject to cross examination and the like, it is admissible in court.  Hearsay is not.

Regarding the allegations, having read the complaint, the basis of the suit is that evidently Patterson knew of the rapist's criminal and moral history, including violence and being quite "loose" sexually, and not only admitted him, but did so in a way that gave him (a) very little supervision and (b) keys to the dorms.  

Why didn't she just go to the police?  Well, if you knew that even in "good" states, only 20% of sexual assault allegations were adequately investigated (even with basics like "interview the accuser and accused"), and your rapist was armed, had the key to your home, and was a bit nuts, what would you do?    

In an ideal world, I'd agree that Title IX would be simple; a student would be suspended when arrested or indicted, and expelled when convicted, and that would be the end of that.  Almost all Title IX investigations are of criminal offenses, and universities really don't have proper incentive to investigate these things properly because a "successful" investigation makes them look bad.  That said, universities are still in this business, are required to be in it to receive federal loans and grants, and Patterson's own testimony (by illegally releasing Title IX documents to friends) tells us that the core of this woman's testimony is true; that Patterson was not taking the process seriously. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

Thanks for your response. I still would like to ask if anyone holds a McDonald's manager to the same level you all are expecting Paige Patterson to be held at.

Is the McDonald's Manager:

  • A Christian
  • Charged with leading a Christian institution
  • Responsible for complying with federal/state statues on sexual assault
  • Leader of the SBC's "Conservative" resurgence and a nationally recognized figure in our circles

I seem to recall something about teachers being held to higher standards than those who do not teach.

MSU/Nassar involved girls. Yes, minors.

SWBTS involves a fully grown adult woman graduate student.

Oh, well just because she's fully grown and adult we should just ignore it entirely and believe that this is all a made-up story.  That seems.....well, I'll let others fill in the blank.

This is the second credible accusation that Patterson covered up sex assaults, at two different institutions, spanning more than a decade.  I'm finding it very, very hard to give him the benefit of any doubts.

Seriously - what is wrong with you?  Do you have some kind of personal relationship with Patterson?  

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jay's picture

She allowed him to stay in her life by not immediately reporting his stalking, then violent threats, the rape to the police. Plus it took a long time for her to report. It wasn't until after all the violence that she reported. SWBTS then acted...

You really, really need to read the civil complaint.  I'll leave it at that.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Mark_Smith's picture

This is a civil court case, not an argument of Christian responsibility. You can't mix the two in a court case.

Yes, I read all of the complaint. All of it. Did you?

I do not remember the SEBTS details, but if you read the complaint for the SWBTS, Patterson called the police when Doe reported the situation. He hid nothing.

Yes, there is a huge difference between adults and minors.

I never said anything was made up. I said the victim should have reported way earlier. When she did report, she only reported to SWBTS, but only way later after all the incidents. She never called the police independently. When SWBTS heard of the situation, they called the police.

Mark_Smith's picture

you go to his supervisor and lodge a formal complaint. If that person ignores you, you go to their boss, and up and up until you get to the top.

Once a crime happens, you call the police.

What happened here, is none of that...

So what the victim/survivor does is sue the school saying they created a toxic atmosphere so the victim/survivor saw no use in doing any of the above. Ok, we'll see what the court says.

Did Doe ever compete the complaint process to try to get the perpetrator charged for rape? He is the real criminal. Is she interested in him being charged? Or is this all Paige Patterson's fault?

Bert Perry's picture

It's worth noting that a lot of Nassar's victims were actually adults when he abused them.  Yes, many of the most famous were children, but the abuse of Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Amanda Thomashow, and many others continued into adulthood.  Mark, you really need to start to come up to speed on how these things work.  I've got personal experience saying that around 1980, many police would not do a serious investigation at all, and a recent Star-Tribune report (again) reveals that even in the best states, most reports are not adequately investigated.  

