The upcoming Guidepost Solutions report on the investigation into Southern Baptist leaders' alleged mishandling of sexual abuse allegations has surpassed its estimated $1.3 million to $1.6 million cost.
According to The Christian Post, the report, set to be released ahead of the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in June, has cost the denomination $1,743,121 so far.
Sexual Abuse Task Force Chair Bruce Frank told Baptist Press that the cost of the investigation could be well over $2 million by now, but Guidepost gave the denomination a $458,154 credit on their February invoice.
"I am very grateful for the immense professionalism shown by Guidepost in dealing with a condensed time frame – due to EC delays – and a large project," Frank, who pastors Baltimore Church in Arden, North Carolina, told Baptist Press. "We are also grateful for the professional courtesy discount given by Guidepost due to this project's importance."
In February, the SBC's Executive Committee voted to increase its initial investigation budget of $1.6 million to $2 million. The EC also increased the denomination's budget for legal fees from $500,000 to $2 million.
Interim EC President and CEO Willie McLaurin told Baptist Press that the budget increases reflected SBC members' wishes.
"The final authority and final accountability for how funds are spent is given by the messengers and the convention," McLaurin said. "Southern Baptist can be confident that while the investigation focused on the Executive Committee, the EC has diligently fulfilled the request of the messengers by funding the investigation. I am incredibly thankful that for such a time as this, reserve funds were available to use without having impact on our cooperative work."
In June, the SBC EC announced the hiring of Guidepost Solutions to investigate accusations that SBC leaders mishandled sexual abuse allegations. Claims by former SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore that then-SBC President Ronnie Floyd and Georgia pastor Mike Stone had hindered attempts to handle the issue of abuse and intimidated abuse survivors are also being investigated.
According to The Christian Post, the investigation will review the "actions and decisions of staff and members of the Executive Committee" between January 1, 2000, and June 14, 2021.
It will also "review and enhance training provided to SBC Executive Committee staff and its board of trustees related to [matters of sex abuse], as well as its communications to cooperating churches and congregants in cooperating churches."
Photo courtesy: Southern Baptist Convention Facebook
Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.