Allegations of Cedarville University professor’s ‘sin’ lead to firing, call for president’s resignation

Cedarville University entrance.
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Cedarville University entrance.

An online petition drive seeks to oust Thomas White, president of Cedarville University, for his handling of an employee who is accused of videotaping another man in a shower at a previous church he worked at.

A group calling itself JusticeCollective posted the petition.

“We are an organization composed of Cedarville University alumni, professors, staff members, and former employees who insist that Dr. Thomas White be immediately terminated as president of the university,” according to a statement posted with the move.org petition drive.

Mark Weinstein, executive director of public relations for the university. declined to respond to questions on the petition drive and the incident. Weinstein said White, the university’s president since 2013, was working Monday.

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In an April 24 blog post on his website titled 'My Journey with James 5:19, a Gospel of Grace, and Anthony Moore,' White described events surrounding Moore's employment. This included Moore's hiring in 2017 as part of a five-year "plan of restoration" after he was fired from a ministry in Texas on an unnamed "sin," as well as Moore's conditional employment at the university, and finally, his firing.

Moore “my friend, former student, and former employee,” according to White’s statement, was teaching in the Biblical and Ministry Studies Department at Cedarville.

Moore also was assistant coach of the men’s basketball team and worked as a “Multicultural Recruiter” and “Biblical Research Fellow” since coming to Cedarville in 2o17.

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Moore was hired in 2017 after being fired by the Village Church in Fort Worth for videotaping the man in a shower at least five times over five months, according to White’s statement.

White’s statement reads:

“In the summer of 2017, I was told and believed an incomplete narrative about Anthony Moore’s sin and termination from the Village Church. I documented and received recommendations for the restoration plan we were considering, but the full story was not yet fully known or shared, even by those close to the situation.

“Working with the knowledge we had received in good faith and my own personal desire to model James 5:19 and a Gospel of grace, we moved forward cautiously with a five-year plan for restoration at Cedarville University. We put extensive safeguards in place, and we communicated clearly to our faculty and staff.

“On April 22, 2020, I learned that I did not have all the information about the original incident. Instead of at most two videos, I heard there were at least five videos. Instead of this being over a short period of time, I heard that these were taken over a period of at least five months. I also heard details of an unhealthy friendship. I confirmed that the two people who counseled with Anthony at Cedarville did not know this information either. If I had known these items at the beginning, I would not have attempted the plan for restoration. After verifying this new information with the victim, I took the action that I had to take and ended Anthony Moore’s employment at Cedarville University on April 23”.

In his statement, White also indicated he contacted the university’s Board of Trustees and Jason Lee, dean of the School of Biblical and Theological Studies at Cedarville, about his five-year restoration plan before bringing Moore to the university. He also explained how he briefed staff when Moore came to work.

“Every year that I have been at Cedarville, we have lost at least one employee due to a moral failure,” White wrote that he told the staff. “As you heard me preach last year from the end of the book of James, our desire is to rescue those who may be starting to wander.”

Moore’s restoration came with restrictions and accountability, according to White.

“As we approach 40 months since the first phone call, we continued to have agreed-upon boundaries, both for Anthony’s protection and to avoid the appearance of putting any Cedarville student at risk. Anthony has continued to do everything asked of him during his time at Cedarville and no new incidents have arisen to my knowledge.

“The safeguards include:

•Anthony will not use the locker rooms at the University. If basketball business should take him into any locker room area, then he will be accompanied by coaches who know his story.

•Anthony will not meet with students alone in a private setting. He will meet with them in public settings or in groups.”

After Moore was fired this month, White said: “This is not the ending that I had hoped to write. I am devastated personally.”

Reached by the Dayton Daily News, Moore did not comment for this story.

White said there are no other plans for restoration like this on campus.

“Even though no incidents were reported by students, I’m recommending to the Board of Trustees that we hire an outside, independent agency to confirm that nothing inappropriate occurred on our campus, with that report to go directly back to the Board of Trustees,” White said in a statement.

White also said he and other university leaders would be attending victim prevention awareness and advocacy training.

The statement accompanying the petition seeking White’s firing accuses him of manipulating staff and keeping them from knowing more about Moore’s past.

“Therefore, despite feeling quite uncomfortable about the decision, CU faculty and staff had no say in the matter and no knowledge of Moore’s history of abuse and voyeurism.”

On the petition calling for president’s removal, the organizers sharply criticize White’s decision to hire Moore after learning about his behavior, calling it “naïve and illogical,” and criticized the president for not telling parents or students about Moore’s past.

“That was an unconscionable act on Dr. White’s part,” they said. “He placed (an) old friend above the safety and security of the faculty, staff, and students at Cedarville University and took away every CU parent’s right to protect their children.”

The organizers also accuse White of not telling faculty and staff about the details of Moore’s “sin,” and forbidding them to ask about it or conduct research on Moore.

At time of writing, the petition had more than 970 signatures.

Thomas White, president of Cedarville University | STEWART / STAFF
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Thomas White, president of Cedarville University | STEWART / STAFF

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

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