Aderholt pleads guilty in Texas sexual assault case

A former Southern Baptist missionary and South Carolina Baptist Convention employee has pled guilty to misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Mark Aderholt, former associate director and chief strategist for the SCBC, was arrested last July on charges in Tarrant County, Texas, of sexually assaulting a child under age 17 more than 20 years ago. Aderholt was a 25-year-old student attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary when the offense occurred.

SCBC Executive Director-Treasurer Gary Hollingsworth, following a warrant issued for Aderholt’s arrest, commented, “Our hearts are grieved, and our prayers are with everyone involved.”

Aderholt’s sentence carries with it 30 days in jail and 24 months of deferred adjudication, a form of probation that does not leave a conviction on his record if completed. He also was ordered to pay a $4,000 fine and prohibited from having any form of contact with the victim, the Chronicle reported.

Aderholt previously had served as a missionary with the International Mission Board from 2000 to 2008, and was based in Europe. In 2007, IMB officials reportedly were made aware of accusations against Aderholt, who resigned as a missionary in 2008, but law enforcement was not contacted. The IMB learned of official charges brought against him from a July 9, 2018, report in the Star Telegram and was cooperating with criminal investigations, an IMB spokesperson told The Baptist Courier at the time.

Two months after resigning as a missionary, Aderholt found a position on the staff of a Southern Baptist church, before eventually joining the SCBC staff. He resigned in mid-June shortly before the charges of sexual misconduct emerged.