Cedarville President Apologizes for Hiring Admitted Sex Abuser as More Details Emerge

By Julie Roys

Cedarville University President Thomas White today apologized in a video message for bringing Dr. Anthony Moore, an admitted sex abuser, to campus. White also pledged to hire an outside, independent agency to confirm that “nothing inappropriate occurred” while Moore was at Cedarville. And he said that he and other leaders at Cedarville would undergo “victim prevention awareness and advocacy training.”

Meanwhile, more information is emerging, indicating that the boundaries Dr. White said Cedarville had placed on Moore during his three-year tenure at the school were not enforced. (White fired Moore last Thursday from his position as an assistant theology professor and Special Advisor to the President on Kingdom Diversity.)

Dr. White wrote on his blog Friday that Moore was not allowed in locker rooms except “for basketball purposes, accompanied by other coaches who knew his story.”

Yet today, blogger Todd Wilhelm published a comment from a student athlete who said he saw Moore in the locker room with no other coaches present. I reached out to the student and confirmed his account, but the student said he didn’t want to give his name for fear of retribution.

Also, White told me in an interview last week that Cedarville did not allow Moore to teach students during the first year of Moore’s five-year “restoration plan.”

Similarly, White wrote on his blog that during Moore’s first year on staff, Moore performed “administrative responsibilities” and did “whatever was needed to allow for more time between his sinful action and meaningful ministry.” (Moore’s former church, The Village Church in Fort Worth, Texas, said when it fired him that it believed Moore was “unfit for ministry . . . including speaking engagements at conferences or other churches.”)

Yet, according to texts I received (below), Moore spoke at the Global Outreach Missions Conference at Cedarville in January 2018—just five months after coming to Cedarville, and a year after being fired from The Village Church.

Also, according to a course schedule on Cedarville’s website, Moore also taught an online Theology I course at Cedarville that same semester (Spring 2018). 

I reached out to White for comment on these discrepancies but he did not answer by the time I published. 

Text about Global Outreach Missions Conference:

 

Transcript of Dr. White’s Video Message:

Dear Cedarville family,

I was motivated by the love of others, desire to radically live out the Gospel in my own life, and a prayer to see James 5:19 happen. I’m sorry that I brought Anthony Moore to Cedarville University. I did not know all the information at first. When we learned the new information, we took the action needed. Dr. Moore violated our agreement. 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.

Cedarville University will strengthen our resolve to continue to be a safe place for our students and future students. We will learn our lessons. This summer, I and other key leaders will go through victim prevention awareness and advocacy training.

Would you pray for me as the Lord works on my heart to mold me into the man of God He wants me to be? Would you pray for Cedarville University as we walk through this difficult time?

Thank you.

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34 thoughts on “Cedarville President Apologizes for Hiring Admitted Sex Abuser as More Details Emerge”

  1. I believe his response should just have been “I’m sorry. I made a bad decision.” To go on then claim he didn’t know everything …. He didn’t need to know “everything.” TVC’s statement that Moore was “unfit for ministry . . . including speaking engagements at conferences or other churches” should have been enough. White in his “apology” just continues to dig a deeper hole for himself. Why didn’t White do a better job of vetting Moore with TVC’s statement? The responsibility to vet rests on White’s shoulders – especially with the warning from TVC.

  2. PS – I want to be careful in my evaluation of others and their situations, “knowing that in the way I judge others, I will be judged” (Matthew 7:2). Which is a good thing to remember in our discussions.

    1. That’s good advice, Mr. Jones. We do need to evaluate based on what evidence we have, but we have to recognized that it’s limited. We also have to remember it goes both ways. Before this story, President White looked better than he does now. Now, it seems, his word cannot be trusted. Maybe more will come out. If we are left with just this story, he should not complain if we question his memory or his veracity. By his own account, he isn’t very careful— he admits he didn’t look much into exactly what happened in Texas.

      1. That is true. It isn’t a good look right now. Just come clean – “I didn’t check into it enough and should have” or “I made a bad decision knowing what I knew.” Again, TVCs statement on the firing should have been enough for White to do more research. The problem wasn’t a lack of information available.

