As a follow-up to the independent report about sexual abuse within Southern Baptist Convention churches, the denomination’s Executive Committee (EC) has released a list naming hundreds of ministry leaders who are alleged abusers. The list, which contains some redacted material, was assembled by an unnamed EC member under the guidance of former EC VP August Boto.
Current EC leaders say they’re sharing the abuser list now to start “addressing the scourge of sexual abuse and implementing reform in the Convention.”
Alleged Abuser List Should ‘Proactively’ Protect the Vulnerable
In a statement about the list’s publication, the EC writes: “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.”
Another goal, it adds, is to shine “a spotlight on truth and transparency,” because SBC members “have made it clear that transparency in the area of sex abuse should be the norm.”
The EC says the only changes it made were converting the list to a PDF and redacting the names of survivors, people unrelated to alleged offenders, people accused of non-abuse-related offenses, and accused abusers who have been acquitted.
Analysis of the list is ongoing, says the EC, which anticipates the future release of some redacted items. “We felt it was more important to release the list and redact rather than delay and investigate,” the committee explains. The statement is signed by EC interim president/CEO Willie McLaurin and EC chairman Rolland Slade.
EC: It’s Time ‘For Action, Not Words’
The SBC’s Sexual Abuse Task Force, which hired Guidepost Solutions to investigate abuse within the denomination and how it was handled, describes “a credibly accused pastor, denominational worker, or ministry employee or volunteer” as “one who has confessed in a non-privileged setting, who has been convicted in a court of law, or who has had a civil judgment rendered against them.”
Charges and outcomes, links to news stories, and some mugshots are included. Offenses range from failure to report suspected abuse to rape of a child and impregnating a minor. Some entries indicate that the alleged or convicted abuser was named in the Houston Chronicle’s database as part of its 2019 “Abuse of Faith” investigation.