Presbytery of Transylvania reprimands former president for misconduct
Louisville Seminary | Sep 16, 2003
Today the Presbytery of Transylvania announced on behalf of the Presbyterian Church (USA) that John M. Mulder, former president of Louisville Seminary, has been excluded temporarily from the exercise of ordained office for actions of sexual misconduct with adult women while serving as the Seminary’s president.
Dr. Mulder, who is an ordained Presbyterian minister, is a member of the Presbytery of Transylvania and is under its jurisdiction. He initiated the church judicial proceedings by self-accusation, which led to a nine-month period of inquiry conducted by an appointed investigative committee, a confidential process outlined in the Book of Order of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Today’s report, made by the Permanent Judicial Commission (PJC) of the Presbytery of Transylvania, concluded that Dr. Mulder “acted contrary to Scripture, the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church, the policies of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and Standards of Ethical Conduct for Ordained Officers in the Presbyterian Church (USA).”
According to the PJC’s report, Dr. Mulder is excluded from the ordained office, “and any and all privileges and responsibilities pertaining to the office of Minister of Word and Sacrament, for a period of 14 months.” During this period, which commenced on September 4, 2003, Dr. Mulder will continue to participate in supervised counseling and rehabilitation.
The Board of Trustees of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary was first made aware of this issue in mid September, 2002, and when questioned about the information by representatives of the Board, Dr. Mulder acknowledged the situation. Upon being made aware of the issue, the Board undertook prompt and appropriate action.
At the fall meeting of the full Board on October 26, 2002, Dr. Mulder submitted a letter of resignation. The Board determined that his resignation was in the best interests of the Seminary.
Board Chair Ms. Dorothy Ridings and Vice Chair Rev. Barbara Barnes met with members of the Seminary community immediately following the report to the Presbytery on September 16, 2003, and said that the Board of Trustees had acted promptly and appropriately within the confidentiality requirements of the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s judicial proceedings and other privacy considerations. They shared with the community a letter from Dr. Mulder and indicated that all matters related to the offense and related church judicial proceedings should appropriately be addressed by the Presbytery of Transylvania.
“It is with tremendous sadness that we share this news with members of the Seminary faculty, student body, and employees today,” said Ms. Ridings, “and we request that all members of this community be in prayer for all individuals who have been hurt. We worship a God whose grace and love restore broken and hurting people to new life. Confident in God’s care and guidance, Louisville Seminary will continue in its mission to prepare women and men for the reconciling ministry of Jesus Christ.”
A Pastoral Response Team is prepared to meet with individuals on campus and may be contacted by alums who would like to seek counseling or have someone with whom to process this sad and disappointing news. The team includes: Nancy Ramsay, Dale P. Andrews, Dianne Reistroffer, David Gray, Garnett Foster, Donna Melloan, Gene March, John Kuykendall, and Lant Davis.