Tom Buck Releases Excerpts From Meeting With Southeastern Seminary Leaders, Counter Statement Regarding Draft Leak
Outspoken Southern Baptist pastor Tom Buck has aired his feelings about a statement released by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) regarding the leak of a draft article written by his wife, Jennifer .
In a statement released Friday, June 10, Buck indicated his intention to file a motion for a third-party investigation into the school at the SBC’s annual meeting next week.
The project, which Tom and Jennifer Buck say contains personal information relating to abuse Jennifer suffered before her marriage to Tom that she does not want made public, has been circulating for some time, with an anonymous person threatening to make it public by reprisals. for Tom Buck’s confrontation with former SBC presidential candidate Willy Rice over a leadership issue in Rice’s church.
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On Wednesday, June 8, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary released a statement regarding the matter, clearing faculty members from being involved in a plan to leverage the draft against the Bucks.
In 2018, when the draft was written, SEBTS Professor Karen Swallow Prior had begun providing editorial advice on the article. For personal reasons, Prior was unable to continue assisting the Bucks with the article shortly thereafter.
Sometime before April of this year, an anonymous person contacted SEBTS provost Keith Whitfield in an attempt to have Prior verify the authorship of a leaked copy of the draft, which Prior refused to do. Both Prior and Whitfield urged the anonymous person not to go public with the project.
SEBTS’ internal investigation involved an audit of email and phone records, as well as “extensive conversations with those involved”. Through this investigation, SEBTS determined that while “the series of events could have been handled better,” neither Prior nor Whitfield acted maliciously against Tom and Jennifer Buck.
In addition, an anonymous couple had contacted lawyer and abuse victim advocate Rachael Denhollander, who mediated between the Bucks and SEBTS, to confess that they were behind the reputational threats to Tom and Jennifer Buck.
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According to SEBTS, the pair “provided corroborating information to validate that they were the original cast and acted alone. They claimed that the individual they contacted at Southeastern, Keith Whitfield, informed them that the Dr Prior would not corroborate the article and that they had both urged them not to publish it.