October 14, 1998
Seminary chairman quits amid sex charges
By Marv Knox
Editor-Elect, The Baptist Standard
FORT WORTH--Ollin Collins, chairman of Southwestern Seminary's board of trustees, has resigned from the board amid allegations that he had sexual affairs with two women.
Collins, 47, pastor of Harvest Church in the suburban Fort Worth community of Watauga, also has been suspended with pay from his church duties, pending the outcome of the situation, Fort Worth and Dallas newspapers reported last week.
The two women--32-year-old Kimberlee Brokaw of Fort Worth and 37-year-old Lucy Thompson of Watauga--have threatened to sue Collins and the church, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Dallas Morning News. Both women said they had sexual relationships with Collins after they went to him for counseling.
Brokaw said her affair with Collins started when she went to him for help when she learned she has multiple sclerosis, the Fort Worth paper reported. Thompson, a counselor at the church's school, said her two-year affair with Collins started when she sought counseling for depression.
Collins was unavailable for comment last week. He reportedly was in Hawaii on a 60-day sabbatical leave.
Richard Long, the church's associate pastor, declined to comment on the situation except to ask Texas Baptists, "Please pray for us, for the pastor and for everybody involved."
Long referred questions to the church's attorney, Ron Adams, who did not respond to a request for an interview.
The women's attorney, John Holland, accused Collins of "a breach of a confidential relationship," the Star-Telegram reported. "He abused his power. He abused his relationship."
Southwestern Seminary officials received Collins' faxed resignation from the trustee board Oct. 6, reported David Porter, the seminary's public relations director.
Later in the week, seminary President Ken Hemphill expressed the seminary community's sorrow regarding the situation.
"We are grieved over the recent events concerning Ollin Collins," Hemphill said in a prepared statement. "We continue to pray for him, his family and for Harvest Baptist Church."
The seminary's upcoming trustee meeting, Oct. 19-21, would have been Collins' first to preside as chairman.
Collins was elected to the board in 1990. He was a key participant in the firing of Hemphill's predecessor, former President Russell Dilday, in 1994. Southwestern trustees elected him chairman last March.
Vice Chairman Miles Seaborn will become chairman and serve until trustee officer elections are held next spring. Seaborn is the retired pastor of Birchman Church in Fort Worth. He also is president of Southern Baptists of Texas, a new convention that has split from the Baptist General Convention of Texas, accusing the BGCT of not being closely enough affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
Collins started the 2,000-member church with nine members 20 years ago. The church has a $5.8 million, 3,150-seat auditorium, as well as a school through grade 12, a day care center and gymnasium/ family life center.
Wednesday, October 7, 1998
Collins placed on suspension in sex case
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - The board chairman of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has been suspended as pastor of Harvest Baptist Church while church officials investigate allegations of sexual misconduct.
Two female parishioners said they had sexual relationships with Ollin Collins, 47, during the time they sought counseling from him for personal problems, said their attorney, John Holland.
The women will file a lawsuit this week claiming that Collins violated relationships of trust and and that the church administration was negligent in its supervision of Collins, Holland told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
"It is a breach of a confidential relationship - a special relationship of trust and confidence," Holland said. "He abused his power. He abused his relationship."
Collins recently began a 60-day sabbatical and is in Hawaii, Holland said he was told.
Officials at Collins' church in the Fort Worth suburb of Watauga declined to comment Tuesday.
Kevin Chessher, the business administrator at Harvest Baptist, confirmed that Collins was on sabbatical and unavailable for comment. Chessher referred further questions to lawyer Ron Adams, who told the newspaper he could not comment because he had not been officially retained. Adams did not return a telephone call Tuesday to The Associated Press.
In a letter sent Monday to parents of students at Harvest Christian Academy, church administrators stated that elders and deacons had suspended Collins "immediately and indefinitely with full pay and benefits pending further investigations.
"Pastor Collins is aware of these serious allegations and the recommendations which our counsel has given us," the letter states.
David Porter, spokesman for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, did not return a call Tuesday. He told the Star-Telegram he was unaware of the allegations and of Collins' suspension.
"I can say that we are deeply grieved to hear about these accusations and we'll be praying for Ollin and his family and the church," Porter said.
In interviews with the newspaper, Kimberlee Brokaw, 32, of Fort Worth, and Lucy Thompson, 37, of Watauga, described sexual affairs that they said began after they sought help from Collins.
Mrs. Brokaw, a homemaker, said she went to the pastor after learning that she had multiple sclerosis.
Mrs. Thompson said she and Collins had a sexual affair for about two years after she had gone to him to seek counseling for depression.
"He led me to believe that the only reason we couldn't be together was his commitment to God," she said.
Collins was selected in March to lead the 40-member board of the seminary, the largest evangelical seminary in the country.