After 20 Years Former Baptist Leader Will Go to Jail

Photo Credits:  Shutterstock

A former top Southern Baptist missionary, Mark Aderholt, pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury in a case that his missionary organization knew about nearly 11 years before it was reported to police. In July 2018, Mark Aderholt was charged in Tarrant County, TX with sexual assault of a child under 17 and two counts of indecency with a child by contact in the assault of Anne Marie Miller, who went public with her story in July 2018.

Actually, 23 years ago, Anne Marie Miller was assaulted by then-25-year-old Mark Aderholt, who worked for the International Mission Board, the SBC’s missionary arm. She was 16 years old back in 1997 when Aderholt manipulated and sexually abused her.

In a statement, Anne Marie Miller said that nine years ago, she checked herself in to an inpatient counseling facility. She was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder because of what Mark Aderholt did to her.

The judge placed Aderholt on 24 months of deferred adjudication, a form of probation that will not leave a conviction on his record if he successfully completes the term. He was also ordered to spend 30 days in jail beginning Tuesday evening and to pay a $4,000 fine. He prohibited Aderholt from having any form of contact with Miller.

Aderholt, in a pinstriped suit and yellow tie, came to the bench and faced Miller as she read a statement. Flanked by her husband and mother, she spoke through tears as she described how he allegedly started sexual contact with her and broke her trust — in people and in God. This was the first time she had seen him face-to-face in 22 years.

“Your lies have no more power,” Miller said from the small, fifth-floor courtroom, staring at Aderholt. “This is the end, Mark.”

“What you did to me made me want to kill myself many times,” she said, her voice nearly a whisper, wiping her eyes with a tissue. “I even tried once a few years ago, but I couldn’t figure out how to work the gun.”

Miller also said that she wasn’t the only one Aderholt sexually abused: “I am not the only woman Mr. Aderholt has taken advantage of sexually. While these stories are not mine to tell, they are first-hand and disturbing. They have been authenticated by an independent party. The other women helped me write this and it was with their approval that I could share this in court.”

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