A Presbyterian Church in America pastor who hit back against sexual harassment accusers with a defamation lawsuit will have to face the ecclesiastical high court.

The Presbyterian Church in America's highest court will tackle the case of one of its pastors who was accused of sexual harassment by several female churchgoers. Dan Herron, who founded the Hope Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, Indiana, hit back against his accusers with a defamation lawsuit. Now, he will face the denomination's highest court.

According to the Christian Post, Herron's case will be brought before the PCA Standing Judicial Commission, a church body made up of 12 ruling elders and 12 teaching elders. The trial comes after allegations were brought forth against the Central Indiana Presbytery, which allegedly mishandled the complaints.

Hearing Stipulations Outlined by PCA Standing Judicial Commission Chairman

On June 3, PCA Standing Judicial Commission Chairman Rev. Fred Greco sent a letter to Central Indiana Presbytery Stated Clerk Rev. Taylor Bradbury, outlining the stipulations for Herron's hearing. The stipulations said that the Presbyterian Church in America must "provide the prosecutor for the case" and that the SJC's Trial Arrangements Commission will be responsible for "considering arrangements for conducting the trial and report to the SJC at the earliest possible date."

The sexual harassment allegations against Herron data back to 2019, when five victims wrote a letter to the Presbyterian Church in America outlining their complaints against the pastor. In 2020, a commission that reviewed the allegations voted unanimously to issue a statement that said, they "[do] not believe that the accusations rise to the level of a chargeable offense."

Josh Holowell, the presbytery's ecclesiastical trial's prosecutor, wrote a letter in February this year, resigning from the case. He said that the reason for his resignation was "the inability of the Central Indiana Presbytery to render justice" and "own personal weariness from the constant opposition to the pursuit of justice and truth."

Holowell added that the church had "ignored" rules as stated in the Book of Church Order "to the benefit of the accused on multiple occasions." He also accused the Presbytery Church in America of having a "bias."

Also Read: Canadian Megachurch The Meeting House Reveals 38 Cases of Sexual Misconduct Among Four Pastors

Pastor Files Defamation Suit Against Sexual Harassment Accusers

In 2021, Herron fired back at his sexual harassment accusers by filing a lawsuit. Two women who accused him of sexual harassment were slapped wiht a defamation lawsuit, for which a jury trial is set to begin in April 2023. The Roys Report revealed that the Presbyterian Church in America initially punished Herron for raising the matter to the secular court system, but his punishment was eventually reversed.

Later, an "unprecedented number" of PCA presbyteries said that the Central Indiana Presbytery "botched the matter" because both Herron and his accusers had alleged flaws in the investigation.

Herron denied all allegations against him. Earlier this year, the Presbyterian Church in America pastor told The Good Men Project, "My identity has these themes of personal character threaded throughout: grit, steadfast endurance in the face of great obstacles, awareness of my weaknesses and mistakes, and movement forward to an expansive and successful leadership vision."

Related Article: #ChurchToo Movement Gaining Steam As More Abuses In the Church Gets Revealed