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BJU Rehires the Firm They Fired to Investigate Sexual Abuse Claims

There’s been an interesting update to an investigation into sexual abuse at the conservative Christian college, Bob Jones University. Just weeks after firing the independent firm hired to investigate numerous allegations of abuse, GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) has just been rehired. The reasons for the initial firing—and rehiring—are still not totally clear, but the timing of events is curious. In November of 2012, GRACE was hired by the university to investigate several claims by former students that the school grossly mishandled cases in which they were sexually abused while attending the college or the affiliated Bob Jones Academy. They’ve said that they were instructed not to go to the police by school officials, and were even called liars and accused of sinning themselves in some incidences.

Just a month before they were due to release their findings, the university terminated the GRACE contract (on Jan. 27), essentially without explanation. As this RNS report notes, the allegations of differences between the two sides was a “complete surprise” to the watchdog. During the prior month, BJU President Stephen Jones (the great-grandson of the school’s founder) resigned citing health problems. (His resignation goes into effect in May). After a meeting last week, the school said that GRACE has “satisfactorily addressed the university’s concerns” (concerns which they have yet to explain) and they can resume their investigation. At this point, the school hasn’t given a timeline of when the final report will be released …

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