US Southern Baptists release list of alleged sex abusers

Decision to publish formerly-secret database comes after its existence was brought to light by investigation

Michael Hernandez   | 27.05.2022
US Southern Baptists release list of alleged sex abusers


The leaders of the Southern Baptist Church have released a formerly secret list of hundreds of pastors and church workers who have been "credibly accused" of sex crimes.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee made the 205-page database public on Thursday. Many of the entries span 2000 to 2019, but some date back much further. The list was previously kept secret by church leaders.

Its existence was announced on Sunday by Guidepost Solutions, an independent firm the church tasked with investigating the SBC's handling of sex abuse claims. The firm's damning report found the church leadership covered up and otherwise mishandled reports of abuse made by church members for decades.

Those who sought to report child molesters and other sexual abusers were met "time and time again, with resistance, stonewalling, and even outright hostility from some within the" executive committee, the findings say. Some victims were "even vilified" by the church's top clergy.

The church's leadership had the list of alleged abusers in its possession but chose to keep it secret to avoid legal action.

Committee members Willie McLaurin and Rolland Slade said the decision to release the list of accused abusers is "an initial, but important, step towards addressing the scourge of sexual abuse and implementing reform."

"Each entry in this list reminds us of the devastation and destruction brought about by sexual abuse. Our prayer is that the survivors of these heinous acts find hope and healing, and that churches will utilize this list proactively to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us," they said in a joint statement.

Some of the information contained in the database was redacted, and the leaders said that was done by their lawyers to protect the identifying information of survivors, or if the allegations against an individual could not be corroborated.

Entries that did not relate to sexual abuse, or individuals who were acquitted of crimes, were also redacted.

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