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Parishioners of Southern Baptist Report Sexual Abuse by Staff Members and Clergy

Sexual Abuse AttorneysPeople have always placed a high level of faith in religious institutions. Some people, however, have become wary of naively trusting clergy or staff in recent decades due to claims of sexual abuse that have surfaced across many religious traditions. The Southern Baptist Convention has been at the center of one of the most recent sexual abuse scandals. Members of the Southern Baptist Convention (“SBC”) have reportedly begun speaking out about their experiences with sexual assault. The fact that both adults and children seem to have been targeted distinguishes this story from others that have surfaced in recent years.

It is crucial that you know your legal options if you or your child were victims of sexual abuse caused by a Southern Baptist Convention clergy member or employee. Churches and other places of worship have a responsibility to protect the welfare of their members, including adults and children. When members of the clergy or church personnel misuse their position of trust by engaging in sexual misconduct, the church may be held financially responsible for the victims. Contact a qualified sexual assault attorney right now if you have questions concerning sexual abuse cases involving Southern Baptists by completing our online form or giving them a call at 866-778-5500.

About the Southern Baptist Convention

Since its founding in 1845, the Southern Baptist Convention has served as a Christian organization for millions of Americans. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is the largest Baptist organization in the world, representing over 47,000 congregations and 13 million members. Nearly $9.7 billion was contributed to the SBC by its members in 2021.

Did Southern Baptist Convention’s Leadership Know About the Sexual Abuse?

The Guidepost Solutions investigation confirms that high-ranking Southern Baptist Convention officials, including numerous members of the Executive Committee, were aware of the claims of abuse. Not only were the parishioners’ concerns ignored, but they actively tried to hide the evidence. Even though the Executive Committee was aware that numerous clergy members had been convicted of sexual crimes, these individuals reportedly continued to serve as clergy.

Did Southern Baptist Convention Clergy Sexually Abuse Children?

The Southern Baptist Convention has a long history of sexual assault, stretching back to at least the 1990s, as shown by several revelations by investigative journalists and independent groups. In 1999, the Houston Chronicle reported the first of several shocking stories detailing the alleged crimes perpetrated by staff and clergy members. As a result, many in the church were concerned, and the SBC Executive Committee contracted with Guidepost Solutions to produce an impartial study on sexual assault inside the Southern Baptist Convention.

The Guidepost Solutions investigation confirmed the recurring pattern of abuse that had been suggested in the Houston Chronicle story. Many members of the clergy and personnel are named in the Guidepost Solutions report as having been accused of abuse. Among the SBC employees and ministers who have been accused of sexual misconduct are:

Frank Page –During 2006 and 2007, he was the president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Page was officially elected president of the Executive Committee in 2019. As an interim pastor, he had an inappropriate relationship with a woman, which led to his resignation in 2018.

Ronnie Floyd – Former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Executive Committee from April 2019 to October 2021, when he resigned in the wake of the SBC sexual assault controversy.

Jim Guenther –Represented the Executive Committee on legal matters. He left his position not long after the Executive Committee decided to forego attorney-client privilege in regard to the Guidepost Solutions probe.

August “Augie” Boto – On the SBC Executive Committee from 1995 to 2019, where he held the positions of vice president for convention policy, executive vice president, and general counsel.

Roger “Sing” Oldham –Convention communications and relations vice president for the Executive Committee from 2007 to 2019.

As a result of these claims, the US Department of Justice began looking into sexual assault claims inside the Southern Baptist Convention.

Is it Possible to Hold Southern Baptist Clergy Accountable for Sexual Misconduct?

No Fee PromiseA large number of employees and clergy members who were accused of sexual assault have been detained or are being investigated. Even if these cases go to trial and the offender is found guilty or pleads guilty, the victims of abuse will not benefit much. Victims of sexual assault in the Southern Baptist Convention may file a claim for damages against the offender. When compared to criminal proceedings, personal injury claims are initiated by the victim rather than the state. A sexual assault victim who successfully files a lawsuit against an SBC member may be eligible to receive financial compensation for the damages resulting from the attack.

Survivors of sexual assault may, under personal injury law, include the SBC as a defendant in a lawsuit against the SBC. The grounds for holding the church accountable are significantly different, however, since a church is not inherently liable for the sexual misbehavior of clergy members. To be able to hold the Southern Baptist Convention financially liable, a victim must prove that the SBC was aware of the sexual assault but did nothing to stop it or prevent such abuse in the future.

If you or your loved one was the victim of a sexual assault at the hands of Southern Baptist Clergy, contact our sexual assault attorneys at 866-778-5500 or complete our online form for a free consultation to learn your legal options.

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