Paige Patterson, who was recently fired from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth on May 30 over his alleged improper handling of alleged sexual assault incidents, has received yet another blow. According to Stuart Cochran, an attorney of an alleged sexual assault victim at Southwestern in 2015, Patterson had told the rape victim that it was a “good thing” she was violated and that her future husband would not mind that she was no longer a virgin.
Through an email, Patterson had also discussed meeting the victim with no other officials present to “break her down.” In a statement to the Star-Telegram, Cochran stated that Patterson further threatened his client when her mother got involved.
“I am told he said it was a ‘good thing’ my client had been raped and that her future husband wouldn’t care if she was a virgin or not. He threatened to sic lawyers on her (mother) for questioning his leadership at the school when she asked why the assailant was allowed on campus,” Cochran said.
The lawyer further claimed that Patterson later added insult to injury, sending out an email describing the victim’s mother as “nuts.” During a meeting with the victim’s family members, the lawyer stated that Patterson “belittled” his client’s mother for being divorced. He also “required” the victim’s family to “raise their hands if they wished to speak.” Cochran noted, however, that no charges have been filed as of late, since his client fears for her life.
Ultimately, Cochran noted that following the assault and Patterson’s handling of the situation, the woman opted to withdraw from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Patterson, however, has his own supporters. Just recently, a 15-page memo authored by Sharayah Colter, the wife of Patterson chief of staff at the seminary, was released in defense of the Baptist veteran. Colter, citing Candi Finch, an assistant professor of women’s studies at Southwestern, stated that Patterson actually encouraged the rape victim to press charges against her assailant. According to Colter, the woman opted to think about the incident and “pray” about it more. In a statement to the Star-Telegram, Finch claimed that Colter’s account was accurate. Cochran, however, stated that his client disputes Colter’s memo.
In a statement on June 1, Kevin Ueckert, president of Southwestern’s board of trustees, ultimately condemned Patterson’s behavior during his handling of the 2015 rape case, calling them “antithetical to the core values of our faith,” according to a Dallas News report. Ueckert also expressed his criticism over Colter’s memo, stating that her actions were “inappropriate and unethical.”
After a long tenure at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Patterson was removed by the board from his position as president last month, reassigning him to an emeritus role on campus. Later that month, following new information, the seminary’s board of directors opted to terminate Patterson. Patterson, for his part, issued an apology last May 10.
“Please forgive the failure to be as thoughtful and careful in my extemporaneous expression as I should have been. I would also like to reiterate the simple truth that I utterly reject any form of abuse in demeaning, or threatening talk, in physical blows, or in forced sexual acts,” he wrote in the seminary’s website.