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SBC leaders promise reforms

Southern Baptist Convention headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. Associated Press/Photo by Holly Meyer

SBC leaders promise reforms

In a special meeting Tuesday, 97 percent of Executive Committee members of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) voted to apologize for comments made in 2006 by the committee’s former vice president and general counsel Augie Boto. Boto wrote in a letter that “continued discourse between us [Executive Committee and survivor advocates] will not be positive or fruitful” — a statement many took to mean that SBC leaders did not want to hear from abuse survivors. The Executive Committee repented and said it viewed engaging with survivors as a critical step toward reform. Boto’s remarks were part of an explosive 288-page report the firm Guidepost Solutions compiled as part of a seven-month probe into how the Executive Committee handled sexual abuse cases over a more than 20-year time span.

What other changes are happening? Executive Committee general counsel Gene Besen said the committee will release to the public an internal list that staff members began compiling in 2007 of Baptist ministers accused of sexual abuse. By 2018, the list contained 585 names, even as the committee rejected survivors’ and advocates’ pleas for a public database to track accused ministers, Guidepost reported. Besen said Guidepost has the list and the committee will release it as soon as victims’ names are redacted and any unsubstantiated accusations are removed or substantiated.

Dig deeper: Read my report with Lynde Langdon on Monday on what the Guidepost investigation revealed.

Mary Jackson

Mary is a book reviewer and senior writer for WORLD. She is a World Journalism Institute and Greenville University graduate who previously worked for the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal. Mary resides with her family in the San Francisco Bay area.


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