DOJ Investigating sexual abuse allegations within Southern Baptist Convention

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 10:33 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating sexual abuse allegations within the Southern Baptist Convention.

The SBC says they received a letter from the DOJ, and they will fully cooperate with the investigation.

The Southern Baptist Convention, including the Executive Committee Members, seminary presidents, and heads of missionary organizations released this statement Friday afternoon.

“While we continue to grieve and lament past mistakes related to sexual abuse, current leaders across the SBC have demonstrated a firm conviction to address those issues of the past and are implementing measures to ensure they are never repeated in the future. The fact that the s-b-c committee recently completed a fully transparent investigation is evidence of this comment”, according to part of the statement.

In May, the SBC released its own report of hundreds of pastors or church leaders tied to sexual abuse allegations some of which were from middle Tennessee.

In a recent interview, Wednesday afternoon WSMV 4′s Danielle Jackson conducted a sit-down interview with Bart Barber, the SBC’s newly elected president.

He didn’t shy away from the SBC working to right the wrongs of the past sexual abuse allegations.

“That does not represent the teachings of Jesus the way that they were treated. It does not represent the feelings of Southern

Baptist because when our messengers came to voted overwhelming to do the right them by survivors of sexual abuse and respond in a way that’s more reflective in the teachings of Christ,” said Bart during an interview on August 10th.

In fact, Barber shared with WMSV the most recent initiatives the SBC has put in place to prevent sexual abuse within their entities.

They have formed a multi-year task force made up of nine people who will come up with recommendations.

“There are going to be evaluating all of the information that came in the guidepost report and I think every year for at least two years maybe three or four they’re going to be coming to the messengers who come from our local churches to our annual meeting and they’re going to be bring recommendations...Carefully researched they discussed with all of the stakeholders in the survivor community also discuss people with the Southern Baptist Convention to create the very best recommendations to adapt to our family of autonomous churches,” said Barber.

The statement from the Southern Baptist Convention over the DOJ investigation
The statement from the Southern Baptist Convention over the DOJ investigation(Courtesy of SBC)

WSMV reached out to the U.S. Department of Justice for more information on the specifics of this initial investigation and we’re waiting to hear back.

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