Press Release: Statement on Jayson Rowe
June 05, 2020
On June 4, Southeastern Seminary was made aware of allegations of sexual abuse against minors by Jayson Rowe, a former student and employee, which are believed to be related to his death earlier this week. We are shocked and sickened by these new revelations. Words fail to express our dismay and heartbreak upon learning of these events. Our hearts go out to the victims during this time, and this letter is our first step towards handling this situation with the gravity and urgency it requires.
Dr. Danny Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary said the following: “We were grieved and appalled upon learning of this sexual abuse, but I want to be clear: we will do anything in our power to assist sexual abuse victims. Our commitment is to stand with victims not only in our prayers and also in our actions. We are taking every necessary step at this time to ensure the protection of those in our community.”
Upon learning of these allegations, we immediately began a proactive process to confirm information with law enforcement and make preparations to alert and care for anyone who may be affected. At this time, we have not received any reports of victims of abuse from Mr. Rowe’s time here as a student, resident, or employee.
Our first priority is our Southeastern families that work and reside on our campus, and then to any other possible victims related to his time here. During his time at SEBTS, Jayson Rowe was a student, employee, and lived in seminary housing. We have identified all of the surrounding housing residents and alerted them of these allegations. We want to remind you that in matters of abuse we have an email address, [email protected], that you can contact at any time to report concerns over any kind of potential abuse.
As an institution, we are working to take every necessary step at this time to ensure the protection of those in our community, and elsewhere. This includes alerting the churches which Rowe served or was a member of during his time at SEBTS. We strongly encourage these churches to take similar proactive steps to alert any members who may have come into contact with Jayson Rowe and to assist them in coming forward with any relevant information.
SEBTS is working to engage an independent firm to help serve as a reporting location where you can report anything that you may know regarding abuse or inappropriate behavior related to Jayson Rowe’s time at Southeastern. In days to come, we will provide more resources for reporting with this outside agency. We are working as quickly as possible to establish this resource.
In addition, we have a resource for you to help you talk to your children if you have concerns about any potential improper interactions with Jayson Rowe. It is difficult to know how to talk to your children in the face of such difficult issues. We know that children are often uncomfortable and unsure how to disclose instances of abuse. We are pained to think of children hurting in silence. As parents, we may not know how to initiate this kind of conversation. Because of this, we asked Sarah Rainer (PsyD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist) to prepare a resource for parents to talk to their children about abuse and recognize any warning signs. Click here to access this resource.
In times like these, it is easy to feel overwhelmed with a sense of of frustration, betrayal, or confusion. Know this: Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary stands with any and all victims of abuse. If you have any information that may assist with this investigation, we ask that you please come forward as soon as possible. Southeastern will stand with you and any who come forward.
Our prayer during this painful time is that God would bring justice and comfort for any possible victims, as well as those who were misled or betrayed by a would-be-abuser. Such evil cannot be tolerated in our communities, our churches, and especially our seminaries.