UPDATE: June 6, 2018
In an article released by the Baptist Standard that can be accessed here, gave the following statement concerning Patterson’s unusual comment in an email:
During the May 22 Southwestern trustee meeting, Patterson “explained the full context” of a 2015 email concerning a rape allegation by a female student at the Fort Worth seminary, including his alleged statement that he wanted to meet with the accuser alone to “break her down,” he said.
Patterson’s explanation was “to the apparent satisfaction of the full board, as evidenced by the fact that the full trustee board voted to name Dr. Patterson ‘president emeritus’ instead of terminating him.”
Sharpe said the accuser met “with Dr. Patterson and with others and reported the rape. The guy was immediately expelled from school and it’s reported to law enforcement. A week later, she sends an email to Dr. Patterson thanking him for the way he handled the delicate matter.”
More than a month later, Sharpe said, Patterson made the “break her down” statement to express his desire to more fully understand circumstances “concerning a forthcoming meeting that had nothing to do with the reporting of the rape.”
Original Article from June 4
In a statement from Kevin Ueckert, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of SWBTS, concerning the decision of the Executive Committee of the trustee board, he wrote the following:
“In addition, as previously disclosed, a female student at SWBTS reported to Dr. Patterson that she had been raped in 2015. Police were notified of that report. But in connection with that allegation of rape, Dr. Patterson sent an email (the contents of which were shared with the Board on May 22) to the Chief of Campus Security in which Dr. Patterson discussed meeting with the student alone so that he could “break her down” and that he preferred no officials be present. The attitude expressed by Dr. Patterson in that email is antithetical to the core values of our faith and to SWBTS. Moreover, the correlation between what has been reported and also revealed in the student record regarding the 2003 allegation at Southeastern and the contents of this email are undeniable.”
I read this statement and shook my head and thought, “Wow; I cannot believe someone of Dr. Patterson’s stature and position would say something like this.” Perhaps I am missing something here. This perceived careless cold-hearted comment is not one a seasoned, statesman of the SBC would make. A story was shared with me. Evangelist E.J. Daniels told the story of a deacon who was driving past his preacher’s house one evening and glanced at the house and saw the silhouette of the pastor’s wife through the window jump up on the bed and the pastor began striking her with what appeared to be a broom. He saw this with his own eyes.
He called an emergency meeting of the deacons without consulting the pastor. The deacon related what he had seen with his own eyes to the deacon board and they voted to fire the preacher on the spot. Well, someone had called the preacher and said, the deacons are meeting to fire you. In shock, he came to the church walked into the meeting as it was about to conclude to learn of his fate. The deacon who saw what he saw, related that to the pastor.
Here was the pastor’s response. “You saw what you saw but you did not see what you saw.”
He went on to explain. My wife walked into the bedroom and a mouse jumped onto her back and she jumped onto the bed and I grabbed a broom to knock the mouse off her as quickly as I could. “You saw what you saw but you did not see what you saw.”
Today many are guilty of “hearing what they hear but not hearing what they hear.” We all have a tendency to hear “what we want to hear” and not “hear what we do not want to hear.” Those who make these kinds of accusatory statements public are aware of how powerful they are especially in the days we are living in today. Once again, this perceived careless cold-hearted comment is not one a seasoned, statesman of the SBC would make. We were intentionally led to believe it was.
I want to make two comments with respect to the statement in the email that Mr. Ueckert has made public. The first is to my own thought when I read this statement, meeting with the student alone so he could “break her down” and that he preferred no officials be present.
It was explained to me that the phrase Patterson did use had a much different idiomatic meaning for Patterson’s generation than it does today. This phrase can be an expression to say, “let me ‘break her down” or “get the details”. The statement that “no officials be present” also seems problematic depending on how it is heard as well. Did this mean that Dr. Patterson intended to meet with this lady alone or with someone else other than “officials at the school” or “law enforcement” with the intent of finding out what the circumstances were before other outsiders were brought in. We do not know. Dr. Patterson knows.
This brings me to the second and more problematic issue with all this: Dr. Patterson has not been allowed to adequately respond to these allegations. It has been stated that Dr. Patterson has been given very little opportunity to defend himself against these allegations and to share his side of the story. Even in the 13-hour meeting of the full trustee board, it was reported that Dr. Patterson was in attendance for roughly 2 and a half hours of the 13 and was given very little time to respond to these issues. He was only allowed to respond to specific questions of board members in the May 22 meeting and He had no opportunity to respond to the May 30 meeting of the executive committee because he was in Germany. This is absolutely inexcusable by anyone’s standards.
A final question is this. Mr. Ueckert said in this latest press release that the email Patterson sent to the Chief of Campus Security was shared with the full trustee board on May 22. What changed between May 22 and May 30 that would constitute a convening of the Executive Committee that would change the decision of the full board on the 22nd? If the email in question was available to the full board in their first meeting, what would justify dismissing the provisions made by the full board with respect to Dr. Patterson’s future as laid out initially on the 22nd? Ueckert’s public statement did not say.
This email saying, “let me break her down without any officials present” is one of two things. It was a calloused cold-hearted comment or a cautious, concerned statement made by someone who cared about the individual involved before jumping to conclusions and prompting public exposure irresponsibly. That is the response of a seasoned statesman of the SBC.
The latter was the confirmed intent of Dr. Patterson’s statement.