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A former professor and interim provost of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary was arraigned Tuesday on federal charges of falsification of records, the Religion News Service (RNS) reported.

Matthew Queen allegedly gave the FBI falsified notes last year during an ongoing federal investigation into possible widespread cover-ups of sexual abuse within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and its entities.

“Since approximately 2022, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (‘U.S. Attorney’s Office’) and the FBI have been investigating allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct related to a national religious denomination (the ‘Denomination’) and its affiliated entities, and the alleged cover-up of such allegations by individuals and entities associated with the Denomination,” said a statement the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released Tuesday.

In 2022, a report from the independent investigations firm Guidepost Solutions found that leaders in the SBC had, for decades, “treated sexual abuse survivors as enemies of the church, denied responsibility for the actions of local churches and downplayed the number of sexual abuse cases in those churches, all in the name of protecting the institution,” according to the RNS.

While SBC leaders said in 2022 that they had been subpoenaed by the DOJ, the indictment of Queen this week is the DOJ’s first official acknowledgemnt that it has been investigating the SBC, according to RNS.

As part of its investigation, the FBI asked Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, to hand over any documents related to abuse in October 2022, according to the DOJ’s statement. One month later, a seminary employee (identified as “Employee-1” by the DOJ) received a report alleging that a seminary student had committed sexual abuse. The employee took the report to campus police, but didn’t give it to the FBI and the institution took no further action.

In January of 2023, “Employee-1” created a document describing the sexual abuse allegations and the failure of the seminary to address it. But during a subsequent meeting with a second employee (identified at “Employee-2”) and Queen, “Employee-2” reportedly told “Employee-1” to destroy the document.

When the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI met with Queen months later, in May of 2023, Queen “falsely stated” that he had not heard “Employee-2” direct “Employee-1” to destroy the document, according to the DOJ.

Three days after that interview, Queen told another seminary employee (“Employee-3”) that he found a notebook in his office that contained notes about the January meeting, which said that “Employee-1” and “Employee-2” had “merely discussed” giving the document to another department at the seminary “and omitted the fact that Employee-2 had directed Employee-1 to destroy the Document,” according to the DOJ’s statement.

Queen then gave “Employee-2” the fake notes to produce in response to the subpoena.

Despite multiple attempts to defend the legitimacy of the notes to investigators, Queen testified in June 2023 that he had indeed heard “Employee-2” tell “Employee-1” to make the Document “go away,” according to the DOJ.

“After the seminary learned of Queen’s actions in June 2023, he was immediately placed on administrative leave and resigned as interim provost,” the school said in the statement. “All employees alleged to have acted improperly in this matter are no longer employed by the seminary.”

If convicted, Queen could face up to 20 years in prison.

“As alleged, Matthew Queen attempted to interfere with a federal grand jury investigation by creating false notes in an attempt to corroborate his own lies,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams of the Southern District of New York said in a statement. “The criminal obstruction charge announced today should exemplify the seriousness of attempts by any individual to manipulate or interfere with a federal investigation.”