    2. Thank you. I don’t see Christ’s love and forgiveness. When do we stop killing our wounded? I can hear Jesus saying”Let those without din cast the first stone…”

  3. Thomas White also needs to realize that ANY work-including administrative tasks can be “meaningful ministry.” He needs to rethink how he values administrative employees. Ministry is not a hierarchy with administration low and teachers/pastors high, or ‘meaningful.’

  4. This guy white needs to be fired. He is hiding behind his secularity by claiming to be a Christian. By his actions he is not a Christian and Christians need to shun him. Like other swamp creatures he has lied his way into being in charge. He’s merely a secular unsaved jerk who got caught and thinks his actions demonstrate God is working through him. Even judas repented more than that!
    Hey, white have mercy on Cedarville and get out!

  5. Even if Dr. Anthony Moore had only done his act one time and wasn’t a pattern as President White used to excuse hiring Anthony Moore that IMO isn’t a valid explanation. As I understand this now, they are claiming that the reason Moore was hired despite this action was the college initially thought it was a one time action vs. a more repeated pattern.

    My thought is that even if what Moore did was a one time action it usually takes a lot developing psychologically for a person to act on doing something as egregious as this. It wasn’t something that a person having a bad day would do etc. Thus even a person caught in a single action is a lot more serious then the college administration seemed to understand.

    There is also a saying that for every rat you catch there are multiple rats you didn’t catch. Chances are that this wasn’t the only time Moore did this action.

  6. I hate to bring this up but I do wonder if the college’s quest for diversity played a factor in their wanting to overlook Moore’s actions? Is there a shortage of African American males with Phds like Moore and was easier for White to overlook this and put Moore on a track to full professorship?

    Just asking.

    1. I’d say there is a high probability that meeting some written or unspoken diversity requirements was a factor.

    2. The fact that Moore is simply “male” has more to do with his treatment than that he was African American. There are many disqualified white male pastors whose attempts to rehabilitate their image and regain their power have been enabled by the Christian boys club.

  7. I do hope President White hasn’t hired a crisis consultant. That can be a very bad move for a Christian, since PR men are interested, of course, in Public Relations, in Public Opinion, not in Doing What’s Right No Matter What.

    But I see some signs of PR in his video transcript above:

    “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.”

    Nobody’s claiming anything inappropriate happened at Cedarville except for Moore’s probationary precautions not being enforced. That’s worth investigation— let’s see if it’s included in the investigations remit. And, of course, the classic coverup tool is the supposedly independent investigation that’s actually done by a friend of the organization, an alum maybe, or by the law firm it always uses. So let’s see who’s hired.

    He also says:

    “We will learn our lessons. This summer, I and other key leaders will go through victim prevention awareness and advocacy training.”

    Again, we have a playbook response. Maybe this will mean they’ll all take a vacation in Jamaica together with an expensive consultant. Or, it may mean they’ll waste their time with an expensive consultant giving them insights like “rape is bad” and “perverts traumatize their victims”. The problem is not lack of training. I’d rather hear, “This summer, I and other key leaders will go through the books of Matthew, Romans, and I Corinthians line by line.”

    1. This “outside agency” needs to expand its investigation in broader terms — “how could this hire have gone so wrong” and what safe guards will be in place in the future. Certainly looking to see if there are victims is important. But that is too narrow a focus.

  8. This appears to be more than 6 months of videotaping. From the victim’s own testimony, the videotaping came out of a decade-long situation of various kinds of abuse—including spiritual and emotional. Dr. White had no business granting his buddy a job at CU. Also, I am aware of at least one other student who was counseled in private by Dr. Moore with no one else present.

  9. The President of any University is responsible for looking after the students in every way possible and President White was extremely remiss in performing this duty. By the time you’re hired for a role as President you should know better than to hire someone like Dr. Moore. Also, the leadership shouldn’t need Victim Advocacy training to teach them the obvious, that is, you don’t hire people like Dr. Moore. That is just common sense, but now the school will spend tens of thousands to teach them what any normal person already knows.

