In response to an explosive investigation, leading Southern Baptists have released a previously secret list of hundreds of pastors and other church-affiliated personnel accused of sexual abuse.
The 205-page database was made public Thursday night. Includes over 700 case entries largely spanning from 2000 to 2019.
Its existence became widely known Sunday when the independent firm, Guidepost Solutions, included it in its bombshell report detailing how the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention mishandled sexual abuse claims, blocked numerous survivors and prioritized protecting the SBC of responsibility.
Executive Committee leaders Rolland Slade and Willie McLaurin, in a joint statement, called the publication of the list “an initial but important step in addressing the scourge of sexual abuse and implementing reform in the Convention.”
“Each entry on this list reminds us of the devastation and destruction wrought by sexual abuse,” they said. “Our prayer is that survivors of these heinous acts find hope and healing, and that churches proactively use this list to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us.”
The Guidepost report, released after a seven-month investigation, contained several explosive revelations. Among them: D. August Boto, the committee’s former vice president and general counsel, and former SBC spokesman Roger Oldham maintained their own private list of abusive ministers. Both retired in 2019. The existence of the list was not widely known within the committee and its staff.
“Despite collecting these reports for over 10 years, there is no indication that (Oldham and Boto) or anyone else took any action to ensure that the accused ministers were no longer in positions of power in the churches of SBC,” the report says.
The Executive Committee made no additions to the published list, but its attorneys redacted several entries, as well as the names and identifying information of survivors and others unrelated to the defendants, Thursday’s joint statement said.
They made public “entries that refer to an admission, confession, guilty plea, conviction, trial, sentence, or inclusion on a sex offender registry,” and expect some of the redacted entries on the list to be made public once they are released. do more research. The list also includes Baptist ministers who are not affiliated with the SBC.
Survivors and advocates have long called for a public database of abusers. The creation of a “criminal reporting system” was one of the key recommendations in the Guidepost report, which was hired by the Executive Committee after delegates at last year’s national meeting pushed for an outside investigation.
Also in the report was a shocking allegation that Johnny Hunt, a Georgia-based pastor and former SBC president, sexually assaulted another pastor’s wife during a beach vacation in 2010. Anyone.”
He resigned May 13 as senior vice president for evangelism and leadership at the North American Board of Missions, the national missions agency of the SBC. On Wednesday, NAMB leaders announced changes to address the issue, including a commitment to investigate allegations of abuse and the creation of an Abuse Prevention and Response Committee to assess and strengthen existing policies and procedures.
Also in the wake of the report’s release, survivors have been seeking information about allegations of abuse from the Executive Committee, Guidepost and members of a task force set up to oversee the company’s investigation, according to a joint statement from the three entities.
A hotline is now open for survivors, or someone on their behalf, to report reports of abuse: 202-864-5578 or SBChotline@guidepostsolutions.com. Callers will be provided with care options and connected with an advocate, according to the release.
Guidepost will maintain the hotline and keep information confidential, but will not investigate allegations. The joint statement described the hotline as a “stopgap measure for survivors” until delegates can approve reforms during this year’s national meeting scheduled for June 14-15 in Anaheim, California.
The task force expects to make its formal motions public based on the Guidepost report next week. Those recommendations will then be put up for a vote in Anaheim.
Associated Press religious coverage is supported through AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. AP is solely responsible for this content.
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