The Southern Baptist Convention published a list on Thursday evening of hundreds of clergy and other church staff who’ve been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse.
The list, which was published on the church’s website and contains hundreds of entries mostly complied from news articles, states it is “a fluid, working document” that is “incomplete” and “has not been adequately researched.”
The church said the list was released in the exact form it was provided to Guidepost Solutions, which conducted the months-long investigation into the church, producing the 288-page report that was published earlier this month detailing how Southern Baptist leaders handled sexual abuse allegations.
The release of the 205-page list marks “an initial, but important, step towards addressing the scourge of sexual abuse and implementing reform in the Convention,” per a statement from Rolland Slade, chair of the SBC Executive Committee, and Willie McLaurin, the EC’s interim president and CEO.
“Our prayer is that the survivors of these heinous acts find hope and healing, and that churches will utilize this list proactively to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us,” they added.
Investigative firm Guidepost’s probe, published Sunday, found that for nearly two decades, survivors and advocates who sounded the alarm over sexual misconduct faced “resistance, stonewalling, and even outright hostility” from members of the church’s executive committee.
On Thursday, the SBC said that it hoped “that churches will utilize this list proactively to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us.”
The newly released list contains hundreds of entries — some of them partially or fully redacted — detailing allegations, convictions and some cases that were not reported to the police. Some of the allegations in the list relate to the sexual abuse of children as young as five years old.
In 2019, an investigation by two Texas newspapers revealed hundreds of sex offenders and more than 700 victims of sexual abuse within the SBC since 1998. The SBC has thousands of churches and 15 million members, mostly of which are based in the southern states.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BAPTIST PRESS