And if that report is not adequately investigated, the perp is still out on the streets, ready and able to abuse the victim even more savagely.  For that matter, there are a lot of places where even "ordinary" crimes don't get adequately investigated, and as a result, reporting for them isn't as high as you'd think, either.  As a result, if you make it "safe" to tell someone, you are going to have people coming out of the woodwork, telling you about things that either need to make it to the police, or where it's too late to file charges, and you simply have to help them pick up the pieces.  If you doubt me on this, look up FBI reporting/conviction statistics for a variety of crimes.  It's really pretty dismal.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

So let me get this right....In the complaint, Jane alleges that the janitor had a small arsenal of firearms both on and off campus that he used to threaten her with.  Patterson or whoever calls the police, who comes on campus, confiscates the firearms from exactly where Jane said they would be - some of which, by the way, are also illegal, matching more of her descriptions - and Patterson, by his own admission, expels the janitor that very day for doing exactly what Jane said the janitor did.

But there's no chance whatsoever that Jane Roe's testimony about being raped by the Janitor isn't true?  If so, how do you account for the emails included in her complaint about Patterson wanting to talk with her with no witnesses?  And especially how do you account for his casual admission to the SWBTS staff that he needs to break her down without witnesses present?  

Tom Clancy said it best - there are lies, and then there are stupid lies.  This is falling into the latter category.

This is a civil court case, not an argument of Christian responsibility. You can't mix the two in a court case.

You most certainly can.  Moral culpability falls within the jurisdiction of both spheres, and the spheres are complementary, not antagonistic, of each other.  

Yes, I read all of the complaint. All of it. Did you?

I read enough that I was sufficiently horrified to put it down and walk away several times.  I don't think I finished the entire thing, no.

I do not remember the SEBTS details, but if you read the complaint for the SWBTS, Patterson called the police when Doe reported the situation. He hid nothing.

And yet it's so weird that Patterson is alleged to have acted the same way:

  • in both cases. 
  • Using almost the exact same phrasing and behavior. 
  • Over ten years apart.
  • By two separate women.
  • On opposite sides of the United States.

Maybe you ought to re-read the SEBTS allegations from a year ago.  They're pretty consistent.

Yes, there is a huge difference between adults and minors.

I'm sure that being raped 13 year old is so much better than being raped at 19 or 21 or even 43.  Thanks for clearing that right up. You're acting like the crime / sin changes just because the person is a different age.

I never said anything was made up. I said the victim should have reported way earlier. When she did report, she only reported to SWBTS, but only way later after all the incidents. She never called the police independently. When SWBTS heard of the situation, they called the police.

The whole point of her complaint is that she did report and Patterson shut it down to preserve the testimony and reputation of the school, and to spare her alleged assailant from blemishes that might hinder him from ministry.  He also needed to protect a relationship with the parents of students.  Patterson admits that major donors and parents treated SEBTS/SWBTS like it was a "reform school".

According to the PDF, Roe was raped in late 2014.  We have an email from Patterson to staff in August 2015, in the complaint, telling his staff that "her mother is nuts!" and that they should set up a meeting which they had a few days later.  This wasn't a case of years passing and now all of a sudden it's just coming up.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Mark_Smith's picture

Let's say Patterson is a huge jerk. Legally speaking, so what? 

Did he rape the woman?

When she reported to the school did he call the police?

Did Patterson then fire the guy?

Is Patterson responsible for the guy "owning an arsenal of weapons"?

If he did own that arsenal, how were SWBTS and Patterson supposed to know it if no one reported him?

If the guy raped the woman, how were SWBTS and Patterson supposed to know if the victim didn't report it?

You are not answering any of the basic facts. You just keep saying how bad Patterson was. So what? What did he legally do wrong?

Bert Perry's picture

Mark,see my comment from yesterday at 9pm.  If it's not clear to you, mention the situation--SWBTS knew of the criminal record and not only gave him a key to all the dorms, but did so without adequate supervision--to a tradesman who owns a plumbing or other business.   To draw a picture, Home Depot does background checks on all contractors for a reason, as does my company.  To not act on one is to say "please, please, please sue me." 

The bungling of the Title IX investigation after things went south is really just the icing on the cake, as is Patterson's smuggling of documents related to that investigation to the press via his friends.  Overall, the big reality here is that associations have a responsibility to follow best practices to keep their constituents safe.   

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Mark_Smith's picture

That is the claimant's assertion... it is not a fact yet. 

Mark_Smith's picture

has the raper been charged with anything? If not, why not.

Jay's picture

You just keep saying how bad Patterson was. So what? What did he legally do wrong?

