Darrell Gilyard and Paige Patterson
How many does it take?
How many wounded women and girls does it take before Southern Baptist leaders will take a stand?
In Florida, hundreds of pages of documents detail the sexually explicit text messages allegedly sent by pastor Darrell Gilyard to 14 and 15 year-old girls. A news account provides details of the molestation allegations against Gilyard.
So this is the Florida news, but look at the history of this pastor. Why didn't Baptist leaders stop him sooner?
As reported in the Dallas Morning News, Gilyard left Concord Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas in 1987 after about 25 women complained of his “sexual misconduct.” The senior pastor, Rev. E.K. Bailey, “assumed that would be the end of Darrell Gilyard’s bright evangelistic career.” How tragically wrong he was.
At that time, the First Baptist Church of Dallas and Criswell College president Paige Patterson were promoting Gilyard in Southern Baptist churches. He was considered a rising star. Despite the many allegations against Gilyard, First Baptist officials “decided there was not enough evidence” to further investigate Gilyard, and, according to Rev. Bailey, Paige Patterson wrote him “an unkind letter” saying that “he would have come out to my church and solved the problem for me if I had told him first.”
Apparently, 25 accusations weren’t enough for Paige Patterson. In fact, according to the Dallas Morning News, Patterson painted “Gilyard as a victim” and suggested the accusers were motivated by “jealousy, frustration and racism.”
Patterson wanted “demonstrable evidence” such as “photographs, videotapes or laboratory tests.” Despite 25 women’s accusations, Patterson and First Baptist “continued to recommend” Gilyard.
Hilltop Baptist Church in Norman, Oklahoma, was Gilyard’s next stop. Senior pastor Dan Maxwell said he “had heard rumors” about Gilyard, but “Paige Patterson said he had been out there and talked to the women and there had been nothing to substantiate the allegations.”
At Hilltop, 3 more women reported Gilyard’s sexual advances and sexual misconduct. Reverend Maxwell took the information to Paige Patterson, who said “he did not believe” the stories.
In 1989, Gilyard became an assistant pastor at Shiloh Baptist in Garland, and “allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced again.” Some women met with Paige Patterson in person to discuss their allegations. Counselor Don Simpkins, who was at those meetings, told the Dallas Morning News that, rather than focusing on the allegations against Gilyard, those meetings delved into the women’s own pasts, looking to see whether they were divorced or had psychological problems. More recently, Simpkins gave a stark video interview in which he said that 6 to 8 women met with Patterson at that time and reported everything from rapes to sexual assaults.
During that same time period, another woman reported that she requested a meeting with Paige Patterson to talk about Gilyard, but that her phone calls were not returned.
Still another woman said that Gilyard “pulled me down onto the floor right there in the church” and that, when she tried to report it, Paige Patterson “would not take her calls.” She wrote Patterson a detailed, 10-page letter, but Patterson still “wouldn’t agree to meet” with her.
Multiple Criswell College students said they reported Gilyard to Patterson, but according to news accounts, Patterson said “to refrain from speaking about it."
The Dallas Morning News reported that many were angry about how little was done.
Gilyard's next stop was Victory Baptist Church in Richardson, Texas, where “at least 4 women” made accusations against him. As reported in the Dallas Morning News, one woman said she was “raped.”
Gilyard was allowed to resign from Victory Baptist after confessing to “several adulterous relationships.” That was the description Paige Patterson gave to Gilyard’s conduct, as quoted in the Dallas Morning News. It was "the fourth time in four years" that Gilyard had been "forced to walk away from a congregation."
The morning after Gilyard’s resignation, Paige Patterson also described Gilyard as one of the “most brilliant men in the pulpit.”
Just two weeks later, Darrell Gilyard was preaching in the pulpit of another church.
In 1993, Darrell Gilyard became pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Gilyard was encouraged by former Southern Baptist president Jerry Vines, who “agreed to forgive” Gilyard for his “out-of-state troubles.” Reportedly, Vines also gave credence to Gilyard by speaking from the pulpit of Gilyard’s church.
Now, finally, Gilyard faces trial in Florida on criminal charges of child molestation and lewd conduct.
Consider how many have likely been hurt. Based on published news accounts, 42 women made accusations against Gilyard. Some of them were mere college students.Now 2 underage teen girls have reported Gilyard. That’s a total of 44.
And that’s just the ones we know about. How many more were so traumatized that they stayed silent?
Yet, even in the face of so many published accusations, “Gilyard is said to be preaching and teaching at another church in Jacksonville.”
So where are the voices of Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines now? These two former Southern Baptist presidents were plenty willing to use their powerful voices to promoteGilyard. Why aren’t they now willing to use their powerful voices to get Gilyard out of the pulpit?
Why aren’t there other Southern Baptist leaders who are speaking up?
Why isn’t anyone in Southern Baptist leadership willing to take a stand and say how wrong it is to allow Gilyard in the pulpit?
Why isn’t anyone in Southern Baptist leadership willing to take a stand on behalf of the 44 known wounded women and girls? Aren’t 44 enough?
How many does it take?
Paige Patterson is currently the president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, setting an example for a whole new generation of Baptist pastors.
100s of sexually explicit text messages: News4Jax with video >
Florida Times-Union >
"Gilyard...preaching & teaching at another church." CBS 47>
Molestation charge: CBS47 & News4Jax
Darrell Gilyard's former counselor speaks out in video
The Dallas Morning News reveals what former SBC president Paige Patterson knew about Darrell Gilyard years ago.
Paternity suit >
EthicsDaily – here & here & here & here & here
Jacksonville church was aware, insurer claims
Woman settles lawsuit against Jacksonville pastor & church
Gilyard admits to fathering child of congregant> - and more in ABPNews >
Embattled Jacksonville pastor did father child in woman's case >
Gilyard finally pleads guilty:
Former rising star preacher pleads guilty to molestation, Associated Baptist Press, 5/21/09
Former Shiloh pastor pleads guilty to molesting teen, FirstCoastNews, 5/21/09
Ex-pastor pleads guilty to sex charges, News4Jax, 5/21/09 (with video)
Former Jacksonville pastor pleads guilty, will get 3 years, Florida Times-Union, 5/21/09
Gilyard goes to prison:
Jacksonville pastor begins prison sentence, Florida Times-Union, 6/11/09 ("He was mentored by the Rev. Jerry Vines, then pastor of Jacksonville’s First Baptist Church, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson. Both are former Southern Baptist Convention presidents.")
Ex-pastor sentenced on sex charges, News4Jax, 6/11/09 (with video)
Former pastor Gilyard gets three years in prison, FirstCoastNews, 6/11/09 (with video)
Gilyard is released from prison:
Former Jacksonville pastor now a registered sex offender, Florida Times-Union, 1/3/12
Clergy sex offender released from prison, ABP, 1/4/12
Gilyard hasn't ruled out starting new church, ABP, 1/6/12