This photo taken on February 12, 2019 shows the front page of the Houston Chronicle featuring a story on accusations of abuse in Southern Baptist churches at a gas station in Houston, Texas. – The United States’ largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, is facing a sexual abuse crisis after a bombshell report revealed hundreds of predators and more than 700 victims since 1998. The report by two Texas newspapers found some 380 church leaders and volunteers have faced public accusations of abuse, mostly of children as young as three years old. (Photo by Loren Elliott / AFP)
WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the United States’ largest Protestant denomination, published a 205-page list on Thursday of ministers and other church workers who have been accused of sexual abuse.
The public release of the list comes days after an independent investigation said the church had for years suppressed reports of sexual abuse against priests and church staff.
“This list is being made public for the first time as an initial, but important, step towards addressing the scourge of sexual abuse and implementing reform in the Convention,” the SBC said in a statement on its website.
Investigative firm Guidepost’s probe, published Sunday, found that for nearly two decades, survivors and advocates who sounded the alarm over sexual misconduct faced “resistance, stonewalling, and even outright hostility” from members of the church’s executive committee.
On Thursday, the SBC said that it hoped “that churches will utilize this list proactively to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us.”
The newly released list contains hundreds of entries — some of them partially or fully redacted — detailing allegations, convictions and some cases that were not reported to the police.
Some of the allegations in the list relate to the sexual abuse of children as young as five years old.
In 2019, a bombshell investigation by two Texas newspapers revealed hundreds of predators and more than 700 victims of sexual abuse within the SBC since 1998.
The SBC has thousands of churches and 15 million members, mostly in the southern United States.
© Agence France-Presse