You're acting like Patterson's sole responsibility is to follow the law, and he doesn't even pass that test.  You'd know that if you read the PDF I linked to.

To be completely honest, it seems like Patterson got advice on how to handle sexual assault and then determined to do the exact opposite of it, which is borne out in the complaint.

Here are things he could or should have done:

  • "Wow, that's awful.  Let me make sure you get some help and that we get the police involved" would have been a great starting place. (#86, pg. 18)
  • Not attacking her mother as "crazy" when they called to report a rape would also be a good starting point. (#76, pg. 16)
  • Limited his discussions to only the pertinent people that had be involved, not his Chief of Staff, not the VP for Strategic Initiatives and Communications, not Dorothy Patterson and her assistant / the Assistant Professor of Women's Theology, not anyone else other than those that absolutely needed to know (#91, pg. 19).
  • Not telling her that being raped was "a good thing" (#79, pg. 17)
  • Not telling her that he was "too busy" to deal with this (#80, pg. 17)
  • Making sure that the police officers involved were not related in any way to anyone on the SWBTS staff, posing a clear conflict of interest.
  • Not talking with her alleged assailant after he had been expressly warned by the FWPD to stay out of it so that he could 'get his side of the story' (#96, pg. 20).

I'm not even trying hard and this is shooting fish in a barrel.  Shall I continue?  It only gets worse.

This isn't hard.  The second great command is to love your neighbor as yourself.  Patterson failed that, failed to uphold the law, and failed to protect the students at both schools.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Mark_Smith's picture

Let me ask you this. Let's say I accept as fact you list of bullet points (which are only claims of the claimant and not facts in evidence). What is illegal about any of that list? What civil wrong has he committed.

Is is illegal to call a mom crazy?
Is it illegal to say you are too busy?

etc...

You act like his failure as a pastor makes him financially liable.

And I am still waiting for your comment on the real person here who should be presecuted, the alleged rapist!

Mark_Smith's picture

No one that I have read has called for the alleged rapist to be prosecuted, but they all want SWBTS to pay major money. Why is that?

Jay's picture

No one that I have read has called for the alleged rapist to be prosecuted, but they all want SWBTS to pay major money. Why is that?

Because there's no significant motive to change the practices at SWBTS / SEBTS / within the SBC until there's a big hit to the pocketbook.  Bert talked about this in the context of MSU / Larry Nassar.  It's not the same, but CJ Mahaney has largely escaped the consequences of covering up child abuse at SGC.

It's also because there are serious costs involved with rebuilding after rape / trauma like this.  Lost income, costs of therapy, etc.

As for not prosecuting the rapist - that argument is so dumb that I'm not going to justify it with an answer. 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Bert Perry's picture

Since Patterson has released a fair number of documents contesting the plaintiff's version of events (again, illegally if my understanding of Title IX is correct), but has not challenged the notion that he knew of the perpetrator's criminal record, I think it's safe to assume that this part is true. 

No doubt the rapist should be prosecuted, and had the Title IX portion of the matter been handled well, he very well might have been before the evidence got cold.  Just sayin'. 

Regarding the rest of the evidence, keep in mind that it follows closely the string of evidence the SWBTS Board of Trustees used to fire Patterson.  I would be very surprised if much of it was refuted during discovery or cross examination, and my best guess is that Patterson and SWBTS are in a world of hurt, legally speaking.

And yes, the plaintiff wants to be compensated for her injuries.  When one is raped, post traumatic stress often occurs, and quite frankly it ain't cheap to get could mental health care, and it ain't cheap to have great difficulty holding down a job because of flashbacks and the like.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

When we went through the BJU / GRACE discussions, much was made about how BJU acted in loco parentis and had broad authority in the lives of their students.  I believe you agreed with that at the time.

Now all of a sudden the school / president isn't liable for wrong done while they exercised that authority?  And we are just supposed to ignore wrongdoing because "no laws were broken" (despite credible evidence that they actually were).  Do I get to escape the consequences of wrong or sinful behavior simply because I "kept the law"?

Make up your mind, people.  You can't have it both ways.

