Several major donors of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary wrote a letter to its board of trustees last week rebuking them for firing former President Paige Patterson.
The board unanimously dismissed Patterson from his position on May 30, claiming that he mishandled sexual abuse allegations while he was president at another institution more than a decade ago.
However, the donors say the board of trustees acted in an "illegal manner" by not following due process and giving Paige an independent investigation.
"All told, there is no justification for the Southwestern Executive Committee's failure to undertake an exhaustive investigation, including but not limited to extensive discussions with Dr. Patterson, in an effort to determine the truth of the events that allegedly occurred more than 15 years ago at another institution, before acting as irresponsibly as it did on May 30, 2018," the donors wrote in a letter.
When the board fired Patterson in May, they released a statement saying they received new information about his alleged misconduct that "demanded immediate action," which is why they did not call a regular meeting.
But the donors claim that Patterson and his counsel were repeatedly denied access to that information and they were never notified that the board was deliberating over his eventual dismissal.
The decision also came after an audio recording surfaced in which Patterson recounted advising a woman to stay in her physically abusive marriage. Another comment was made public in which he remarked on a teenage girl's body.
As The Washington Post has reported, Patterson apologized for the comments about the teenager but did not apologize for his comments about abuse.
The donors threaten to withhold all financial support unless the board rights its "serious" wrongs by reinstating him as president or launching an investigation.
"Dr. and Mrs. Patterson continue to have our absolute and unwavering support," the letter states. "You have clearly failed to produce any convincing documentation for so drastic an action, against so significant an individual, in so sudden and short a period of time."
CBN News has reached out to the Board of Trustees for a response and has yet to hear back.