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Southern Baptist leaders release secret list of accused perpetrators

In response to an explosive investigation, senior Southern Baptists have released a previously secret list of hundreds of pastors and other church workers accused of sexual abuse.

The 205-page database was released late Thursday. It contains more than 700 entries from cases mostly ranging from 2000 to 2019.

Its existence became widely known Sunday when independent firm Guidepost Solutions included it in its bombshell report, which detailed how the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee mishandled allegations of sexual abuse, blocked scores of survivors and prioritized protecting the SBC from liability admitted.

Executive Committee Chairs Rolland Slade and Willie McLaurin called the publication of the list in a joint statement “a first but important step towards addressing the scourge of sexual abuse and implementing reform of the Convention”.

“Each entry on this list reminds us of the devastation and destruction caused by sexual abuse,” they said. “Our prayer is that the survivors of these heinous acts will find hope and healing and that the churches will proactively use this list to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us.”

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The Guidepost report, released after a seven-month investigation, contained several explosive revelations. Among them: D. August Boto, former vice president and general counsel of the committee, and former SBC spokesman Roger Oldham maintained their own private list of abusive ministers. Both retired in 2019. The existence of the list was not widely known within the committee and its staff.

“Although these reports have been collected for more than 10 years, there is no indication that (Oldham and Boto) or anyone else took any action to ensure that the accused clergy no longer held positions of power in the SBC churches,” it said it in the report.

The Executive Committee made no additions to the released list, but their attorneys redacted several entries and the names and identifying information of survivors and others unrelated to the accused, Thursday’s joint statement said.

They published “entries relating to a confession, confession, plea of ​​guilt, conviction, judgment, conviction or inclusion on a sex offender registry” and expect some of the redacted entries on the list to be published, once further investigation is complete. The list also includes Baptist ministers who are not affiliated with the SBC.

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have survivors and supporters has long called for a public database of perpetrators. Establishing a “criminal information system” was one of the key recommendations in Guidepost’s report, commissioned by the executive committee after delegates at last year’s national meeting pushed for an external investigation.

The report also included a shocking allegation that Johnny Hunt, a Georgia-based pastor and former SBC president, sexually assaulted another pastor’s wife during a beach vacation in 2010. Hunt has denied the allegation and said in a statement that he “never abused anyone.”

He resigned May 13 as senior vice president of evangelism and leadership at the North American Mission Board, the SBC’s domestic missionary agency. On Wednesday, NAMB executives announced changes to address the issue, including a requirement to investigate allegations of abuse and create an Abuse Prevention and Response Committee to evaluate and strengthen existing policies and procedures.

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Also following the report’s release, survivors have shared information about abuse allegations with the Executive Committee, Guidepost and members of a task force set up to oversee the firm’s investigations, according to a joint statement from the three entities.

A hotline is now available for survivors, or someone on their behalf, to report allegations of abuse: 202-864-5578 or SBChotline@guidepostsolutions.com. Callers will be provided with care options and put through to an attorney, the statement said.

Guidepost will maintain the hotline and will keep the information confidential, but will not investigate the allegations. The joint statement described the hotline as a “stopgap measure for survivors” until delegates can enact reforms during this year’s national meeting, scheduled for June 14-15 in Anaheim, California.

The task force expects to release its formal motions based on the Guidepost report next week. These recommendations will then be put to a vote in Anaheim.

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https://www.local10.com/news/national/2022/05/27/southern-baptist-leaders-release-secret-accused-abuser-list/ Southern Baptist leaders release secret list of accused perpetrators

Sarah Y. Kim

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