 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jay's picture

No doubt the rapist should be prosecuted, and had the Title IX portion of the matter been handled well, he very well might have been before the evidence got cold.  Just sayin'

He might have been prosecuted if Patterson hadn't meddled with the investigation against the orders of the Fort Worth Police Department (and, for whatever it's worth, basic common sense).  I mentioned that in the last two bullet points in a previous post.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Joeb's picture

Mark correct me if I’m wrong.  You did not think comparing Page Patterson to Epstein was fair.  Bert was trying to point out how Victims were mistreated in the past by using this comparison.  Bert was trying to show why victims don’t report.

 If you saw Acosta’s response he said times have changed in regards to what he previously did.  If you remember Epstein pleaded guilty to paying prostitutes which was a local charge 

Acosta’s response proves what Bert said is a fair comparison because Acosta claimed a child can be a prostitute.  Patterson treated the victim(s) with the deference just like Acosta did.  .   The message by Acosta and Patterson is the victim is a whore and expendable.  

First of all in 2003 as now a child can’t legally be a prostitute   Back then as now if a man has sex with a child prostitute it is rape and child abuse   Nothing has changed.  We are not talking about 1950.     Trump should fire Acosta is immediately   Acosta basically called the girls whores by saying what he did   Hence proves Bert’s case of why victims don’t report things  

Attitudes by men which are sinful and in some cases criminal are the same as then and now.  Paige Patterson was just plain wrong and the victim’s bank account should increase substantially.  The Victim’s  Attorney should get quite a nice pay day after he gets 35% of the award. It will be like shooting fish in a barrel.      Good for the Attorney   Bravo.  May the spring chickens be plucked in excellence and justice be brought to the victims.  

Problem is when you pluck a chicken you want it freshly dispatched and dipped in boiling water   Burning all those hairs off is tough when you have a. small lighter.  Bert did  you ever pluck a bird for the table.  It’s not fun that’s why I just filet  out the breasts on my ducks turkeys and geese. A lot easier   

 

Mark_Smith's picture

-What does Title IX have to do with Ft Worth police prosecuting a guy for rape? The victim testifies. The jury hears it and decides for themselves? At worst, Title IX would be used to say that SWBTS didn't cooperate with the investigation. But again, if the woman has evidence that she was raped, and reported it fully to Ft Worth PD, what is the problem? The thing is, she didn't (apparently)! That is the problem and why the guy has not been prosecuted.

-Again, firing Patterson for being a poor president does not mean the school is financially responsible for causing a rape. I have seen no evidence yet that SWBTS or Patterson contributed anything significant to a man raping a student. Could they have treated the victim better? We have not heard Patterson's defense, so I will be careful. But, the board did fire Patterson, so I suspect his actions were not what they expected. HOWEVER, Patterson being a bad president is not the same as what the claimant has said, ie that Patterson gave the perpetrator cover to be on campus, handed him the keys to the university, and said "have at it".

-Epstein... seriously. At worst, Patterson hired a guy to be a janitor and neglected his oversight of him. AT WORST that is what he did. Epstein on the other hand ran an entire "business" that found underage prostitutes and used them. Yeah, sounds the same to me...

Mark_Smith's picture

It shifts the blame for rape and sexual assault from the perpetrator to the school. The reasons are manifold. Rather than go through the terrible ordeal of reliving the rape or assault, getting evidence to make it clear the relationship was non-consensual, etc, you go to the school and tell them. They then with little due process throw the alleged perpetrator out of school and ban him from campus.

Often, this does not happen, for whatever reason. The victim then sues the school, which likely has access to millions of dollars. The result is the school looks bad, the victim has money, and the perpetrator walks free. What is just about any of that?

Perhaps I am old-school in my thinking, but if I was raped, I would care little what the university president, or the HR department, or any such thing thought. I would go to the police and the DA. Only they can prosecute the assailant. Only they can seek justice. If I win there, then the school has to recognize what the perpetrator did and kick them out (well, they'd go to jail!).

The problem is, all too many sexual assault cases are murky... the evidence for prosecution is not there. So, Title IX was set up to avoid due process and make it easier to kick the accused out of school. Its as simple as that.

Mark_Smith's picture

Jay wrote:

As for not prosecuting the rapist - that argument is so dumb that I'm not going to justify it with an answer. 

Jay, you can say its dumb all you want, but why is it the alleged perpetrator has not been charged? And don't blame it on Title IX like Bert.

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