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DOJ is investigating Southern Baptists following sexual abuse crisis : NPR


A cross and biblical sculpture stand outside the Southern Baptist Convention headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., on May 24. The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee said several organizations The cult is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Holly Meyer / AP


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Holly Meyer / AP


A cross and biblical sculpture stand outside the Southern Baptist Convention headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., on May 24. The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee said several organizations The cult is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Holly Meyer / AP

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention said Friday that several of the sect’s key organizations are being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice following multiple issues involving the sect. clerical sexual abuse.

The SBC’s executive committee has received subpoenas, but no individuals have been subpoenaed at this time, according to the commission’s attorneys.

“This is an ongoing investigation and we do not comment on our discussions with the DOJ,” they said.

Statements from SBC leaders – including Executive Committee members, seminary presidents and heads of mission organizations – give some details about the investigation, but indicate that it has dealing with widespread sexual abuse issues that have rocked the largest Protestant denomination in America.

“Individually and collectively each SBC entity is addressed to fully and fully cooperate with the investigation,” the statement said. “While we continue to grieve and lament past mistakes regarding sexual abuse, the current leaders of SBC have demonstrated unwavering faith in addressing those issues in the future. past and are taking measures to make sure they never happen again in the future.”

There was no immediate comment from the Justice Department on the investigation.

Earlier this year, an SBC sexual abuse task force published a 288-page report from outside consultant, Guidepost Solutions. The company’s seven-month independent investigation uncovered disturbing details about how cult leaders mishandled allegations of sexual abuse and victim abuse.

The report focused specifically on how the SBC Executive Committee responded to cases of abuse, revealing that it had secretly maintained a list of clerics and other church employees accused of abuse. The commission later apologized and released the list, which contained hundreds of accused workers.

A spokesperson for Guidepost declined to comment on news of the DOJ investigation.

Following the release of the Guidepost report, the SBC voted during its annual meeting in June to create a way to reliably track pastors and other church employees accused of sexual abuse and bootlegging. a new task force to oversee further reforms. Earlier this week, SBC President Bart Barber, who also signed the statement Friday, announced the names of Southern Baptist pastors and church members who will serve on the task force.

Christa Brown, Southern Baptist sexual abuse survivor who has long called on the SBC to do more to tackle sexual abuse across their churches, celebrated the news of the DOJ investigation.

“Hallelujah. It’s time,” Brown said in a Friday post on Twitter. “This is what is needed.”

Another survivor, Jules Woodson, went public with her story of abuse in 2018 and has pushed for reforms within the SBC ever since. On Friday, she reacted to the investigative news by tweeting, “May justice fall!!!”

Pastor Mike Keahbone of Oklahoma, who serves on the Executive Committee and is vice president of the new abuse task force, said on Twitter that the investigation “isn’t something to be scared of… There’s more work to be done, we’ll do it.”



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