Southern Baptists say denomination faces DOJ investigation

A cross and Bible sculpture stand outside the house the Southern Baptist Conference headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., on May perhaps 24, 2022. The Government Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention explained Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, that a number of of the denomination’s main entities are under investigation by the U.S. Division of Justice. (AP Picture/Holly Meyer, File)

Southern Baptists say denomination faces DOJ investigation

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August 12, 09:00 PM August 12, 09:00 PM

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention claimed Friday that several of the denomination’s significant entities are below investigation by the U.S. Division of Justice in the wake of its multiple issues linked to clergy sexual intercourse abuse.

The SBC’s Govt Committee has obtained a subpoena, but no folks have been subpoenaed at this stage, according to the committee’s attorneys.

“This is an ongoing investigation and we are not commenting on our discussions with DOJ,” they stated.

The assertion from SBC leaders — such as Government Committee members, seminary presidents and heads of mission organizations — gave couple of specifics about the investigation, but indicated it dealt with common sexual abuse troubles that have rocked the greatest Protestant denomination in the U.S.

“Independently and collectively just about every SBC entity is fixed to totally and completely cooperate with the investigation,” the assertion stated. “Even though we continue to grieve and lament previous issues related to sexual abuse, existing leaders throughout the SBC have shown a company conviction to tackle individuals challenges of the past and are utilizing actions to assure they are never ever recurring in the upcoming.”

There was no rapid comment from the Justice Office about the investigation.

Previously this 12 months, an SBC intercourse abuse job power launched a blistering 288-web page report from outdoors marketing consultant, Guidepost Options. The firm’s seven-month unbiased investigation found disturbing aspects about how denominational leaders mishandled sex abuse claims and mistreated victims.

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The report targeted especially on how the SBC’s Government Committee responded to abuse situations, revealing that it had secretly taken care of a record of clergy and other church staff accused of abuse. The committee afterwards apologized and introduced the list, which experienced hundreds of accused employees on it.

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

Pursuing the release of the Guidepost report, the SBC voted for the duration of its yearly meeting in June to developed a way to track pastors and other church workers credibly accused of sexual intercourse abuse and launch a new job drive to oversee more reforms. Previously this 7 days, SBC President Bart Barber, who also signed Friday’s statement, introduced the names of the Southern Baptist pastors and church customers who will provide on the job power.

Southern Baptist sexual intercourse abuse survivor Christa Brown, who has extensive referred to as for the SBC to do far more to address sexual intercourse abuse across its churches, celebrated the news of the DOJ investigation.

“Hallelujah. It can be about time,” Brown claimed in a Friday publish on Twitter. “This is what’s wanted.”

One more survivor, Jules Woodson, went general public with her abuse tale in 2018 and has been pushing for reforms in the SBC at any time given that. On Friday, she reacted to the investigation information by tweeting, “May justice roll down!!!”

Oklahoma pastor Mike Keahbone, who serves on the Govt Committee and is the vice chair of the new abuse undertaking force, said on Twitter that the investigation “is not some thing to panic … If there is additional operate to do, we will do it.”

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