The Southern Baptist Convention announced Friday that it was under investigation by the Department of Justice following the release of a 288-page report that found the denomination’s top leaders ignored allegations of sexual abuse and denigrated survivors for more than two decades.
“Individually and collectively, each SBC entity is committed to cooperating fully and completely with the investigation,” a statement said. statement of the leaders of the organization read.
He continued, “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 that they never happen again in the future.”
The May report was produced by Guidepost Solutions, an independent firm contracted by the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. He found that survivors and affected Southern Baptists continually shared allegations with the executive committee.
The report found that those who came forward were “met, time and time again, with resistance, blockages and even outright hostility from some within the EC”.
The report also found that SBC leaders were concerned about the church’s liability and reputation and ignored the concerns “even if it meant convicted abusers continued to minister without notice or warning to their current church or congregation. “.
In a May interview with “ABC News Live”, Southern Baptist Convention President Ed Litton said the damning independent investigation report into the sexual abuse allegations was “overdue”.
“Rumors were always circulating that these things were happening,” Litton said on “ABC News Live.” “There were several attempts at our convention meetings to bring this to light. But they were successfully rebuffed.”
Sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches was highlighted in 2019 by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News in a report documenting hundreds of cases. Several of the accused perpetrators remained in the ministry.
The investigation by local reporters led thousands of delegates to vote to create a task force to oversee a third-party review of denomination leaders.