Home Christian News Survivor Hannah-Kate Williams Sues SBC, Lifeway, SBC Seminary, and Her Father Before...

Survivor Hannah-Kate Williams Sues SBC, Lifeway, SBC Seminary, and Her Father Before Guidepost Report Released

As Williams attempted to bring to light the abuse she suffered at the hands of her SBTS-employed father, Williams claims that the SBC and the SBC’s EC “engaged in a concerted effort to undermine Plaintiff’s credibility, malign her character, and threaten her through social media (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter) and at several public church-sponsored events.”

Williams alleges she had to request police officers to patrol outside her Lexington, Kentucky, home due to the harassment she was receiving from the SBC and its members.

“After knowing the full details of what happened to me, the church turned around and not only blamed the victim, but they actively encouraged animus toward me and weaponized the spread of lies and vitriol against me—to the point I needed police protection,” Williams said.

During a press conference on Friday, Williams appeared with her attorney Cantley, where it was explained that due to a Kentucky law passed last year, they are unable to provide a copy of the complaint to the public. Cantley shared that they have filed a motion with the court to allow the complaint to be unsealed.

Williams shared that her “hope in bringing this to light is that others will be safe…I believe that people’s lives deserve to be protected.” Williams said that the SBC has “a long history of choosing the powerful over the vulnerable,” choosing money and things that sell over those who “actually matter.”

In addition to the sexual abuse, Williams shared the horrific details regarding her father “baptizing” her, saying, “My father and my abuser would baptize me and that baptism would also work as a type of waterboarding.”

“Imagine me as a nine-year-old, wanting to be a faithful follower of Jesus and being told that I have to be good, I have to be kind, I have to be sweet under all circumstances,” Williams recalled. “And then every single week, my dad, who’s also my pastor, who is also speaking and leading within this denomination that reinforces his behavior and praises his behavior—imagine me being held underwater, being told that that is how I’m saved; I’m scared so much to death that it will cleanse the sin out of me.”

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Williams shared that she was told by her father that “the more the sexual abuse hurts, the more pleased God is. And so it’s a very extensive, torturous type of abuse that not only I, but my siblings experienced as well.”

Until a couple years ago, Williams said that she didn’t even know that women could vote, because she was still under that abusive culture. That abusive culture continued but in a different form after she went public with her years of abuse. Expecting the church to help, she was instead harassed, threatened, and told that she was an “enemy of God” who was destroying the denomination.