On Thursday night, top Southern Baptist Convention leaders released a 205-page list of pastors and church leaders accused of sexual abuse outside of and within the convention.
Until now, the list, which was revealed to have existed in the Guidepost Solutions SBC sex abuse report released to the public on Sunday, had remained undisclosed by former staff for over a decade.
According to the Associated Press, more than 700 names are on the list, which only includes people accused of sexual misconduct between 2000 to 2019.
In a joint statement by Rolland Slade, chairman of the SBC Executive Committee, and Willie McLaurin, the committee's interim president and CEO, the release of the list is "an initial, but important, step towards addressing the scourge of sexual abuse and implementing reform in the Convention."
"Each entry in this list reminds us of the devastation and destruction brought about by sexual abuse," they added. "Our prayer is that the survivors of these heinous acts find hope and healing, and that churches will utilize this list proactively to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us."
The list was initially compiled by SBC Executive Committee staff in 2007. The group used news articles and other reports regarding ministers accused of sexual abuse to create the document. According to the Tennessean, by 2008, one of the officials working to compile the list led the committee to dismiss a proposal for a clergy abuser database.
Of the hundreds of ministers listed in the report, nine remain in ministry, with two reportedly serving at SBC-affiliated churches. Guidepost Solutions received the list in the exact form it was released to the public. It features completed entries that note if there was "an admission, confession, guilty plea, conviction, judgment, sentencing, or inclusion on a sex offender registry."
Additionally, the names of survivors and other individuals unrelated to the offender are redacted.
"Other entries where preliminary research did not indicate a disposition that fits within the described parameters have been redacted. Entries that do not relate to sexual abuse or that resulted in an acquittal are also redacted," the joint statement by Slade and McLaurin noted.
They added that several redacted entries could possibly be publicly released after more research is conducted.
Christian Headlines counted more than 150 redacted entries.
Former SBC spokesman Roger Oldham and an unnamed employee kept the list for D. August "Augie" Boto, the committee's former vice president and general counsel. Boto also served as interim SBC president/CEO. Both Oldham and Boto retired in 2019.
In an agreement with Guidepost, the SBC's Executive Committee established a hotline to allow survivors to report allegations of sexual abuse within SBC churches. The hotline can be contacted at 202-864-5578 or [email protected].
Guidepost will not investigate new allegations and will keep the information confidential. The SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force, however, will set up processes for inquiries.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/EJ Rodriquez
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.