Why has David Platt remained silent about a sex abuse case at MBC?

Victim’s Parent: ‘It is not too late to tell MBC parents the truth.’

MBC commissioned independent investigation but will not release report to the church, concerned parent claims.

David Platt promised to protect the sheep at McLean Bible Church from sexual predators. Platt announced an independent investigation along with reforms to make MBC safer for children in a sermon delivered November 24, 2019. However, parents of an alleged sexual abuse victim feel Platt and MBC leadership are not living up to their promises. They feel silence denies a full accounting for MBC’s failures.

A McLean area blogger revealed details of the alleged abuse in a blogpost of September 27, 2019. According to the Wondering Eagle, “an adult volunteer at McLean Bible The Rock Ministries allegedly engaged in sexting and tried to groom minors for abuse he planned to commit after they turned 18.”

The post reveals the name of the alleged predator as does the Baptist Accountability website. According to both, the alleged predator was Scott Woods.

The Capstone Report verified the serious allegations were reported to MBC leadership. In fact, parents reported it to leadership prior to David Platt’s arrival as senior pastor.

The alleged timeline is that the first reports were made to MBC staff including at-the time Executive Pastor Dale Sutherland and Youth Pastor DJ Corkey. This report was made in 2017. The parents were told authorities were notified; however, parents now allege that it was seven months later—after the statute of limitations expired—that police were notified.

According to those familiar with the situation, only two church staff members and two elders were informed of the allegations. Again, the Baptist Accountability website lists Elder Chairman Larry Cooper and elder Tom McMahon as being informed. This was confirmed to us by a concerned family member.  

In late 2017, McLean Bible Church announced changes to improve security for the safety and protection of children. This was followed by a somewhat more detailed letter in October 2018 that provided some additional details but failed to name the alleged perpetrator.

According to the letter,

“We were provided with detailed evidence that the volunteer had behaved in what we considered to be gross misconduct with one former student and had inappropriate communication with at least two others. However, after the police detectives conducted their own investigation, they concluded that, from their perspective, law enforcement action was not warranted for certain reasons. In accordance with the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 18:15-17, the volunteer was confronted by several MBC pastors and responded with denial and a lack of full transparency. In order to ensure a safe environment for children at MBC, the volunteer, having been a member of the church, was issued a no-trespass order and banned from all affiliation with McLean Bible Church. We ask that if you or someone you know has also been affected by any inappropriate action of this or any volunteer or staff at MBC, please do not hesitate to contact Lucius Thompson, our director of security.”

Parents were not happy with this letter as it failed to communicate specifics or name the alleged perpetrator.

When Platt arrived, there was hope among the parents of the alleged victims that Platt would take charge of and correct what they believed was inaction on part of top leadership.

This hope was renewed when Platt preached November 24, 2019. In that sermon, Platt promised an independent investigation and that MBC would fulfill the message title, “Caring Better for the Flock.”

The investigation was carried out by a local law firm—and a report delivered about 18 months after it started in May 2021. Parents were again disappointed.

The report was delivered to parents with only David Platt and the independent attorney—a parent told us that no other staff or elders were present. Further, in the meeting Platt told the parents MBC would not name the alleged perpetrator nor provide a copy of the report to MBC members.

Parents felt as if they were denied justice again.

“It is not too late to tell MBC parents the truth,” said one parent of an alleged victim.

This is important, according to parents, so that any other victims might be able to come forward to the church and police if warranted.

“David Platt should take action—that includes informing the parents of the predator’s name and the time he was at MBC as well as publicly exposing and holding the MBC leaders and Elders responsible for their actions,” the parent of the alleged victims said. “Anything less is just protecting the predator and those who covered it up. David Platt has a choice to make.”

What motivates David Platt’s silence? Is this because of Non-Disclosure or Non-Disparagement Agreements (NDAs)? Is this silence to protect the McLean Bible Church brand? Is it to protect longtime church leaders?

Is this Caring Well for the flock?