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Former Baptist leader indicted for sexual assault

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) — A former International Mission Board missionary and South Carolina Baptist Convention associate executive director was indicted Dec. 18 in Texas for alleged sexual assault of a minor 21 years ago.

Mark Aderholt, 47, was arrested in July in South Carolina under a warrant issued in Tarrant County, Texas, and has been out of jail on bond since his arrest. The indictment by a Tarrant County grand jury includes four counts of sexual assault of a child under 17.

Baptist Press reported previously that Aderholt has been accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old while he was a 25-year-old student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

Though the accuser’s name is redacted from a copy of the indictment obtained by BP, author and speaker Anne Marie Miller has identified herself online and in media reports as Aderholt’s accuser. Miller told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram she is “glad that truth is being heard and justice is being served.”

Aderholt’s indictment came the week after newly-elected IMB President Paul Chitwood promised to continue an independent study of the board’s handling of past allegations of abuse and harassment.

Additionally, Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear is conducting an ongoing Sexual Abuse Advisory Study in partnership with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, with plans to report to the convention at its June 2019 annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala.