Southern Baptist Convention says it is under DOJ investigation after outside report found leaders mishandled sex abuse allegations

The May report by a third-party company, Guidepost Solutions, also said church leaders had intimidated victims and their advocates and resisted attempts at reform over two decades.

“Survivors and others who reported abuse were ignored, disbelieved, or met with the constant refrain that the SBC could take no action,” the report found, “even if it meant convicted abusers continued to exercise the ministry without notice or warning to their current church or congregation”.

The SBC is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, with approximately 14 million members in more than 47,000 churches.

In its statement Friday, the SBC’s executive committee said it had recently been made aware of the DOJ investigation and would cooperate fully.

“As we continue to mourn and mourn past mistakes related to sexual abuse, current SBC leaders have demonstrated a strong belief in resolving these past issues and are implementing measures to ensure they do not reoccur. ever in the future,” the statement read. .

“We recognize that our reform efforts are not complete. In fact, these efforts continue at this very time as the recently announced Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force begins its work and each entity has strengthened its efforts to protect against abuse,” the statement said.

CNN contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Tennessee and was told by email “we cannot confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.”

The SBC is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee.

In June, the SBC approved two reform measures to address how it deals with allegations of sexual abuse within its churches.

One created a “Ministry Check” website, which would maintain a record of “pastors, faith workers, ministry employees and volunteers who have at all times been credibly accused of sexual abuse,” according to Baptist. Press, the information service of the SBC. .

The measure defines a “credible defendant” as a “pastor, denominational worker, ministry employee or volunteer … who has confessed to sexual abuse in an unprivileged setting, who has been convicted in court, or who has had a civil judgment against them,” the news service reported.

In another measure, an Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force would be created to review SBC’s response to allegations of sexual abuse and “serve as a resource in abuse prevention, response crisis and survivorship care”.


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