Mar  2017 31
Statement Regarding the Arrest of Ron Robinson

We learned late Thursday afternoon that an alumnus of the seminary who was also a part-time adjunct instructor, Ron Robinson, was arrested Thursday on federal child pornography charges. It is with this knowledge that Mr. Robinson’s contract for his part-time role at the Seminary has been terminated.

I speak for many in the Phillips community when I say we are first and foremost, heartbroken for children exploited and abused. Words cannot express our hurt for children victimized by adults.

We are also in a state of shock, disgust, and concern. Shocked, because a person we saw as walking in the way of Jesus was also involved in the horrific exploitation of children. We are disgusted and sickened by the content of the investigation that led to the charges and arrest. We are concerned for him, for his family, and for all those affected by this tragedy. We are concerned for the impact this will have for those who benefited from his ministry, The Third Place. Lastly, we are concerned for the profession of the clergy as a whole.

Clergy should be held to a higher standard because we represent the Divine and are given the responsibility to serve those who are vulnerable and in need. According to the investigation, Mr. Robinson violated that responsibility. Children are so often vulnerable and in need of protection. Taking any part in a child’s abuse is abominable behavior.

Seminary leaders are reaching out to our students and employees during this time, as many are deeply unsettled and in utter shock. Seminary-sponsored counseling will be made available to Phillips students and employees who may desire help in processing their feelings.

We encourage prayers for everyone impacted by this situation.

Gary Peluso-Verdend
President, Phillips Theological Seminary
Tulsa, Oklahoma
March 31, 2017

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