Baptist Leaders Release Database of Sex Abusers
An article in the Washington Post on May 27, 2022, revealed that the Southern Baptist Church has been hiding information about sexual abuse under its watch. The Executive Committee for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) released a list of “alleged church-related sexual abuse offenders,” kept secret for at least ten years.
According to NPR, the list includes approximately 700 entries from situations that span mostly from 2000 to 2019. The list entries released to the public are “entries that reference an admission, confession, guilty plea, conviction, judgment, sentencing, or inclusion on a sex offender registry.”
Evidence Shows Decades of Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up
The list comes with allegations that various individuals within the SBC completely mishandled allegations of sexual abuse and that some committee members maintained private lists of ministers accused of misconduct. There are additional allegations that survivors received pushback when they came forward with stories of sexual abuse and that the SBC was far more concerned with protecting its reputation and pocketbook than victims.
Despite knowing sexual abuse was occurring, there is little to no evidence that anyone took steps to remove abusive ministers from positions of authority and protect victims.
The long list of credibly accused sexual abusers includes pastors and ministers from Texas, Virginia, New Jersey, Missouri, North Carolina, and other states.
Report on Sexual Abuse in Baptist Churches Comes After Months-Long Investigation
Guidepost Solutions conducted a seven-month investigation. Guidepost is an independent firm the Executive Committee hired after pressure from delegates to the last SBC national meeting.
Guidepost interviewed sexual abuse victims of all ages, children, and adults. They all spoke of trauma from the sexual abuse and the response from churches and the SBC. Many survivors indicated their calls, emails, and letters were ignored. Others said they were mistreated.
Some survivors said their efforts to seek help or report perpetrators were actively thwarted.
What Happens Now?
The report by Guidepost suggests the SBC take steps to reform sexual abuse policies and practices. Recommendations include creating an administrative body to oversee long-term reforms regarding sexual abuse and sexual misconduct in the Baptist Church.
It might be too late for many survivors to pursue legal remedies against the SBC or the alleged abusers. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations might have expired. Some states, however, might decide to give sexual abuse survivors more time by passing legislation.
For example, New York just passed the Adult Survivors Act. This law will provide many victims of sexual abuse a one-year lookback window to file lawsuits against sexual abusers and the institutions that protected them. They will be able to file claims even though the initial statute of limitations has expired.
Time will tell if other states do the same for their victims of sexual abuse. Given the number of victims and alleged sexual abusers hidden by the Baptist Church, it would give many survivors a chance to seek accountability.
If You Are a Sexual Abuse Survivor in New York, Call Alonso Krangle, LLP
If you are a survivor of sexual abuse in New York, you might still have time to file a civil lawsuit against your abuser or the church, school, or other institution that protected them.
Call us today at 800-403-6191 for a free evaluation of your sexual abuse lawsuit.