Hubert L. Brown

Hesston College dean and Mennonite leader suspended, resigned

In 1995, Hubert Brown (b. 1945) had his ministerial credentials suspended for sexual misconduct by the South Central Conference (Mennonite Church) and the Western District Conference (General Conference Mennonite Church). Brown was dean of students at Hesston College, in Hesston, Kansas, and executive secretary of the Commission on Home Ministries of the General Conference Mennonite Church.

In October 1995, Hesston College President Loren Swartzendruber announced that Brown, the dean of students, had resigned for personal reasons. A month later, Mennonite Weekly Review reported that two Kansas-based Mennonite conferences had suspended Brown’s ministerial credentials “due to acts of clergy sexual misconduct,” and the Gospel Herald soon reported similar information.

When The Mennonite followed up later in December 1995, Swartzendruber acknowledged that Brown had resigned after the college received information about allegations of sexual misconduct, but stated, “None of the allegations pertains to students or employees of the college.”

The conferences did not require Brown’s participation in an accountability group as part of his suspension, but said that they later invited him to participate in one. However, as of April 1996, a few months after they had written to Brown to reestablish contact and invite his participation in an accountability group, they said they had not heard from him.

In early 1996, despite his recent discipline for sexual misconduct, Hubert Brown was announced as a featured speaker at Bethel College, in Newton, Kansas, by the Multicultural Student Organization. Shortly after that, in an article in the Mennonite Reporter that was reprinted in The Mennonite, a victim of Brown spoke out about his experience of sexual assault by Brown in 1994 after first meeting Brown as a Mennonite high school student in 1990. The conference ministers acknowledged that they had learned of at least two others who reported abuse by Brown during their investigation. A victim of Hubert Brown, speaking in 1996, said:

Although I agree with their findings, I wish more would be done toward accountability. … The reason I’m speaking out now is [because] healing is far from over. Not only for myself, the other [alleged] victims and Hubert Brown, but for all the people Hubert was accountable to. This is a betrayal of trust of his position of pastor. Letting people know there’s a problem is an important step toward Hubert’s accountability.

In 2020, MAP was contacted by another man who said Brown sexually assaulted him in 1994 on the Bethel College campus where he was a student. The man said he had first met Brown at a Mennonite conference when he was 16, remembering, “[Brown] was a bit of a rock star in the Mennonite world.”

Church-related positions

  • Pastor of Bethel Mennonite Church, Norristown, Pennsylvania, 1966–1969
  • Executive Secretary of Student & Young Adult Services for Mennonite Board of Missions, 1974–1981
  • Member of the Commission on Congregational Leadership, the Mennonite Board of Congregational Ministries, a task force on minority leadership at Goshen Biblical Seminary, and a group that studied the needs of minority students at Goshen College, approx. 1976
  • Pastor of Calvary Mennonite Church, Inglewood, California, beginning 1980
  • Moderator of Southwest Mennonite Conference, 1980s
  • Executive secretary of the Commission on Home Ministries for General Conference Mennonite Church, 1988–1992
  • Speaker at the Mennonite youth convention in Wichita, Kansas, 1995
  • Dean of students at Hesston College, Kansas, resigned Oct. 1995
  • Credentialed minister with South Central Conference (Mennonite Church) and Western District Conference (General Conference Mennonite Church), suspended Nov. 1995
  • Board member of Ministries to Blacks in Higher Education

Documentation

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