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He quit in June. Now Southern Baptist leader is charged in teen's 1997 sexual assault

Mark Aderholt's mugshot following his arrest in South Carolina
Mark Aderholt's mugshot following his arrest in South Carolina Courtesy/Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Richland County

A Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary graduate who recently resigned from the South Carolina Baptist Convention has been charged with sexually assaulting a teenager in Arlington more than two decades ago.

Mark Edwin Aderholt, 46, was arrested on July 3 in South Carolina on a warrant issued in the Tarrant County case and later released on bond.

On Monday evening, he was booked into the Tarrant County Jail, according to jail records. He was released Tuesday morning after posting a $10,000 bond.

Mark Aderholt's Tarrant County mugshot Tarrant County Sheriff's Office

He did not return an earlier message seeking comment. His attorney, Justin Sparks, was out of the office Tuesday morning and did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Aderholt was charged July 3 with sexual assault of a child under 17, according to Tarrant County court records.

The charge is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The alleged offense occurred in 1997 in Arlington, court records show.

Sgt. Karen Standback, an Arlington police spokeswoman, said Monday that she could not release information about the case.

Aderholt had been a high-ranking figure in Southern Baptist circles.

He served as the associate executive director and chief strategist for the South Carolina Baptist Convention for a year and a half until he resigned June 19.

A statement from the executive director, Gary Hollingsworth, did not give a reason for Aderholt’s resignation, noting only that Hollingsworth accepted his resignation with a “heavy heart.”

Aderholt graduated from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth in 2000 with a master of divinity degree.

He previously served several months as interim pastor for the Lakeside Fellowship Church in Roanoke, now known as Freedom Fellowship of Roanoke, according to the church's website.

During that time, his wife, Kristi, served as children's minister for the same church. The couple then moved to Budapest to continue their missionary work, the website states.

Aderholt is prolific as an international missionary. He formerly served as the missionary to Eastern Europe for the International Mission Board, an organization affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. He’s cited as having also served in Bulgaria and Slovakia, among others.

He is married with children.

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