Since the plea bargain I have received so many emails from caring people from my past, people that also watched Darrell Gilyard preach back in the late 80's early 90's and revered him. Most of these people knew of my situation with him and also of the scandal that that all became public once his past was fully seen. But there are still many that simply did not know and are now shocked. They wondered what happened to him, why he wasn't a regular at First Baptist any longer, but assumed he just moved on. There have been pictures of our church youth group tour days posted on the popular "facebook" site, in many of these Darrell is sitting in a pew with his arms around teen girls and no one thought much of it. They have held onto the pictures and just see the memories of being with this "famous pastor" and of the fun we had as a huge group of kids that love the Lord and were on the road telling people about Jesus. No one really saw any red flags, atleast not any that they mentioned. Why, you may ask? Because he was presented to us as a Pastor/Evangelist that we were very blessed to have the honor of touring with, and because we should have been able to trust him. Because people just don't think to be careful of a Pastor, to be weary of "innappropriate behavior". I am sure at that time if anyone had a "complaint" it would have been scrutinized and maybe even blamed as "overactive teen imagination". After all, this is the "great Darrell Gilyard", a famous southern Baptist Preacher. Many were fooled, epecially his victims.
But, he wasn't safe, as I along with many others found out. This post is to make us really think about what to do next time, not that anything big will necessarily change, but maybe someone will be more wary if they feel things are not "feeling right". You see, he had a past, a long history of sexual problems and it was all dismissed. Look at the situation today, really look at it and see that a great injustice was done and know that it will probably happen again. The reality is we have to face the facts that there will be more situations where people feel it is best to "cover up" these sins and "forgive" and no real action will be taken. This is a sad reality, but it is evident - especially as you read again the details of this long road and how long it took to get this criminal sentence and his admission of guilt by his plea bargain.
It has been a true "trail of tears" and devastation. Pastor Wade Burleson did the best job of creating and posting a timeline based on the facts. This was posted on his blog last year, I have asked his permisssion to post it again here. It is baffling to me upon reading it again, what in the world does it really take to get the churches attention? How many cries for help are really needed? How many witnesses? How much "grace and forgiveness" is extended to the abuser by being sensitive to his position, but yet the "victims" are trampled, humiliated and left alone to deal with it, most of the time placed in absolute shame by the ones they went to for help. What a shame.
My personal note: In addition to all of the information below from the past, we now know that he has fathered children (atleast 3 confirmed); he has solicited sex through text messages to teens (part of the plea was that he asked for those charges to be dropped); he has molested teens in his office during "counseling"; he has had many relationships with women, single and married (while he was married); there have been payoff's, silence being the condition; people that have also had their credibility ruined after trying to report alleged rape or other sexual misconduct - the list goes on. I kept an actual notebook as the information poured in listing the proof against him. It could have all been avoided years ago, by the actions of many along the way.
Wake up call, what does it really take?
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
The Sordid and Strange Darrell Gilyard Story and What It Reveals About the SBC ,The Florida Times Union reports that Darrell Gilyard, a former Southern Baptist pastor, will appear in Florida court this month to defend himself on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct against a fourteen year old girl. Gilyard, who resigned January 4, 2008 as pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida after his arrest, is an interesting case study regarding the old, but sad axiom in the Southern Baptist Convention - "It's not who you are, but who you know that gets you places." Though one cannot be sure of the motives of those involved in the following story, it seems that there is an air of "us vs. them" mentality in some SBC leadership circles that leads to cover ups and excuses for inexcusable conduct among SBC ministers.
Darrell Gilyard burst on the SBC scene when he preached at the 1989 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors' Conference at the instigation of Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines. Gilyard related to SBC pastors how he had grown up as a homeless teenager, living under a bridge in Jacksonville, Florida, only to be miraculously converted and called to preach. He expressed gratefulness to both Vines and Patterson as he articulated the need for young, conservative gospel preachers to follow the leaders of the conservative resurgence. His message received a standing ovation at the SBC Pastor's Conference, and a star had been born in SBC circles. Jerry Vines had "discovered" Gilyard in Jacksonville, and Paige Patterson had discipled Gilyard as the young preacher attended Criswell College in the mid-1980's.
