An investigation commissioned by the Southern Baptist Convention found SBC leaders covered up clergy sex abuse over two decades.
An independent investigation commissioned by the Southern Baptist Convention issued a report that found SBC leaders covered up clergy sex abuse over two decades.
- The nearly 300-page report detailed the decades of abuse by pastors and other SBC employees that were ignored, stonewalled or covered up by America’s largest Protestant denomination.
- The report concluded, “for many years, a few senior [Executive Committee] leaders, along with outside counsel, largely controlled the EC’s response to these reports of abuse… and were singularly focused on avoiding liability for the SBC.”
- It continued, “In service of this goal, survivors and others who reported abuse were ignored, disbelieved, or met with the constant refrain that the SBC could take no action… even if it meant that convicted molesters continued in ministry with no notice or warning to their current church.”
- The SBC sandbagged abuse lawsuits as “opportunistic” and lacking merit, even though complaints were known and kept by the Executive Committee as “closely guarded secrets.”
- President of the Southern Baptist Convention Ed Litton “called on Southern Baptists to lament and prepare to change the denomination’s culture and implement reforms.”
- The New York Times observed the report found a former president of the SBC was credibly accused of sexually assaulting a woman in 2010. The report was the product of mounting pressure from the membership after years of allegations that have “roiled the convention.”
- The Washington Post called the inquiry “the first of its kind in a massive Protestant denomination” and wrote it is “expected to send shock waves” through the 13 million-member denomination whose leaders “have long resisted comparisons between its sexual abuse crisis and that of the Catholic Church.”
- CNN noted the report only covered 703 abusers over the period of 2000-2021, leaving open the possibility even more abuse occurred outside the investigation’s scope.
- Fox News quoted SBC President Ed Litton, who said he was “grieved to my core” by the report’s conclusions. The report found suspected perpetrators were given “autonomy” and allowed to continue preaching.
- Former president of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission Russell Moore wrote in Christianity Today, “this is the Southern Baptist apocalypse.” Moore called the SBC Executive Committee’s coverup “far more evil and systemic than I imagined it could be” and “so massive as to almost defy summation.”
- Breitbart reported the Executive Committee kept a list of hundreds of ministers accused of abuse, but there were no indications that anyone “took any action to ensure the accused” were removed from positions of power.
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© Dominic Moore, 2022