News Articles

Patterson, SWBTS removed from Rollins abuse case

Editor’s note: This story was updated on March 4, 2024, to clarify information regarding Paige Patterson’s removal from the lawsuit in question. Baptist Press removed Patterson’s name from the first paragraph and added a new second paragraph.

HOUSTON (BP) – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has been dismissed from the abuse related case involving Paul Pressler. SWBTS reportedly reached a settlement with Gareld Duane Rollins.

Former SWBTS president and fellow architect of the SBC’s Conservative Resurgence Paige Patterson was “non-suited” in the case, meaning Rollins voluntarily removed him from the suit in April 2023.

Pressler, a former SBC Executive Committee member, former SBC first vice president (2002 and 2003) and former Texas legislator and judge, is being sued by Gareld Duane Rollins. In the suit originally filed in October 2017, Rollins alleges Pressler raped him in 1980, when Rollins was 14 years old and attending a Bible study at Pressler’s church. According to the affidavit, Pressler continued to rape Rollins, “over the course of the next 24 years or so” as Rollins progressed into his 30s.

The case had been dismissed in 2018 on grounds that the statute of limitations had expired, but the Appellate Court ruled in 2021 that Rollins had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, thus modifying the statute of limitations for reporting the alleged abuse.

Rollins is seeking $1 million in damages.

The case also names Pressler’s wife, Nancy, Jared Woodfill, Woodfill Law Firm F/K/A Woodfill & Pressler, L.L.P., the Southern Baptist Convention and First Baptist Church of Houston as defendants.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

“Dr. Patterson is grateful that he has been removed from a suit that he should never have been included,” J. Shelby Sharpe, Patterson’s attorney, said in a statement The Tennessean. “No money was paid on Dr. Patterson’s behalf or by him to have him non-suited.”

SWBTS declined to comment.

The case is scheduled to go to trial on May 15.

    About the Author

  • BP Staff