Through much of the drama around the rough draft leaked letter, we’ve wondered one thing: Why didn’t Karen Swallow prior, being made aware that someone was going to publish a private draft without their permission, say something to him? Why didn’t anyone?
During a recent post, we asked this very thing: questioning that while we’re all in the spirit of transparency and full disclosure, why isn’t either SEBTS or Rachel Denhollander telling Tom Buck who attempted to blackmail him? Why is KSP silent? Is this what mishandling an abuse allegation looks like? Why didn’t they warn Tom, a fellow SBC pastor? Why did they lie to him for so long? Etc.
Her answer? Because he is “abusive” and a “bully” and she is “afraid” of him.
During the meeting Akin shares how Keith revealed he was the third party from SEBTS who was in contact with the anonymous couple and who had lied to him about. Akin notes that Keith had done a “disservice” to him by not telling him earlier and Keith reveals that Karen “didn’t feel she had an obligation” to tell Tom, who is struck that Akin framed the lies as a mere ‘disservice.’
Tom: If on March 30, Keith and Karen had done what was right, and you know this in your heart, that if they had done what was right, they would have contacted us, and all of this would not have happened. So that’s more than a disservice.
Keith: Let me let me speak to that. When I received the text, I, hindsight, I should have thought more about it. I didn’t think much about it. I picked the phone up to Karen, I said, I mean, let me read you to the best of my memory of what I think the text said, from the best of my memory. It said “would you ask Karen, if she would review an article supposedly written by Jennifer Buck about her marriage to confirm the authorship, I think she might know something about it.”
I saw it, I picked the phone up and called her. I didn’t think about it that much more the rest of the day. Now, you’re locating a judgment that I made on that day. I honestly didn’t make the judgment on that day, because I didn’t think about it. I didn’t think about it much all day on next day on, Thursday.
I was at my son’s play at the high school that night, and remembered that I told Karen I was going to call her back. I called her back during the intermission. She said- she gave me two reasons. She gave me a general reason and a specific reason. And I said, ‘Karen, I think you’re right. That makes sense to me’.
I texted back ‘No, it’s not right to publish a essay without the author permission.” I didn’t give this specific reason. The specific reason Karen gave was because you don’t tell a survivor story. I didn’t give that. I didn’t think that was my place to give that reason. I gave a general reason.
And then I thought we had done the right thing. I thought it was done. I thought it was over. And now on Saturday night Karen I had already conversed a little bit and she felt like she didn’t have an obligation to tell you. I’m not (unintelligible) to dispute that. She didn’t feel like she had an obligation to tell you, and she told me she didn’t trust you.
And so I paused on giving Dr. Aiken that information. That was a mistake on my part. I didn’t trust him with sharing that information with him.
After Keith explains that Karen didn’t feel she had an obligation to tell him what was coming for him (revealing much about her character) Tom questions her more about this, and her answer is stunning.
Buck: So you (Karen) knew something was nefarious, or they wouldn’t come and ask you to authenticate, they’d just go to the author. So if you knew that Jennifer sto-you had a very intimate relationship with this story, if you knew that the story was trying to be used by somebody- forget even the details– let’s say she was peddling a story about a poem of flowers. Why would you not go to the author and say “someone is trying to publish your story and without your permission?”
KSP: I mean, that is that is a fair question. And probably maybe it was the right thing to do. And my honest answer, I’m just giving you my honest answer. My honest answer is that I think you are abusive, and a bully, Tom, and I’m literally afraid of you, and I don’t want really anything to do with you. I mean, I’m having this meeting, because I believe it’s the right thing to do. And because I trust Dr. Aiken, I trust Rachel, but I really, really don’t want anything to do with you because I’m afraid of you.
Buck: Okay. Well, there you go.
Karen would later refuse to show up for further meetings with Tom and Jennifer, including one where Jennifer reads a statement to SEBTS folks about her abuse and their complicity in covering it up.