Gilyard would later repeat this "homeless" story on Jerry Falwell's Old Time Gospel Hour television broadcast, only to have his adoptive mother, Barbara Davis of Palatka, Florida, tell the media afterwards that she had raised Darrell from age 5 to 19 in middle income comfort, and that his story of living homeless under a bridge was a lie. Unfortunately, lying was the least of the problems of this young man who was fast becoming a rising star among Southern Baptists. While Gilyard was at Criswell, a long litany of sexual allegations against Gilyard came to the surface. It was during this time that Gilyard, with the encouragemnt and recommendation of Paige Patterson, became a staff member at Concord Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas. What happened next is unconscionable.
Predatorial Behavior Explained Away
According to The Dallas Morning News, Concord's Senior Pastor, E.K. Bailey said a dark side of Mr. Gilyard began to emerge while "ministering" at Concord. Rumors began to fly that the associate pastor was making advances on women in the church. In 1987, within two years after his hiring at Concord, Mr. Gilyard was fired in front of 1,500 members of Concord Baptist for having had inappropriate sexual relationships with at least, according to Pastor Baily, twenty five women members of the church.
Mr. Bailey said officials from First Baptist, Dallas, Texas, the church that sponsors Criswell College, attended the open service during which Mr. Gilyard was fired. Though Criswell College and FBC Dallas representatives were present at the Concord service where Gilard was fired, Patterson later decided there was not enough "evidence" to further investigate Mr. Gilyard or discipline him in terms of Criswell College or Gilyard's ministry among SBC churches. Gilyard was promoted among SBC churches by Patterson, Vines and other conservative leaders. In fact, according to Pastor Bailey, "Paige Patterson wrote me an unkind letter over the whole ordeal (Gilyard's firing). He basically told me that he would have come out to my church and solved the problem for me if I had told him first." Notice, according to the letter, the problem was not the young ladies being victimized. The problem was not the sexual impropriety of Mr. Gilyard. The "problem" was the public firing. It never would have happened if Patterson had been involved.
Pastor Bailey, now deceased, said First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas and specifically Paige Patterson, continued to promote Mr. Gilyard throughout the predominantly white Southern Baptist churches. "You saw his star rising and rising," said Pastor Bailey, "and you knew what kind of a person he was." Pastor Bailey's comment illumines the theme of this post: "It is not 'who' you are, but 'who' you know that matters in the SBC."
Let me illustrate. After Gilyard's termination at Concord in 1987, he had little trouble gaining employment as assistant pastor for Hilltop Baptist Church in Norman, Oklahoma. Hilltop is a Southern Baptist Church and Senior Pastor Dan Maxwell hired Gilyard in 1988, less than a year after Gilyard was terminated at Concord. Maxwell had previously hosted a series of "conservative resurgence" pastors' meetings at his church at Hilltop, with Paige Patterson as the guest speaker. A former staff member at Hilltop, who would later serve with us at Emmanuel, told me that Pastor Maxwell hired Gilyard in 1988 at the sole urging and recommendation of Paige Patterson. Patterson told Maxwell to hire Gilyard, in spite of the allegations in Dallas, because the women in Dallas could not be believed. This squares with what Pastor Maxwell would later recount to The Dallas Morning News when he explained why he had hired Gilyard. "Paige Patterson said he had been out there (to Concord Missionary Baptist) and talked to the women and there had been nothing to the allegations. He (Patterson) could not substantiate them." However, less than a year after Gilyard arrived at Hilltop, allegations of sexual misconduct against Gilyard surfaced at that Southern Baptist church as well. Two women told Pastor Dan Maxwell that Mr. Gilyard had made sexual advances toward them, and a third woman confessed to having an affair with Mr. Gilyard.
Pastor Maxwell says he took this information of Gilyard's misconduct to Dr. Patterson. Dr. Patterson called and spoke personally to the woman who said she had an affair with Mr. Gilyard. After Patterson spoke to the woman, he told Pastor Maxwell that he did not believe the woman's story. "That individual's story changed many times," Dr. Patterson later explained to a reporter of The Dallas Morning News. "That bothered me," he said.
What is disturbing to me is the fact that Patterson is "bothered" by the womans story and not by the fact Gilyard is once again accused of sexual impropriety; particularly since Patterson already knew of Gilyard's 1987 sexual misconduct at Concord Baptist Church. Patterson was "bothered" by the woman's story at Hilltop, but NOT by Gilyard's alleged sexual misbehavior at Hilltop? Gilyard was terminated from Hilltop in early 1989 by Pastor Maxwell, and the friendship between Maxwell and Patterson, according to a staff member at Hilltop at the time, was terminally breached.
