In response to a bombshell investigation, Top Southern Baptists released a previously secret list of hundreds of pastors and other church-affiliated staff accused of sexual abuse.
The 205-page database was released Thursday evening. It includes over 700 case entries that largely span from 2000 to 2019.
Its existence became widely known on Sunday when the independent firm, Guidepost Solutions, included it in its explosive report detailing how the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee mishandled sexual abuse allegations, blocked many survivors and prioritized protecting the SBC from liability.
Executive Committee leaders Rolland Slade and Willie McLaurin, in a joint statement, called the publication of the list “a first, but important, step towards combating the scourge of sexual abuse and implementing reform of the agreement”.
“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 chairman 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 among the committee and its staff.
“Despite collecting these reports for more than 10 years, there is no indication that (Oldham and Boto) or anyone else took any steps to ensure that the accused ministers were no longer in senior positions. power in SBC churches,” the report said.
The executive committee made no additions to the published list, but their lawyers redacted several entries as well as the names and identifying information of survivors and others unrelated to the accused, the court said. Thursday’s joint statement.
They have made public “entries that refer to a confession, confession, guilty plea, conviction, judgment, sentence or entry in a sex offender registry”, and expect some of the entries redacted from the list will be made public once further research has been carried out. 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 an “offender information system” was one of the main recommendations of the Guidepost report, which was contracted by the Executive Committee after delegates at last year’s national meeting lobbied for an outside investigation.
The report also contained a shocking allegation that Johnny Hunt, a Georgia-based pastor and former SBC president, sexually assaulted another pastor’s wife while on a beach vacation in 2010. Hunt disputed the allegation, claiming in a statement that he had “never abused”. anybody.”
He resigned on May 13 from his position as senior vice president of evangelism and leadership at the North American Mission Board, the national mission agency of the SBC. On Wednesday, NAMB leaders announced changes to address the issue, including pledging to investigate allegations of abuse and creating an abuse prevention and response committee to assess and strengthen existing policies and procedures.
Also following the release of the report, survivors demanded information about alleged 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 by the three entities.
A hotline is now open for survivors, or someone on their behalf, to report abuse allegations: 202-864-5578 or SBChotline@guidepostsolutions.com. Callers will be offered care options and will be connected to an attorney, the statement said.
Guidepost will maintain the hotline and keep information confidential, but will not investigate allegations. The joint statement describes the hotline as an “interim measure for survivors” until delegates can pass reforms at this year’s national meeting scheduled for June 14-15 in Anaheim, California.
The task force plans to release its formal motions based on the Guidepost report next week. These recommendations will then be presented for a vote in Anaheim.
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