An investigation into the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) found that sexual abuse victims were stonewalled to protect the reputation of America’s largest Protestant denomination.
According to a 288-page investigation report from Guidepost Solutions, which was sanctioned by the SBC’s own Executive Committee, victims of sexual abuse by church leaders were treated with “resistance, stonewalling, and even outright hostility.”
“Our investigation revealed that, for many years, a few senior EC leaders, along with outside counsel, largely controlled the EC’s response to these reports of abuse,” said the report.
According to the report, the SBC has an almost 2 decades-long history of “opposition and antagonism” towards victims of sexual abuse who chose to report allegations of sexual abuse from clergymen within the SBC.
The investigation revealed that 9 church officials accused of sexual assault are still involved in or associated with the church, with 2 of them still serving in SBC-affiliated churches and the remaining seven serving in non-SBC congregations.
The report found that one of the SBC’s Executive Committee staff had been keeping a list of the sexual abuse reports which include the names of the ministers who committed the abuse, the year it was reported, the state where it was committed, and the denomination the minister belonged to.
However, August “Augie” Boto, the SBC’s Executive Committee interim President, kept the list confidential and kept it hidden from other members of the SBC’s Executive Committee.
“Our desire was to provide survivors a safe and confidential space to debrief and process their interviews and participation with this investigation,” said the report.
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