SBC Lawsuit: Southern Baptist Convention Sexual Abuse Cover-Up

Report Unveils Massive SBC Cover-Up of Church-wide Sexual Abuse

On May 15, 2022, investigate firm Guidepost Solutions published its 288-page report into the Southern Baptist Convention’s reponse to reports of widespread sexual abuse by church personnel. The report revealed that senior leadership had amassed a list of more than 700 alleged abusers, including pastors, deacons, ministers, and more. Despite this, SBC refused to investigate these claims, allowing alleged abusers to either leave quietly or retain positions of power and failing to seek justice on behalf of victimized church members. The allegations against SBC mirror similar ones waged at the Catholic Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Learn more about the SBC investigation below. Pope McGlamry is also investigating reports of abuse in the SBC. If you or a loved one has experienced abuse by an SBC church official, we want to hear your story.

 

Did You Know?

Shortly after the investigation report was released, SBC leaders released the previously kept-secret list of hundreds of alleged sexual abusers. More than 40 of the church officials identified on that list are located here in Georgia.

What Is the Southern Baptist Convention?

The Southern Baptist Convention is a Christian denomination that consists of over 45,000 congregations and over 14 million members. The organization has existed since the 1800s and is one of the largest Protestant organizations in the country. The SBC executive headquarters is in Nashville, Tennessee, and their Georgia charter is based out of Duluth, right outside of Atlanta. The Executive Committee, or EC, runs the day-to-day operations of the SBC.

What Sparked the Sexual Abuse Investigation?

On February 10, 2019, the Houston Chronicle released a set of articles that highlighted the sexual abuse taking place in the Southern Baptist Convention. The article highlights only a portion of the nationwide abuse but documented more than 700 victims of abuse within a set of 10 churches. The abusers included pastors, deacons, ministers, youth pastors, and Sunday school teachers. These articles were a catalyst in the search for abusers within the SBC and a movement by abuse survivors to push the Executive Committee to take action.

Read Survivors’ Stories

SBC Hires Guidepost Solutions to Conduct Investigation

At SBC annual meeting in June 2021, a group of sexual abuse survivors brought a motion to the floor requesting a third-party investigation into the abuse committed by church personnel and covered up by the EC. SBC approved the motion and created the Sexual Abuse Task Force, which hired Guidepost Solutions to direct the third-party investigation.

Later that year, the EC voted in favor of waiving privilege, allowing Guidepost Solutions to conduct a more comprehensive investigation.

SBC Investigation Timeline

February 2019: Houston Chronicle publishes exposé on widespread sexual abuse in SBC

June 2021: Survivors call for an independent investigation into SBC leadership

May 2022: Guidepost Solutions publishes its report showing SBC negligence

May 2022: SBC leaders release internal list of hundreds of church personnel accused of sexual abuse

What Did the SBC Investigation Reveal?

On May 15, 2022, Guidepost Solutions published their Report of Independent Investigation on the SBC Executive Committee’s response to sexual abuse allegations. Their report highlights the following:

  • EC members “closely guarded information about abuse allegations and lawsuits.”
  • The SBC had amassed a list of over 700 alleged abusers, yet despite this information and the repeated reports by sexual abuse survivors, senior EC leaders and outside counsel controlled the response to these reports with the seemingly singular goal to avoid liability by refusing to investigate.
  • SBC leaders failed to take steps to prevent ministers and others accused of sexual abuse from holding positions of power in SBC churches.
  • Survivors and others who reported abuse “were ignored, disbelieved, or met with constant refrain.” These victims were vilified, and their accounts of abuse trivialized, all while their abusers were allowed to quietly leave their churches or in some cases, continue on in their positions within their church or the SBC.

Guidepost’s investigation revealed that SBC leadership “were singularly focused on avoiding liability for the SBC” for many years at the expense of their members’ safety and physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

Two weeks after the release of the Guidepost Report on May 26, 2022, SBC leaders released the previously kept-secret list of hundreds of pastors and church personnel accused of sexual abuse. More than 40 of the church officials identified on that list are located here in Georgia.

Pope McGlamry Is Meeting with SBC Sexual Assault Survivors

If you or a loved one have been a victim of sexual abuse as a member or while taking part in activities organized or led by SBC-affiliated churches, we want to help. Pope McGlamry helps sexual abuse survivors hold their abusers accountable. We are a nationally recognized class-action firm with the resources to take on large institutions. Our experienced attorneys are not only qualified but compassionate and prepared to fight on your behalf.

Get A Free, Confidential Case Evaluation

Contact us for a free consultation, where you can confidentially share your story and discuss your legal options.

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