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Houston Christian U Sues Tim Clinton & American Assoc of Christian Counselors for Fraud & Breach of Contract

por Rebecca Hopkins
clinton sloan HCU
President of the American Association of Christian Counselors Tim Clinton poses with Houston Christian University Robert Sloan. (Courtesy Photo)

Houston Christian University (HCU) once planned to name its mental health program after Tim Clinton, president of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC)—the world’s leading Christian counseling organization. Now HCU is suing Clinton, the AACC, and their related organizations for $1 million, accusing them of fraud, breach of contract, and concealing Clinton’s alleged plagiarism.

AACC “knew of Dr. Clinton’s practice of plagiarizing but failed to disclose the same to Plaintiff, knowing of the importance of academic honesty to any institution of higher learning,” the suit says. “. . . Yet, AACC still entered into several agreements with Plaintiff while not disclosing the academic honesty.”

In 2016-17, HCU (then named Houston Baptist University) hired Tim Clinton and the 50,000-member AACC for more than $5 million, múltiple agreements show.

As part of the agreements, Clinton and the AACC promised to deliver new enrollments to the private Baptist school and to develop 50 new courses for HCU’s counseling program. The school also contracted with Clinton to help start, lead, and promote a global mental health center at HCU for an additional payment of $26,000 per month.

Sin embargo, según the lawsuit filed March 3 in Harris County District Court in Texas, Clinton and the AACC failed to deliver “on the expressed scope of the contracts.”

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The contract expressed a goal of 133 new enrollments, but AACC delivered only one student, the suit says. Plus, the new courses were supposed to be written by the AACC, the suit adds, but instead AACC outsourced the courses to a third party.

Additionally, during the time of the agreement, Clinton was accused of plagiarism. In 2018, Grove City College psychology professor Warren Throckmorton accused Clinton of plagiarism in articles Clinton posted on Medium.

Clinton attributed the issues to the use of research assistants and graduate students, as well as a former employee’s poor standards, and third-party partners’ mistakes.

In 2021, Aaron New, former Central Baptist College psychology professor, called out Clinton on Gorjeo for plagiarizing George Foreman in Clinton’s book, “Take it Back.”  

Though AACC denied Clinton plagiarized, saying his work had merely been “sloppy,” HCU said its investigation found otherwise. “After investigating the plagiarism accusations, Plaintiff found Dr. Tim Clinton’s actions did constitute acts of plagiarism,” the suit states.

Tim Clinton AACC
Tim Clinton speaks at the American Association of Christian Counselors’ three day meeting focusing on mental health and the church, in Nashville, Tennessee, September 24, 2015. | (Photo: Courtesy of the American Association of Christian Counselors)

Initially HCU’s mental health center was going to be named after Clinton. But after the accusations of plagiarism were made public, HCU removed Clinton’s name from the Global Center for Mental Health Center and Ministry.

In March 2019, HCU informed Clinton that it would also stop paying him as the center’s director and dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences because Clinton wasn’t fulfilling his responsibilities, the suit states.

HCU’s suit is asking for a rescission of its contracts with Clinton and AACC, at least $1 million, plus attorneys’ fees and court costs.

On March 14, AACC’s attorneys filed a counterclaim, alleging that HCU breached its independent contractor agreement with Clinton, its exclusive agreement with AACC, and failed to pay $6.2 million.

The counterclaim is asking for injunctive relief of $1 million, attorneys’ fees, and compensatory damages.

El Informe Roys (TRR) made several attempts to reach Clinton for comment but received no response.

HCU and the university’s attorneys also did not respond to TRR.

Despite ‘exclusive license’ agreement, Clinton heads Liberty U’s center

One of the 2016-2017 agreements between HCU and the AACC and Clinton was an “exclusive license and services agreement.” It stated that “during the term, AACC shall ensure that Dr. Clinton shall not allow his name, image, or likeness to be used in connection with any other university.” The agreement also prohibits Clinton from being employed at another university or serving as a faculty member there.

Yet in 2021, Clinton became the executive director of Liberty University’s Global Center on Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery.

Clinton has a longstanding relationship with Liberty and had served as a counseling professor, vice provost, and past director of the Center for Counseling and Family Studies. In spring 2018, Clinton stepped away from Liberty, Throckmorton blogged, but returned in 2021.

Ron Hawkins, who serves as an officer of the American Association of Christian Counselors Foundation, also has a history with Liberty. The American Association of Christian Counselors Foundation is a nonprofit linked to AACC and is also named in the suit.

Hawkins is Liberty’s former provost and now serves as the associate director of Liberty’s Global Center on Mental Health, Addition, and Recovery.

TRR reached out to Ryan Helfenbein, vice president of communications for Liberty University, for comment, but he did not immediately respond.

AACC’s elite role in Christian counseling

According to its website, the AACC is the “world’s premiere and largest faith-based mental health organization. The organization provides memberships, credentialing, continuing education, and access to its code of ethics to Christian counselors around the world.

tim clinton
Dr. Tim Clinton (center) and other evangelical figures pray for President Donald Trump in the Oval Office (Photo via Warren Throckmorton)

It also draws well-known Christian speakers like Tim Tebow, George Barna, and Mark Batterson, and thousands of attendees to its annual conference. And its national board of reference is a who’s who of famous Christian counselors, including names like Dan Allender, Gary Chapman, and Diane Langberg, as an advisory board chair emeritus.

Allender emailed TRR to say that he hasn’t been informed of or involved in advising AACC’s activities or operations. Langberg’s spokesperson said she has no knowledge of the suit and hasn’t been active as the board chair or provided any advice to AACC in many years.

In addition to his role at AACC, Clinton has also served as a faith advisor for former President Donald Trump and is a co-host for “Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk” radio show.

Rebecca Hopkins es una periodista radicada en Colorado.



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2 Respuestas

  1. ….
    “In addition to his role at AACC, Clinton has also served as a faith advisor for former President Donald Trump and is a co-host for “Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk” radio show.”

    It sounds like there was some role reversals Between Trump and Clinton? ;-7

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