The former church leader shed more light into his denial of the sexual abuse allagations thrown at him in an explosive Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) report.
In May, a bombshell report on the SBC's leaders' mishandling of sexual abuse allegations and cases within the U.S.' largest Protestant denomination made headlines. With it was a "credible allegation of sexual assault" against former SBC president Johnny Hunt, which came after a month after his term ended in 2010.
According to the Tennessean, the nearly 300-page document detailed how SBC church leaders upheld a culture in which they were "hostile to survivors" of sexual abuse. Meanwhile Hunt, who is the former Senior Vice President of Evangelism and Leadership of SBC's North American Mission Board (NAMB), denied allegations that he sexually abused a pastor's wife in 2010.
Pastor Johnny Hunt Releases Video Message and Letter Defending Himself from Allegations
On Friday, Pastor Hunt took to Facebook to share a video of himself addressing the First Baptist Woodstock Church (FBW) about Guidepost Report's sexual abuse allegations. According to Church Leaders, Pastor Hunt had "thoughtfully written" a letter and urged his followers to "read every word and listen carefully" to know "more of the facts." He added that he wished to "hopefully show you my heart" and "ask for your forgiveness."
Pastor Hunt in the letter expressed his shock at the Guidepost Report's revelations, which named him a sexual abuser. The former SBC church leader said, "I vigorously deny the circumstances and characterizations set forth in the Guidepost report. I have never abused anybody."
However, Pastor Hunt offered more context on the sexual abuse allegations against him. In the statement, he explained how after leaving his role as SBC president and after battling cancer, he experienced a "season of deep despair and probably clinical depression." It was then when he "allowed" himself to "get too close to a compromising situation" with a woman who was not his wife. The former pastor said he was invited by the woman to her condominium and that, "Against my better judgment-I chose to go."
Guidepost Report's sexual abuse allegations claimed that Pastor Hunt had groomed and sexually assaulted the woman, who looked up to him as a mentor. But according to the former pastor, the encounter was "brief, but improper" because he immediately "fled the situation" when he felt an overwhelming conviction.
"I remember saying just before leaving the condo, 'this is not right. I have no business being here," Pastor Hunt clarified. "I love my wife.' I have never been in a room again privately with the woman involved."
Finally, Pastor Hunt reiterated, "It was an awful sin but it was a consensual encounter. It was not abuse nor was it assault."
First Baptist Church of Woodstock Releases Statement About Johnny Hunt Sexual Abuse Allegations
Pastor Jeremy Morton of First Baptist Church of Woodstock on Sunday addressed the Guidepost Report's sexual abuse allegations against Pastor Hunt, admitting that it was a difficult to read the findings without getting "physically sick, or angry, or disturbed, or confused," 11 Alive reported. The pastor added that both Pastor Hunt and the woman "acknowledged" an incident that happened in 2010 and that while he wished things would have "transpired differently" back then, no one could have gone back and changed things.
Pastor Morton instead urged people to "show love and respect" to those who "feel differently" when processing "a very confusing and difficult matter."
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