    1. Sadly, Christian organization (so-called) have much lower hiring standards than the secular institutions they would name “corrupt”.

  10. My wife and I are both CU grads, both first-gen college grads. CU made a difference in our lives, but that was a long time ago. Our daughter is CU grad. I work in higher ed, so I know she was a great student and is married to another CU grad. For years, I dreamed of returning to CU as professor, but every application I send is ignored, you see, I have two Master’s degrees, 25+ years experience, been married 32 years, have never strayed, raised two children, served in churches for years… not even a speeding ticket in the past 10 years. I’m not perfect, but I’m not disqualified either.

    Over the years, powerful people in the church and church-based colleges have made it their business to tell me how unqualified I am. My crime – I know too much. In our most recent local church, I was basically ran out by the pastor because he did not like “my attitude”. One of the elders said he knew my thoughts… I left, and few months later, one of the pastors’ relatives was made an assistant pastor. This is why they wanted to get rid of me – they knew I did not approve of their plans to promote based on nepotism and I chaired the budget committee.

    Did I mention that the IRS audited me after I left because they thought I gave too much to charity? Yes, despite giving over 30% one year, and I was still viewed as an “outsider” by those in charge of the church. All because because I disagreed with their self-serving plans.

    This is the root of the problem. Decisions are made in the church and church-based colleges based on who you know, not if you are qualified or committed. Jesus did not pick the “insiders.” He picked the “outsiders” because he knew the “insiders” were nothing but power-hungry lawyers who acted like religious leaders.

    Anyone can see that Dr. Moore was not qualified, but he was hired as a friend of Dr. White. Some reports indicate that Dr. Moore was teaching classes when he was “officially” not allowed to do so. I do not know if Dr. White hires friends as frequently as others in the Christian Education Community, but, clearly, this was a huge mistake.

    Perhaps Dr. White thought this was a possible “win” – we all know that diversity issues are huge in higher education and that diversity is far too rare in the church. But, Dr. White was clearly substituting his ideas and his judgment (which helped out a friend) for God’s ideas and God’s judgment. Dr. White laid out all his plans, and they all were useless. The initial hire may have been within the President’s discretion, but the CU Board should have never went along with the promotions. They were all wrong and they all need to be held accountable.

    Working at a public college, it becomes more difficult every year for anyone with conservative Christian standards to even survive, let alone thrive. As I noted before, I’ve often dreamed of returning to CU.

    Do I want to work at a place like this? Not if they are going to treat me as a neer-do-well, ignore my talents and insights, and promote their unqualified friends. If they would listen to me and my wife and truly let us shape student’s futures, maybe I’d make a sacrifice to go there and improve the place. I doubt they are truly willing to do that.

    1. A tax tip: when you file your income tax forms, include a letter explaining that you give a lot to charity and it’s legitimate, and attach the letter you get from the biggest charity or two. I think large charitable donations raise a red flag for the IRS, because fraudsters use that as a trick, so it’s good to do whatever you can to show the IRS in advance that you’re honest and have records.

      1. Joel G. Veldt, CPA, CGMA

        Sorry — but in my 40 years’ experience as a tax preparer, CPA, and CGMA, I have NEVER seen any indication that IRS EVER pays attention to attachments to a return.
        (mentioned this to an IRS agent one time, and she said, “well, I can’t argue with you there”)

    2. Bless your heart CU Alum… thank you for doing what is right, even when leadership resists and you are betrayed… God loves justice/righteousness, His countenance upholds the upright (Psalm 11:7)…

      sadly this type of leadership cronyism is a systemic toxic problem in the church culture… it breeds loyalty to those in power that enable others like White to be in positions of power and gives permission to other leaders to do the same, benefiting themselves, their family and friends at the expense of God’s sons and daughters, the Ekklesia… ugh – it’s sick and so wrong… arrogant, authoritarian, condescending, elite, lording it over type leadership…, the exact opposite of scripture… I pray God is purging and refining His Kingdom Church, exposing this type of toxic behavior that has been hidden and protected by unhealthy leadership for far too long!