Back in Dallas in 1990
After being released from Hilltop in 1989, Mr. Gilyard made his way back to Dallas, Texas, and with the assistance of Patterson, Gilyard become the associate pastor at Shiloh Baptist in Garland, Texas. Before long, sexual misconduct allegations surfaced at Shiloh against Gilyard. Once again, Dr. Patterson intervened on behalf of his disciple. In 1990 Dr. Patterson met with two women who represented friends who, they said, were involved with Mr. Gilyard. Don Simpkins, a pastoral counselor, also attended. Mr. Simpkins said Dr. Patterson asked him to counsel Mr. Gilyard once a week. "I was supposed to "polish the rough edges," said Mr. Simpkins. Mr. Simpkins said that after a few visits with Mr. Gilyard, he suspected some "personality disorders' and wanted to test Mr. Gilyard . "He refused," Mr. Simpkins told the Dallas Morning News, "so I called Paige to let him know it wasn't going well, but he never returned any of my calls."
Gilyard was fired from Shiloh Baptist Church in 1990, only to wind up as pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Richardson, Texas a few months later. In July of 1991, reports of sexual improprieties by Pastor Gilyard at Victory Baptist (his fourth church in four years), burst into the public realm. The allegations by the women at Victory Baptist Church who claimed to be his victims are so bizarre that I will post them verbatim from the July 14, 1991 Dallas Morning News article that made them public:
"When it came to women (Gilyard) would not allow them to usher, serve on the finance committee, teach men or take classes with them.But outside the church, according to the women who claim to have been victimized by him, Mr. Gilyard spent most of his time with women. Those who talked with The Dallas Morning News about their experiences asked to remain anonymous . . . A woman joined Victory Baptist shortly after she moved to Dallas last year. Mr. Gilyard offered her a job at the church. "He called about 10 o'clock one night and said he wanted to talk about my work," she recalled. "We talked for a while like that, then the conversation shifted and he started getting real personal. He wanted to know what attracted me to him. I should have hung up, but I felt flattered.' She said the phone call became more sexually explicit until finally she hung up. I felt dirty and sick afterward," she said.She said she told Darrell DeBoard, the administrator at Victory Baptist, two or three days later. The woman said she also quit her job at the church and moved out of town that weekend.Mr. DeBoard declined to discuss the incident, saying he could not violate a confidence . . . Martha Dixius, a social worker who taught Sunday school at Victory Baptist, said a woman in the congregation approached her in November for help. The woman, said Ms. Dixius, had "a trust level of a 7-year-old. She is very naive.' In a counseling session, Ms. Dixius said, the woman told her that Mr. Gilyard had noted her visitor's card and phoned her the next day with an offer to show her through the church. During the tour, he asked her questions a bout her personal life.The next evening about 6 p.m., the woman told Ms. Dixius, Mr. Gilyard drove to her apartment and called her from his car phone. "She let him in her apartment because he told her he wanted to talk about some of the problems they had discussed the night before,' Ms. Dixius said. "She told me that by 6:30, she was raped." The woman told her she was too confused and frightened to call police. The woman told Ms. Dixius that Mr. Gilyard continued to go to her apartment for six months and have sex with her. "He would - call her from the car phone and say, "I'm coming up, let me in,' and she would be too frightened to say no.' After counseling the woman for four months, Ms. Dixius referred her to another counselor. The two counselors met with the woman and Darrell DeBoard, administrator of Victory Baptist. "The word "rape' was used a lot," Mr. DeBoard recalled, "but I understood that to be emotional rape. She was graphic with details, so it was hard not to believe that something had happened."
It was only during the time that the Dallas Morning News made the above allegations against Gilyard public that Paige Patterson ended his support of Gilyard. Gilyard had been fired from FOUR churches in FOUR years for allegations of sexual misconduct from dozens and dozens of women. Patterson knew of the sexual misconduct allegations against Gilyard at Concord Baptist Church in 1987. He knew about the sexual allegations against Gilyard at Hilltop Baptist Church in 1988. Gilyard preached at the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors' Conference in 1989 after being introduced to Conference leaders by Patterson and Vines. Patterson knew about the sexual misconduct allegations against Gilyard at Shiloh Baptist Church in 1990. Patterson knew about the sexual misconduct allegations against Gilyard at Victory Baptist Church in 1991.
Again, The Dallas Morning News made public the sexual misconduct allegations against Gilyard on July 14, 1991, at least six years after initial accounts of Gilyard's sexual improprieties surfaced at Criswell. Since that day in 1991 Patterson says he has had nothing to do with Darrell Gilyard.
