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An investigative report into the Southern Baptist Conference, America’s largest Protestant denomination, discovered sexual abuse victims inside the church had been stonewalled and confronted “outright hostility” by management, as suspected perpetrators had been allowed to stay in management positions.
The 288-page investigative report from Guidepost Options, which was sanctioned by the SBC’s personal Govt Committee, discovered victims of sexual abuse had been met with “resistance, stonewalling, and even outright hostility” from some church clergymen.
An investigation was initiated following the SBC’s nationwide assembly final yr when outsiders referred to as the EC to take motion.
“Our investigation revealed that, for a few years, a number of senior EC leaders, together with outdoors counsel, largely managed the EC’s response to those reviews of abuse … and had been singularly centered on avoiding legal responsibility for the SBC,” the report mentioned.
HUNDREDS OF SOUTHERN BAPTIST LEADERS, VOLUNTEERS ACCUSED OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT IN BOMBSHELL INVESTIGATION
The report additionally discovered that suspected perpetrators of sexual assault got “autonomy” and had been even allowed to stay in ministry.
“In service of this aim, survivors and others who reported abuse had been ignored, disbelieved, or met with the fixed chorus that the SBC may take no motion attributable to its polity relating to church autonomy – even when it meant that convicted molesters continued in ministry with no discover or warning to their present church or congregation,” Guidepost Options discovered.
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In a press release Sunday, SBC President Ed Litton mentioned he’s “grieved to my core” and referred to as on Southern Baptist members to work on altering the tradition discovered within the report.
“I pray Southern Baptists will start getting ready at present to take deliberate motion to handle these failures and chart a brand new course once we meet collectively in Anaheim [for the next SBC national meeting],” Litton mentioned.
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SBC’s EC interim leaders Willie McLaurin and Rolland Slade mentioned they intend to handle the findings of the report.
“We acknowledge there aren’t any shortcuts,” they mentioned. “We should all meet this problem by means of prudent and prayerful software, and we should accomplish that with Christ-like compassion.”
The report additionally tells the story of Christa Brown, who says she was sexually abused as a teen by the youth and schooling minister at her SBC church.
Brown, who has been one of the crucial outspoken survivors, instructed investigators that through the previous 15 years she has acquired “volumes of hate mail, terrible weblog feedback, and vitriolic telephone calls.”
After studying by means of the report, Brown instructed The Related Press that it “basically confirms what Southern Baptist clergy intercourse abuse survivors have been saying for many years.”
“I view this investigative report as a starting, not an finish. The work will proceed,” Brown mentioned. “However nobody ought to ever overlook the human value of what it has taken to even get the SBC to method this beginning line of starting to cope with clergy intercourse abuse.”
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The SBC will maintain its nationwide assembly on the Anaheim Conference Heart on June 14-15.
The Related Press contributed to this report.