DOJ Issues First Indictment in Southern Baptist Investigation
DOJ Issues First Indictment in Southern Baptist Investigation

A former official at Southwestern Seminary has been charged with falsifying records in the federal probe into the denomination’s abuse response.

A former Southern Baptist seminary professor and interim provost has been indicted on a charge of obstructing justice in a sexual misconduct case, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

Matt Queen, who was previously an administrator and professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, allegedly gave the FBI falsified notes during an ongoing investigation into alleged sexual misconduct at the seminary, which is in Fort Worth. He was arraigned Tuesday, according to the DOJ.

“As alleged, Matthew Queen attempted to interfere with a federal grand jury investigation by creating false notes in an attempt to corroborate his own lies,” said US Attorney Damian Williams of the Southern District of New York in a statement. “The criminal obstruction charge announced today should exemplify the seriousness of attempts by any individual to manipulate or interfere with a federal investigation.”

Queen, who was named pastor of Friendly Avenue Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, earlier this year, could not be reached for comment.

The indictment is the first official acknowledgment by the DOJ of an investigation into the Southern Baptist Convention and its entities. Southern Baptist leaders announced in 2022 that they had been subpoenaed by the Department of Justice and promised to cooperate.

News of the DOJ investigation followed the release of a report from Guidepost Solutions showing that SBC leaders had mistreated abuse survivors for years, denied responsibility for the actions of local churches and downplayed the number of sexual abuse cases in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

Earlier this year, the SBC’s Executive Committee announced the DOJ’s investigation into …

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