After an allegation of sexual assault against a young pastor's wife several years ago, and following a recent investigation, former Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny M. Hunt has been suspended as the pastor emeritus at First Baptist Church Woodstock in Georgia.
Hunt, 69, had served as a pastor at the church for more than 30 years. Under Hunt's leadership, the church grew from 1,000 to 19,000 members, according to the website Church Leaders.
In a letter posted to the First Baptist Church Woodstock's website on June 2, Lead Pastor Jeremy Morton and other members of the church's leadership team said, "We have recommended to our former pastor, Johnny Hunt, a clear process of counseling, accountability, and restoration. We also believe it is in the best interest of FBCW to suspend his role as Pastor Emeritus."
"While we are forever grateful for the supernatural work of God over the last 30+ years at FBCW, we believe this decision aligns with our biblical theology as a church regarding spiritual leaders being above reproach (1 Tim. 3:2)," the letter continued.
Hunt was suspended following the May 22 release of the 288-page report by Guidepost Solutions, an independent firm contracted by the SBC Executive Committee that was authorized at the denomination's annual meeting last year.
As CBN News reported, the report found that committee members ignored reports of abuse, discouraged investigations, and did not share allegations with trustees.
It also said there is no evidence that pastors accused of abuse were removed from their positions.
In their report, Guidepost Solutions investigators found the allegation against Hunt was "credible."
According to the report, an unidentified woman who was a pastor's wife described a non-consensual sexual encounter with Hunt during an extended sabbatical that took place at Panama City Beach in 2010. He had held the position of SBC president from 2008 to 2010.
In the report, Hunt denied having any physical contact with his accuser but later released a statement to First Baptist Woodstock Church admitting to having an inappropriate encounter with the pastor's wife. Nevertheless, he said, "It was not abuse nor was it assault," according to the website Church Leaders.
The website reported Hunt resigned as SBC's North American Mission Board's (NAMB) Senior Vice President of Evangelism and Leadership on the same day Guidepost's report was released by the Sexual Abuse Task Force.
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