US investigates Southern Baptist Clergy Sex Abuse Convention | American News

Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention said Friday that several of the denomination’s major entities are under investigation by the US Department of Justice following multiple issues related to clergy sex abuse.

The SBC executive committee has received a subpoena, but no one has been subpoenaed at this stage, according to committee lawyers.

“This is an ongoing investigation and we do not comment on our discussions with the DOJ,” they said.

The statement from SBC leaders — including members of the executive committee, seminary presidents and heads of missionary organizations — gave few details about the investigation, but said it dealt with a scandal of widespread sexual abuse that has rocked the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.

“Individually and collectively, each SBC entity is committed to cooperating fully and completely with the investigation,” the statement said. “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. never in the future.”

There was no immediate comment from the Justice Department about the investigation.

This year, an SBC sexual abuse task force released a stunning 288-page report by outside consultant Guidepost Solutions. The firm’s seven-month independent investigation revealed disturbing details about how faith leaders mishandled sex abuse complaints and mistreated victims.

The report focused on how the SBC’s executive committee responded to cases of abuse, revealing that it had secretly maintained a list of clergy and other church workers accused of abuse. The committee later apologized and released the list, which included hundreds of accused workers.

A spokesperson for Guidepost declined to comment on the DOJ investigation.

Following the release of the Guidepost report, the SBC voted at its annual meeting in June to create a way to track pastors and other church workers credibly accused of sexual abuse and to launch a new task force to oversee further reforms. This week, SBC President Bart Barber, who also signed Friday’s statement, announced the names of Southern Baptist ministers and church members who will serve on the task force.

Christa Brown, an SBC sex abuse survivor who has long urged the SBC to do more to address abuse in her churches, celebrated the news of the DOJ investigation.

“Hallelujah. About time,” Brown said in a Friday post on Twitter. “This is what it takes.”

Another survivor, Jules Woodson, went public with her story of abuse in 2018 and has been pushing for reforms within the SBC ever since. On Friday, she reacted to the news of the investigation by tweeting: “Let justice collapse!!! »

Mike Keahbone, an Oklahoma pastor who serves on the executive committee and is the vice chair of the new abuse task force, said on Twitter that the investigation “is not something to be feared… If he there is more work to do, we will do it.”

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