      Keep speaking out, exposing where abuses of power are part of the problem in the Church! Not an easy battle, but it’s part of our journey to help us grow and mature in love and compassion for the hurting, the poor and needy, the oppressed, the suffering! To whom much is given, much is expected, to benefit and bless others, sometimes at our own cost. Stay strong in the Lord and in His Mighty Power!

  11. After watching the video statement by Thomas White I have to take a minute or two to check myself. Breath. I was so hoping he would be sincere and genuinely contrite. That is so obviously a statement written by a crisis communications person. (I have worked closely with marketing and crisis communication for 25 years). He was coached in looking contrite, his stance of leaning over and folded hands, speaking slowly, using Christianese language, apologizing, asking for support and especially at the end asking for prayer. It is cookie cutter plug and play. He would be believed and respected much more if he would have been authentic in his thoughts. Stand up and tells why! He is most definitely trying to save himself and he thinks we are all gullible enough to to believe him. How extremely sad for the Christian community as a whole but especially Cedarville.

  12. This story is gaining traction in mainstream publications (Christian Post and CT). Too bad CT author calls Julie a “blogger” rather than a trained and respected journalist who carefully follows standards.

    As Boz was quoted in CT, “The bigger question that all of us should be asking in all of this is: How many other abusive church leaders are serving now in churches, under the radar screen, and maybe even going through a ‘restoration process’ that nobody in that congregation knows about?” It’s time for truth to come out across all of the church, provide some grace and restitution to victims, and have the church serve as the cultural leader rather than follower in the area of sexual abuse.

    If you haven’t done so yet, please listen to Julie’s podcast with Dr. Langberg as it’s very informative. All Christian leaders should get a grasp on the true nature of sexual abuse and the underlying power issues. https://julieroys.com/podcast/diane-langberg-on-cedarville-restoring-abusers/

  13. Great that leadership plans to undergo “victim prevention awareness and advocacy training.” How about they start by reaching out to all the students, faculty, and staff who ever reported sexual harassment and/or sexual assault while at CU and were mistreated and re-traumatized as a result? How about all those who never reported their abuse because of the misogyny and fear so deeply embedded in CU’s culture? They would learn quite a lot if they spoke with the survivors in their midst.

  14. Right at the start, this statement in Thomas White’s videotaped prayer for forgiveness really bothered me: “I was motivated by the love of others, desire to radically live out the Gospel in my own life, and a prayer to see James 5:19 happen.”

    Now I realize why that statement is so worrisome: No contrition!! That first sentence sounds to me like he is saying,”All I ever tried to do was follow Scripture and believe in God’s promises. So, if I screwed up doing so, blame God, not me!”

  15. Reading through this made me think of the famous Shakespeare quote: “Oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we start to deceive.” I wonder how much of this restoration plan has been embellished in the last week in order to make it look like they were doing much more than what was actually done. The evidence is pointing in that direction as much of the plan was not followed which makes me wonder how much of it really ever existed.

    All that is coming out at this time is making White look like a narcissist doing what Pharisees always have done, using God and a very legalistic and unbalanced interpretation of scripture in order to exercise authority over others in direct disobedience to the direct Word of God. (Mark 10:42-43) All the evidence is that White is a wolf, tare and goat. Rev. 21:8 declares that “all liars shall be cast into the lake of fire.” Those who lie and have a lust for power and abuse those under them are not Christian by definition.

  16. MISTERJESPERSON may be going too far here… I’m truly let down by what happened, and I see it as part of a larger problem of running churches and church-related schools based on family and friends (cronyism) rather than qualifications, Biblical or otherwise.

    BUT, I cannot say that Dr. white did any of this intentionally. Maybe this is just the way he thinks it works in christian higher education. If that is the case, he should lose his job, but that does not make him a non-Christian.

  17. Shawn McDowell-Cedarville Class of 1995

    Tom-

    Apology accepted. Now please resign and take your sycophants with you.

    Regards,

    Shawn McDowell
    Class of 1995

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