The Southern Baptist Convention has released a list of alleged abusers compiled by a former SBC executive committee member, following a report that showed the largest Protestant denomination in the United States failed to respond properly to allegations of abuse.
Willie McLaurin, Acting Chairman of the SBC Executive Committee and Rolland Slade, Chairman of the Executive Committee issued a joint statement Thursday announcing the public release of the list.
The two men consider the publication of the list as “a first but important step towards the fight against the scourge of sexual abuse and the implementation of a reform of the Convention”.
“Each entry on this list reminds us of the devastation and destruction wrought by sexual abuse,” they said. “Our prayer is that survivors of these heinous acts find hope and healing, and that churches proactively use this list to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us.”
The List of 205 pages is presented as it was given to Guidepost Solutions for their month-long investigation into SBC’s handling of credible abuse allegations involving churches affiliated with the convention.
This list includes the full name of the abuser, the year they were reported, the state where it happened, links to news stories about the allegation and naming. Not all entries in the list belonged to the SBC.
Redactions were also made at various times to protect the identity of the victims and those whose guilt has not been confirmed.
“We note that there will be more extensive research and analysis of the redacted entries and we anticipate that some of the redacted entries will be fully published in the future,” McLaurin and Slade added.
“We felt it was more important to release the list and get it done than to delay and investigate.”
Earlier this month, Guidepost Solutions published a 288-page report which concluded that SBC leaders used to intimidate victims of abuse and refuse to adopt measures to make churches safer because they wanted to avoid accountability.
Presented to the SBC’s Sexual Abuse Task Force, Guidepost found that several leaders of the SBC’s executive committee exercised tight control over allegations of abuse within the denomination and “focused singularly on avoiding accountability. of the SBC to the exclusion of other considerations”.
“In service of this goal, survivors and others who have reported abuse have been ignored, disbelieved, or met with the constant refrain that the SBC could take no action because of its self-reliance regime. church – even if it meant the convicted abusers continued in ministry with no notice or warning to their current church or congregation,” the report said.
News of the report sent shockwaves among pastors and SBC members, with many viewing the findings as disturbing and showing that the denomination needs to reform.
Dallas First Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress told Fox News’ Shannon Bream that he considers the report “absolutely horrific” and hopes it serves as a “reminder to the churches.”
Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. said on his podcast “The Briefing” which he considered the “devastating, heartbreaking and infuriating” report.
“Southern Baptist must view this report as part of a judgment that will reveal the wrath of God, but also as mercy each in due proportion,” Mohler added.
“Some see this report as an opportunity to condemn the Southern Baptist Convention and castigate its churches, members and leaders, as steadfastly opposed to meeting this challenge with grace, truth, compassion and with the power of the gospel.”