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SBC Database of Leaders Accused of Sexual Abuse To Be Implemented by Guidepost Solutions, Will Cost $1.5-2 Million

Guidepost Solutions Ministry Check website
Pictured: SBC messengers raise their ballots in support of various resolutions at the June 2022 meeting of the denomination in Anaheim, California. Photo courtesy of Baptist Press

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force (ARITF) announced on Monday evening that a “ministry check” website, which will provide a database of denominational pastors and leaders who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse, will be built by Guidepost Solutions. 

Guidepost Solutions is the same firm the SBC Executive Committee hired to investigate their own handling of sexual abuse allegations across two decades, the result of which was a bombshell report delivered in May 2022 that fueled widespread support for reform.

At the denomination’s annual meeting the next month, SBC local church delegates, called messengers, overwhelmingly voted to implement such reforms, which have been spearheaded by the newly formed ARITF, the members of which were appointed by SBC president Bart Barber. 

The cost of creating the website, which was one of the key directives given to the ARITF, will be between $1.5 million and $2 million. The ARITF was given $3 million by fellow SBC entity Send Relief to implement reforms approved by messengers. 

“Although we were told for decades this was impossible, last June our convention voted to get this done,” Marshall Blalock, chairman of the ARITF, said at an SBC Executive Committee meeting on Monday (Feb. 20). “There has been no cooperative mechanism to relay information from church to church to help each other to stop sexual abusers from going [from] place to place.”

Despite the longstanding desire among many within the SBC to implement a central database of clergy sex offenders, they were consistently rebuffed under the guise that the denomination would be vulnerable to legal liability if they created such a list. One of the shocking revelations of the Guidepost Solutions report was that Executive Committee legal counsel was already maintaining one in secret.

The ARITF reached the decision to hire Guidepost Solutions for the website after considering 18 firms, evaluating each on a set of 11 criteria, which included being licensed in all 50 states, as well as having expertise in both cybersecurity and the legal considerations involved in certifying investigations and reporting credible allegations of abuse. 

This comprehensive evaluation process has been cited as the reason why progress on the website’s implementation has been slower than many within the SBC expected, leading to frustration among some. 

In an interview with Baptist Press, Blalock explained that the project will be undertaken by a newly formed faith-based division of Guidepost Solutions called “Faith Based Solutions” and will be led by Samantha Kilpatrick, a veteran attorney who is a member of an SBC church and a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

RELATED: Bart Barber Addresses Costs to SBC Sexual Abuse Hotline; SBC Pastor Calls President’s Words ‘Hypocritical’

“We are actually opting for one of our own to spearhead this initiative,” Blalock said. “She is [a] godly, capable, and trustworthy person. I could not be more grateful that she is willing and available to come alongside us in this process.”