Feds investigating Southern Baptist Convention after report of sexual abuse


The federal probe comes after a bombshell report published in May detailed decades of sexual abuse and coverups inside SBC.

Photo of Michael Murney


FILE - The headquarters of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tenn., is seen on Dec. 7, 2011. On Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee has offered a public apology and a confidential monetary settlement to sexual abuse survivor Jennifer Lyell, who was mischaracterized by the denomination’s in-house news service when she decided to go public with her story in March 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)
FILE – The headquarters of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tenn., is seen on Dec. 7, 2011. On Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee has offered a public apology and a confidential monetary settlement to sexual abuse survivor Jennifer Lyell, who was mischaracterized by the denomination’s in-house news service when she decided to go public with her story in March 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The Department of Justice is investigating the Southern Baptist Convention following the release of an explosive report detailing how leaders of the nation’s second-largest faith organization quashed abuse survivors’ stories and resisted organizational reforms, the Houston Chronicle’s Robert Downen and John Tedesco reported Friday.

The SBC’s Executive Committee confirmed in a statement to the Chronicle that the DOJ is currently probing “multiple” member organizations within the SBC. Leaders also made clear that they intend to cooperate with the investigation.

“I don’t know anything specific about the investigation other than what’s been relayed to me by the Executive Committee’s counsel,” said Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., told the Chronicle. “But as far as we are concerned, we believe in the rule of law. We respect law enforcement and we will be fully cooperative with federal authorities.”


A 2019 investigative series title “Abuse of Faith” by the Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News first exposed news that hundreds of church leaders and volunteers had been convicted of sex crimes. In May, the third-party firm Guidepost Solutions published the results of its seven-month investigation based on a review of two decades worth of internal SBC records and 330 attorney-client interviews. 

Guidepost’s 400-page report revealed a stunning pattern of abuse—and silencing of abuse victims—inside SBC. The investigators estimate that around 700 victims, most of them children, were abused by church leaders and staff during the two-decade period in question. The report also exposed how longtime members of SBC’s Executive Committee worked to silence survivors and kill reform efforts, even after admitting privately that the reforms could help protect children from predators.  





Source link

Leave a Comment