Gilyard left Dallas in late 1991 and went to Florida where he eventually became pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville in 1993. The state of Florida is now seeking to prosecute Gilyard for "lewd and lascivious conduct" against a fourteen year old girl while serving as pastor at Shiloh in Florida. The sordid and strange Darrell Gilyard story has yet to end, but there are some lessons we can learn from it in the SBC.
(1). Information is power - to either check or correct poor leadership.
One wonders if glowing recommendations regarding Darrell Gilyard and his "ministry" would have continued from SBC leadership, in spite of their knowledge of allegations of sexual impropriety against Gilyard, had it not been for the public revelations of the Dallas Morning News in 1991. Thank God for a free, independent press. In addition, we thank the Lord for those women who have been victimized by Gilyard but are now making their voices heard in order to prevent other predatory behavior. Tiffany Croft, a young lady who became a victim of Gilyard's immoral conduct, wrote to me this past year expressing her desire to stop Gilyard from victimizing other women and girls. Croft eventually started a blog of her own called Let's Stop Darrell Gilyard Together". She is proof that every voice counts. She has made a difference.
(2). Southern Baptist churches would do well to remember that the qualifications for effective pastoral leadership are measured by the words and testimonies of those church members who have been recipients of a pastor's love and ministry - not professional endorsers.
In other words, though it is often not "who you are, but who you know" that gets you places in the SBC, a wise church will discount the big names on a resume and do due diligence with those people who have experienced the ministry of a pastor over the course of years. Likewise, big name denominational leaders may say negative things about people they do not like, but the "proof" of effective pastoral leadership is in the people being led.
(3). It is a shame when those outside the SBC must call our leaders to account for their actions because we Southern Baptists are too fearful to hold our own leaders accountable.
The Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) called on the trustees of Southwestern Theological Seminary to remove President Paige Patterson for protecting Darrell Gilyard from being held accountable for his sexual misconduct in the 1980's and 1990's. SNAP believes victimized women and girls could have been protected from the predatory behavior of Gilyard had Southern Baptist leaders, particularly former SBC Presidents Vines and Patterson, held him accountable when they first were informed of his behavior. On January 9, 2008, President Paige Patterson officially responded to SNAP's request that Patterson be removed:
"Christa Brown and the SNAP organization have alleged that years ago, and even in the present, I have protected Darrell Gilyard, most recently the Pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, when he was involved in sexual misconduct. These snap judgments by Brown and others are misinformed and inaccurate. "
Patterson goes on to write about how he "moderated" the 1991 meeting where Gilyard was terminated from Shiloh Baptist Church in Dallas, but . . .
(a). He does not answer why in 1987 he rebuked Pastor E.K. Baily for terminating Gilyard from Concord Baptist Church after "twenty-five" women accused Gilyard of sexual misconduct.
(b). He does not answer why he recommended Gilyard to Hilltop Baptist Church in 1988 AFTER knowing the charges against Gilyard at Concord.
(c). He does not answer why he arranged for Gilyard to speak at the SBC Pastors Conference AFTER he knew of the sexual misconduct allegations at BOTH Concord Baptist and Hilltop Baptist churches.
(d). He does not answer why he refused to "believe" the stories of the women who claimed to be having sexual relationships with Pastor Gilyard; that is, not until The Dallas Morning news reported the stories of these women publicly.
(e). He does not answer why he arranged for a "pastoral counselor" to work on "the rough edges" of Darrell Gilyard in 1990 after Gilyard had been terminated from his THIRD church in THREE years (Shiloh Baptist, Dallas, Texas) for sexual misconduct instead of working to remove Gilyard from all pastoral ministry.
Why Bring All This Up Again Now?
Southern Baptists have proven we do not like to air our dirty laundry. When things become known to the outside world, we attack the messenger, rather than deal with the problem. We must change our approach. Southern Baptists must stand up and speak out, rather than mock or ridicule those who do.
According to the blog Abuse and Christianity, Darrell Gilyard has been back in the pulpit of a Southern Baptist affiliated church while he awaits his trial in Florida. Rather than act as if Southern Baptists would never ignore sexual predators in the pulpit, rather than mock and ridicule those who expose our lack of moral judgment, we should learn from our history so that Southern Baptist churches and pastors will not be tempted to repeat it.We must understand that if we don't clean up our own house, nobody else will.
In His Grace,Wade