Statement by David S. Dockery


The following statement is issued by President David S. Dockery in response to a request for comment from The Tennessean. Terri Stovall, dean of women, is identified as “Employee-1” with her permission.

“In late January 2023, I became aware of the events set forth in the indictment of Matt Queen and further reported by media outlets pertaining to an allegation of sexual assault against a now-former Texas Baptist College student. By way of background, in November 2022, Terri Stovall, longtime-serving dean of women, identified as “Employee-1” in the indictment, received a report that a student had committed a sexual assault against an individual unaffiliated with the seminary. Stovall followed institutional procedure to care for victims of sexual abuse and immediately reported the allegation to the chief of Campus Police. No one else on campus was informed of this matter and the chief of Campus Police, who is no longer employed at the seminary, took no further action in November. Stovall documented her actions.

“At the end of January 2023, after the seminary had assisted the Burleson Police Department in arresting the student accused of sexual assault, Stovall, following a morning chapel service, discussed a document she prepared regarding the incident with Heath Woolman, then chief of staff, and in the presence of Matt Queen, then interim provost. According to Stovall, Woolman instructed her to make the document “go away” during this conversation.  Of particular note here, all employees had previously been made aware of the Department of Justice investigation in an all-employees meeting in August of 2022.  Further, upon receipt of a subpoena from the Department of Justice in November 2022, employees with relevant information had been made aware of the subpoena, including the need to preserve and produce any responsive documents.

“In a follow-up conversation concerning what was said to Stovall, Woolman provided me assurance that he did not instruct her to make the document “go away.” Queen, for his part, acknowledged to me on more than one occasion that he did not hear Woolman instruct Stovall to make the document “go away.”  For nearly five months we operated within the tension of knowing that employees in whom we had confidence had differences of recollection regarding the January conversation. However, in June 2023, Queen claimed that he now recalled hearing the directive related to the document and also provided additional information that led to the decision for him to resign as interim provost and to be placed on administrative leave.

“In keeping with our obligation and our commitment to fully cooperate with the Department of Justice in its investigation, we continued, through the seminary’s legal counsel, to keep the Department of Justice aware of these developments. Thankfully, we were able to provide the Department of Justice with the document in question.

“In April 2023, Woolman became a candidate for the pastoral position he now holds. He requested, and I offered, a brief affirmation of his candidacy to the church given his then role at the seminary, given the fact that he had been a quality student in one of my doctoral seminars, and given the information available to us at the time. Woolman resigned as chief of staff on May 5, 2023, to accept the pastoral position. If asked to provide the same recommendation today, and based on information received subsequent to that time, I would not be able to provide the same recommendation.

“This episode is a matter of deep regret to me. I am, however, grateful that several employees in whom I placed great trust acted responsibly, especially Terri Stovall. I commend the service and integrity of these employees. We remain resolute to continue to cooperate fully with the Department of Justice in all aspects of this investigation.”