The First Baptist Church of Clinton, South Carolina removed the name of a minister from its website this week in the aftermath of inquiries from this news outlet about an alleged sexual harassment scandal. According to our sources, the rumored scandal – which has been a topic of conversation in the town for several weeks – centers around the church’s associate pastor for discipleship and outreach, Doug Shenton.
Shelton was listed on the church’s website yesterday morning (April 14, 2021) when this news outlet’s founding editor Will Folks sent an email inquiry “in hopes of establishing a dialogue with the church’s leadership so that everyone involved in this situation is allowed to have their say in this matter.”
Neither his original message nor a follow-up email sent today has generated any response from the church … however, our microphone remains open to everyone involved in this story.
As for Shenton, it is stated that “his desire is to provide safe, sacred spaces for both seekers and believers to grow in their understanding of who God is and what it means to be in a personal relationship with him,” according to his since-removed biography on the church’s website.
However, sources familiar with the situation tell us more than one person at the church was made to feel less than “safe” in the course of their interpersonal interactions with Shenton, who is married.
Following up on the original information we received, our news outlet was able to confirm that the church engaged a local law firm to look into the alleged harassment – however, we have been unable to obtain any information related to that inquiry. Obviously, Shenton was not removed from his post in the aftermath of the law firm’s inquiry into these allegations.
As we have often noted, allegations of sexual harassment are extremely difficult to prove as most harassing behavior tends to take place without witnesses present. This leads to extraordinarily difficult situations for those who are victims of harassment – as well as those who are accused of harassment.
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The classic “he said, she said” conundrum …
This news outlet will continue to reach out to our sources in and around Clinton in the hopes of uncovering additional information related to this situation. We will also continue to reach out to the church in the hopes of gaining its perspective on the allegations.
First Baptist Church has 1,800 followers on Facebook. It is one of the largest churches in Clinton, a town of approximately 8,400 people located just off of Interstate 26 – roughly halfway between Columbia and Greenville, S.C.
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