CHICAGO (RNS) — Wheaton College has rescinded the title of professor emeritus from Gilbert Bilezikian after an investigation into the longtime professor of New Testament turned up new allegations of “inappropriate and unprofessional conduct.”
The school, one of the United States’ most prominent Christian colleges, reopened an investigation into the allegations last month.
“This is a painful situation in which some of our alumnae stepped forward to share experiences from the past that prompted a wide range of reactions, including anger, hurt, and confusion,” wrote Wheaton President Philip Ryken in an email Friday (Feb. 28) to the school community.
“We ask that you pray for them and hope that they are able to find some measure of peace and resolution.”
Bilezikian, who retired in 1992, said in a letter emailed earlier to Religion News Service that he denied the allegations against him.
“Being human, l err in many ways. But I make it a principle to never intentionally abuse, violate or take advantage of anyone,” he said.
“Anyone who knows me and has been around me through the decades can attest that I have always treated people, particularly women, with respect and deference.”
Wheaton’s investigation was reopened after leaders at Willow Creek Community Church announced there had been credible allegations that Bilezikian engaged in inappropriate behavior with a member of the suburban Chicago megachurch between 1984 and 1988.
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Source: Religion News Service