Former Southern Baptist leader accused of sexual assault




Johnny Hunt, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and well-known Georgia preacher, has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman months after his presidential tenure ended in 2010.

Requested by SBC church delegates last summer and made public on Sunday, the independent investigation found denominational leaders downplayed years of warnings about sex abuses from survivors and ignored expert advice on policies to protect children, among other shortcomings by SBC executive committee members.

Hunt is accused of entering the condo of the woman, who he knew and was staying next door to Hunt while on vacation in Panama City Beach in July 2010. The woman, who is more than two decades younger than Hunt, was home alone. She told Guidepost that, after prodding her with inappropriate questions such as if she was “wild growing up,” before pinning her down, groping her and pulling at her clothes.

Shocked and scared, the woman then told Hunt she didn’t want Hunt’s ministry to be ruined, after which Hunt “forced himself on her again by groping her, trying to pull her shirt down, and violently kissing her,” according to the Guidepost report. “(The woman) did not reciprocate, but rather stood eyes open and very stiff, hoping he would just stop and leave. He finally stopped and left.”

Hunt later texted her to come outside of her condo, then stated that he “would like to have sex with her three times a day,” Guidepost said.

Days later, the woman and her husband, a pastor of 25 years who had worked with Hunt, were called to a meeting during which Hunt said he had kissed her, touched her breasts over clothing, and tried to pull her shorts down, but that it was consensual, Guidepost wrote.

Hunt then told her husband “thank God I didn’t consummate the relationship,” according to the husband. Hunt denied this and most of the woman’s account in interviews with Guidepost.

Hunt has denied the allegations both to Guidepost investigators and after the firm released their report on Sunday, saying that he had not read it but that he has “never abused anybody.” He resigned this weekend from the North American Mission Board, the SBC’s massive domestic evangelism wing.

Still confused and traumatized, the couple accepted Hunt’s referral to a counseling minister at the church. Guidepost found the man was not actually licensed, despite also running a counseling network.

Among other things that the couple describes as emotional manipulation and spiritual abuse, the counseling minister and Hunt allegedly told them not to talk about the incident because it could damage the SBC’s reputation, Guidepost wrote.



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