May 27, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Southern Baptist Convention publishes list of accused sex abusers

 A small group of protesters fighting various forms of abuse within the church engage passersby outside at the Southern Baptist Convention meeting on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 in Dallas, Texas.
A group of protesters outside the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas. Photo: Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Southern Baptist Convention published a list on Thursday evening of hundreds of clergy and other church staff who've been "credibly accused" of sexual abuse.

What they're saying: The release of the 205-page list marks "an initial, but important, step towards addressing the scourge of sexual abuse and implementing reform in the Convention," per a statement from Rolland Slade, chair of the SBC Executive Committee, and Willie McLaurin, the EC's interim president and CEO.

  • "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," they added.

Driving the news: A damning report published last Sunday found leaders of the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. mishandled sexual abuse claims and stonewalled survivors over a 20-year period.

  • The newly released list is a version of a previously secret document maintained for over a decade by executive committee staff.

The big picture: Divisions in the evangelical Christian denomination emerged after the clergy abuse allegations came to the fore in a joint 2019 investigative report by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News.

  • Many of the names in the list appear in those reports and also court documents in criminal and civil suits, the New York Times notes.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with further context.

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