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Former IMB trustee appealing federal conviction from jail

DALLAS (BP)–A former trustee of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board is in federal penitentiary while appealing an investments-related conviction for conspiracy to commit fraud, interstate transportation of money taken by fraud and wire fraud, according to an Aug. 6 copyrighted story by the Baptist Standard.

The former IMB trustee, Russell Kaemmerling, resigned from the board in a letter dated June 4, according to the Standard’s copyrighted story; Kaemmerling was elected to the board at the SBC annual meeting in June 2000 and was replaced on the board at the 2001 SBC annual meeting.

Kaemmerling’s wife is the sister of Dorothy Patterson, wife of Paige Patterson, former SBC president and current president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Kaemmerling’s wife also is the sister of Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Kaemmerling is a former editor of the Southern Baptist Advocate, a key periodical during the conservative resurgence within the SBC.

The Standard’s copyrighted story quotes a letter from Kaemmerling stating that no one other than his wife was aware of his legal circumstances until shortly before his sentencing hearing last November. Patterson was in Africa and not available for comment, the Standard reported; the journal did not note whether comment had been sought from Kelley.

The copyrighted story also quotes two members of the SBC Committee on Nominations as not having been aware of Kaemmerling’s legal circumstances when he was recommended to the SBC in 2000 for election to the IMB board. The two quoted by the Standard are the committee’s chairman that year, David Fannin, pastor of Nassau Bay Baptist Church in Houston, and Wichita Falls layman Bill Streich.

The copyrighted story quotes an IMB official, Wendy Norvelle, as saying the missions agency was not aware of Kaemmerling’s circumstances until his incarceration at a federal penitentiary in Beaumont, Texas, the last week of May.

The Standard story stated that seven men were involved in the alleged fraudulent activities for which Kaemmerling was convicted. The copyrighted story did not note the length of Kaemmerling’s sentence.

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