The Southern Baptist Convention Says The Department Of Justice Is Investigating The Denomination

The Southern Baptist Convention Says The Department Of Justice Is Investigating The Denomination

The leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention announced on Friday that several of the denomination’s major entities are under investigation by the United States Department of Justice as a result of the denomination’s multiple problems related to clergy sex abuse.

There has been a subpoena issued to the SBC’s Executive Committee, but no individuals have been subpoenaed at this point, according to the lawyers who represent the committee.

The Southern Baptist Convention Says The Department Of Justice Is Investigating The Denomination

As a result of this being an ongoing investigation, we are not commenting on our discussions with the DOJ at this time.

A statement issued by SBC leaders – including members of the Executive Committee, seminary presidents, and mission organization heads – provided little information about the investigation, but indicated that it dealt with widespread sexual abuse problems that have shaken the largest Protestant denomination in the nation for decades.

There is a commitment on the part of each SBC entity to fully and completely cooperate with the investigation both individually and collectively, according to the statement.

In spite of the fact that we continue to grieve and lament past mistakes related to sexual abuse, current leaders throughout the SBC have demonstrated a firm commitment to address those issues of the past and are putting in place measures to ensure they do not occur again.”

As far as the investigation by the Justice Department is concerned, there was no immediate comment from the department.

A sex abuse task force established by the SBC released a blistering 288-page report earlier this year, prepared by outside consultants Guidepost Solutions on behalf of the task force. A seven-month independent investigation conducted by the firm revealed disturbing details about how denominational leaders mishandled sex abuse claims and mistreated victims in the course of the investigation.

Specifically, the report focused on how the SBC’s Executive Committee responded to abuse cases, revealing that it had secretly maintained a list of clergy and other church workers accused of committing abuse against other members of the congregation.

In the following weeks, the committee apologized and released the list, which contained the names of hundreds of workers accused of misconduct.

There was no comment from a Guidepost spokesperson regarding the news of the DOJ investigation.

During its annual meeting in June, the Southern Baptist Convention voted to establish a mechanism by which to track pastors and other church workers who have been credibly accused of sex abuse, and also to establish a task force to oversee further reforms following the release of the Guidepost report.

The names of the Southern Baptist pastors and church members who will serve on the task force were announced earlier this week by SBC President Bart Barber, who also signed Friday’s statement.

Survivor of Southern Baptist sex abuse Christa Brown, who has long called on the Southern Baptists to do more to address sex abuse across its churches, welcomed the news that the DOJ is investigating sex abuse in Southern Baptist churches.

“Hallelujah!” he exclaimed. In a post on Twitter on Friday, Brown said that it’s about time that something like this was done. ‘This is what we need to do.'”

In 2018, another survivor, Jules Woodson, went public with her story of abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention and has been advocating for reforms in the denomination ever since. After hearing about the investigation news on Friday, she reacted to the news with a tweet, which read, “May justice roll down!!! ”

The Oklahoma pastor Mike Keahbone, who serves on the Executive Committee and is the vice chair of the new abuse task force, said on Twitter that he is not scared of the investigation and that he does not expect it to lead to anything… We will do what needs to be done if there is more work to be done.”