The Cedarville University Board of Trustees on Friday reinstated President Thomas White and directed him to “complete courses on victim prevention and victim advocacy” and “lead Cedarville University to emphasize victim prevention, awareness, advocacy, and other related areas”.
The board decision was in conclusion of an investigation conducted while White was on on administrative leave. After the announcement two board members released statements saying they disagreed with the decision and were resigning from the board.
White was placed on leave by the board on May 1 amid adverse national attention and local pressure over how the university hired and then fired a friend of White’s who was accused of secretly videotaping a youth pastor at a church in Texas. White has led Cedarville for seven years.
Late Friday afternoon, the university released a resolution on the results of the investigation and steps they and White were taking in response.
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Cedarville hired the Husch Blackwell law firm to conduct an internal investigation “to make sure no inappropriate action took place on the Greene County campus or elsewhere with Cedarville students” and to audit the hiring of Anthony Moore, who was fired by White on April 23.
Husch Blackwell “found no evidence that Dr. Moore engaged in any conduct of a sexual nature on campus or with any University student or employee elsewhere,” according to the resolution. “There is no reason to question President White’s benevolent motivation with respect to the overall enterprise of hiring Dr. Moore.”
The board determined “it is reasonable to infer from the evidence available that President White took steps that he knew, or should have known, clouded the specific nature of Dr. Moore’s misconduct” and “subsequently failed to notify the Board of the specific nature of Dr. Moore’s misconduct.”
However White “has apologized for these mistakes, acknowledged his errors in judgment and oversight, and has expressed remorse” for hiring Moore and “took action when he learned the full extent of Dr. Moore’s past,” the resolution continued.
“During his administrative leave he has continued to express remorse for his mistakes and has voluntarily cooperated with the internal investigation.”
“The Board of Trustees of Cedarville University commits to moving forward with humility, grace, mercy, integrity, civility, and respect and prays that God will be honored by these actions,” the university board resolution concluded.
White hired Moore, his friend, in 2017, bringing him to the university as a “restoration project,” White said in a blog post. Moore had been fired from the Village Church in Fort Worth after he was accused of videotaping a youth pastor in a shower at least five times over five months, according White’s blog post.
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The Fort Worth area church where Moore was accused of secretly videotaping the youth pastor issued a statement saying Cedarville University was “thoroughly” informed about the allegations involving Moore.White then fired Moore on April 23 after learning more about the incident in Texas, he said in the blog post.
The Texas youth pastor told the Dayton Daily News that Moore concealed a cell phone to film him in the shower, and also accused him of verbal, non-contact sexual, spiritual and emotional abuse. The youth pastor also said he never spoke with White about the alleged abuse until recently.
The youth pastor filed a police report in Forth Worth, but didn’t follow through with investigators and the case was dropped.
Board member Daniel Akin, the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, posted on twitter late Friday that he had resigned over the board’s decision.
“… the events surrounding the hiring of Dr. Anthony Moore and the five year plan of his restoration was seriously flawed from the beginning and poorly implemented once he arrived at Cedarville,” Akin wrote. “I believe the outside, independent investigation by the law firm of Husch Blackwell confirmed this. Their report was extremely troubling to me.”
Board member Mark Vroegop, the pastor of College Park Church in Indianapolis, released a statement on his personal website that he was resigning from the university board because the steps that have been taken which allowed White be reinstated were not sufficient.
“I rejoice that no students were affected,” he wrote.
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White did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
Note: This story has been updated since originally published to include information about the resignation of two board members
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