The Central Indiana Presbytery voted Friday to bring formal charges within the church’s court against former Hope Presbyterian Church pastor Dan Herron and move the investigation to a trial.
This comes after a second investigation into accusations against Herron from several accusers including sexual harassment and exploitation. In the initial investigation, Herron was not found to have a “presumption of guilt,” according to church court documents.
However, after complaints were made about the ruling of the initial investigation by members of the CIP, the Standing Judicial Commission — effectively the supreme court for the Presbyterian Church in America — said the CIP needed to conduct a new investigation.
During the upcoming trial, the CIP will suspend Herron from his “official functions.” He will not be able to preach or serve other duties as an elder of the CIP. During the investigations up to this point, Herron had continued to preach and was able to vote on the investigations into his actions.
If Herron is found guilty after the upcoming CIP trial, then an outside investigator group — Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment — will further investigate Herron and the CIP.
Kara Million, one of several accusers, said the decision to suspend Herron and move to a trial at the Friday meeting comes after an investigation which she felt was taken more seriously than the first one. She said she believes the public pressure she observed within the CIP following the IDS’ story played into this decision as well.
“I felt stunned, it didn’t sink in for quite a while,” Million said of the Friday vote. “This is the first time he’s been suspended from his office, and that very rarely happens. The fact that they did that means that they’re taking this much more seriously than they had previously.”
Million said she and others who testified in the initial investigation were not asked to testify a second time because the new committee had recordings. However, Million said a new witness delivered testimony during the second investigation who corroborated many allegations and described a pattern of Herron’s actions dating back to 2012 when Hope first opened.
Below is the full statement from the CIP:
On May 14, 2021, Central Indiana Presbytery (CIP) of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) considered allegations against Teaching Elder (TE) Daniel Todd Herron. Following review of and deliberation on a report from a committee of its members, CIP approved that report which recommends presbytery bring charges against TE Herron. CIP in its role as an ecclesiastical court will draft official charges, conduct a trial, and, if appropriate, determine disciplinary actions.
During the May 14 meeting, CIP also elected to suspend all of TE Herron’s official functions for the duration of the trial. This is not a censure, but it means that TE Herron is not authorized by CIP to perform any of the functions accorded the office of elder, including preaching, administering the sacraments, and ruling in church courts, among others.