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U.S. Southern Baptists release scathing report on sexual abuse

Stock Markets May 23, 2022 01:51PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. Members of the Southern Baptist Convention executive committee vote on a motion during their meeting at Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. June 14, 2021. Picture taken June 14, 2021. George Walker IV/USA Today Network via REUTERS 2/2

(This May 22 story corrects 2nd paragraph to say "information" instead of "secrets." Refers throughout to 'Convention' rather than 'church')

By Rich McKay

ATLANTA (Reuters) - For decades, complaints of sex abuse by pastors and staff in the largest U.S. Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, were either ignored or covered up by top clergy, according to an internal report released on Sunday.

The nearly 300-page report details how complaints were kept as "closely guarded information" within the Convention to avoid liability, "to exclusion of all other considerations," it said.

"In service to this goal, survivors and others who reported abuse were ignored, disbelieved," the report said, with leaders covering up accusations and allowing accused clergy members to remain pastors or in other positions of authority.

Lawsuits against the Convention were denigrated as "opportunistic" and not having merit, it added.

The year-long investigation was initiated by the Southern Baptist Convention in June 2021, when a stream of complaints were raised at its annual meeting. The complaints focused on sexual abuse by pastors and volunteers and the lack of response by the religious body's executive committee.

A representative of the Southern Baptist Convention, which claims more than 13 million members in the United States and more than 40 million worldwide, was not immediately available for comment.

The scandal echoes the one faced by the Roman Catholic Church, which has been rocked by allegations of sexual abuse, when the Boston Globe newspaper revealed in 2002 that church hierarchy covered up sexual misconduct by its clergy for decades.

The U.S. Catholic Church has paid out an estimated $3.2 billion to settle clergy abuse cases, according to BishopAccountability.org, which tracks the issue.

In 2019, the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News reported that more than 700 victims had been abused by pastors, leaders and volunteers in Southern Baptist congregations.

The Southern Baptist investigation was carried out by Guidepost Solutions LLC.

U.S. Southern Baptists release scathing report on sexual abuse
 

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Comments (6)
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi May 23, 2022 9:40AM ET
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"We are grieved by the findings of this investigation,....."  -- yeah sure, we believe you
CS Greer
CSGreer May 23, 2022 9:39AM ET
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Sure wish Hollywood would come out about theirs... I'm sure Reuters would ignore it though.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi May 23, 2022 9:39AM ET
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you do know of course "Hollywood" is not a single entity?
Rr Bb
Rr Bb May 22, 2022 11:58PM ET
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I saw something like this on Reddit. They went through and listed all of the Republicans in government accused of sex crimes. They didn't list ANY Democrats or Independents. The same goes here. It's just this one denomination and just one faith. It appears to be more of an attack against their affiliation than anything else. That happens everywhere in all faiths. I mean there's still countries who forcibly marry their children off or are involved in human trafficking. These people are making guys into predators for trying to talk to women period. Then there's the fact that women are a lot more sexual than whatever repressed culture they come from. I mean look at how many strip clubs there are, massage parlors, prostitutes, porn stars, etc. It's over 95% women and none of them are trafficked, or it's used as an excuse to get away with it.
gab nea
gab nea May 22, 2022 9:41PM ET
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the republicans have a high tolerance towards sexual assaulters in their rank.ex trump, kavanaugh, and many others. however the Republicans never had our trust, but the church did.
Jurgen Daub
Jurgen Daub May 22, 2022 9:41PM ET
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well. seems about 30% of Republicans (or is it 30% of americans) deeply trust the republican party.
Kerry Ditto
Kerry Ditto May 22, 2022 6:51PM ET
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This news being top means no news is good news in stock market.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright May 22, 2022 6:31PM ET
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And it is the conservatives who keep calling others pedos. I thin they've been projecting.
Options Trader
Options Trader May 22, 2022 6:31PM ET
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This is by no means acceptable. But open your eyes, sin is everywhere. The church is not excluded.
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 22, 2022 6:31PM ET
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Options Trader  But this article is about the church and all of its sins! Religion is the number one mental health issue facing the world today.
Options Trader
Options Trader May 22, 2022 6:31PM ET
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Chris Cummins Thanks for your opinion. I clearly unsterstand the purpose of the article. Sexual abuse in any form or location is dispicable. Sorry, i disagree with your final point. Jesus saved my life in more ways than i can count. It is not a mental state or a belief, but a path to freedom. As my original point stated, sin is everywhere. We are dead middle in a spiritual battle. I sincerely hope you find A relationship with Jesus. Have a good day.
gab nea
gab nea May 22, 2022 6:31PM ET
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are people downplaying the abuse and molestations of our kids by the church? shame on you!
CS Greer
CSGreer May 22, 2022 6:31PM ET
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Yet, you're always on here defending kiddy fiddler Joe.
 
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