Pastor Jayson Rowe
(Photo : Linkedin) Pastor Jayson Rowe

Jayson Rowe, a 40 year old North Carolina Pastor of Conway Baptist Church died by apparent suicide on June 2.

According to the Conway Police Department, law enforcement officers were in the process of investigating an allegation of criminal sexual misconduct against Rowe when they received a call about his death.

Tom Collins, the church deacon board chairman shared with Baptist Press on June 8 that a 17-year-old male church member brought a credible allegation of sexual abuse against Rowe.

Collins expressed concern for the church family in a statement, "The victim was a church member and obviously we're concerned and focused on the victim and the family." 

There is currently no information of physical abuse but "it was sexual abuse by the defection, so it's something we take very seriously, obviously," added Collins.

Conway Baptist church is planning to make counseling available to church members and to provide a full report to the church body at the completion of the investigation.

Danny Akin, the president of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) where Rowe was a former staff member and student at, informed more than 800 current and former students about the allegation against Rowe.

Akin shared, "We were grieved and appalled upon learning of this sexual abuse, but I want to be clear: we will do anything in our power to assist sexual abuse victims. 

Rowe also lived on campus at SEBTS for five years and Akin encouraged current and former students to report any alleged inappropriate behavior.

"Our commitment is to stand with victims not only in our prayers and also in our actions. We are taking every necessary step at this time to ensure the protection of those in our community," said Akin.

Rowe falsely reported in 2013 that a black male with a knife carjacked and forced him to withdraw money from a bank. Rowe was arrested after his false report being determined as a consensual encounter and unrelated to any violent activity. Rowe was bailed out and when he was hired by the church, the church was aware of the past arrest. 

"We were satisfied that it was an isolated event that had occurred in this past. We saw no other red flags in our review of his records," Collins explained their decision to hire Rowe despite his arrest record.