(RNS) — Leaders on the Southern Baptist Conference’s Government Committee launched a previously secret listing Thursday (Could 26) of sexual abusers, which had been stored by SBC employees since 2007.
The 205-page listing consists of particulars about 700 instances of abuse by pastors, Sunday faculty lecturers, camp counselors, music ministers, bus drivers and missionaries, with about 400 tied to SBC church buildings from Alaska to Alabama. In nearly the entire instances, the abuse had led to arrests and jail time.
Based on an outline from Guidepost Options, the agency that uncovered the listing as a part of a multimillion-dollar investigation into how SBC leaders handled abuse, the listing started as a analysis undertaking for an SBC committee in 2007.
That committee was trying into the potential for making a database of Southern Baptist abusers, an concept proposed by Oklahoma pastor Wade Burleson on the SBC’s 2007 annual assembly. On the time, the SBC was coping with the aftermath of an ABC Information report detailing abuse amongst Southern Baptists and different Protestants.
“My purpose was to stop responsible SBC ministers from transferring to a different church or denomination to solely re-offend,” Burleson wrote in a latest weblog publish.
Based on the Guidepost report, an unnamed Government Committee staffer started an preliminary seek for Baptists accused of abuse and located the names of 66 “pastors, youth ministers, and deacons of Baptist church buildings who had been arrested or the topic of a civil swimsuit relating to sexual crimes with minors.”
Government Committee employees then labored to find out whether or not the alleged abuser or that individual’s church was a part of the SBC, and tracked whether or not there have been convictions, typically by including hyperlinks to information tales.
These names got to August “Augie” Boto, a longtime employees lawyer who spent years attempting to protect the denomination from any legal responsibility for abuse, in accordance with the Guidepost report. The database concept was rejected by the Government Committee in 2008, largely on Boto’s recommendation. Even so, the unnamed staffer continued to replace the listing till not too long ago.
This week, after the discharge of the Guidepost report, the Government Committee publicly rejected Boto’s previous therapy of abuse survivors and promised to fix its methods.
Releasing the listing — the existence of which was unknown to present SBC leaders earlier than the Guidepost report — is a part of “addressing the scourge of sexual abuse and implementing reform within the Conference,” Government Committee Chairman Rolland Slade and interim president/CEO Willie McLaurin stated in an announcement.
“Every entry on this listing reminds us of the devastation and destruction led to by sexual abuse. Our prayer is that the survivors of those heinous acts discover hope and therapeutic, and that church buildings will make the most of this listing proactively to guard and look after essentially the most weak amongst us,” they stated.
The listing was compiled principally from printed experiences about convicted abusers, principally taken from information tales. SBC legal professionals redacted the listing to take out the names of abuse survivors and in some instances, the main points of the allegations.
Listed below are quite a lot of key particulars included within the not too long ago revealed list:
Quite a lot of distinguished SBC megachurches have handled abuse
The listing included abuse instances at a number of the largest church buildings within the SBC. Among the many abusers on the listing had been a pair of former ministers at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas, which is led by former SBC President and Trump adviser Jack Graham; a contract worker who organized choir pageants at Second Baptist Church in Houston, led by former SBC President Ed Younger; an affiliate pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church close to Memphis, led by former SBC President Steve Gaines; and a volunteer youth mentor at Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, led by bestselling writer Rick Warren. Each Gaines and Graham have been accused of mishandling abuse allegations, one thing Graham has lengthy denied.
The listing additionally included abuse instances from Baptist church buildings not affiliated with the SBC, similar to First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, and Sixteenth Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
Quite a lot of abusers labored at Baptist camps and colleges or drove buses
The listing included lecturers and camp employees, together with Michael Phillip Latham, a former camp director on the Glorieta in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and director of a Baptist camp in Louisiana, who was convicted in 2012 for sending obscene photographs over the web. Sammy Allen Nuckolls, a Southern Baptist evangelist and former camp pastor convicted of video voyeurism; and Daniel Montague Acker Jr., a schoolteacher and college bus driver, who was sentenced to 17 years in jail after he ”admitted to sexually abusing 20 women” over a 25-year interval, in accordance with the listing. Acker later admitted extra abuse in 1992, whereas serving as a youth pastor.
The abuse ranged from 1967 to 2021
The earliest case of alleged abuse on the listing concerned a former Southern Baptist missionary who was accused of abusing missionary kids within the late Sixties and early Nineteen Seventies, however no expenses had been filed. One other former missionary, Mark Aderholt, was convicted in 2018 after admitting to abuse that occurred when he was a seminary scholar.
The listing additionally particulars abuse by Dale “Dickie” Amyx, a Texas pastor who was accused of abusing an adolescent within the Nineteen Seventies and was convicted of giving alcohol to a minor. He was later sued in 2006, whereas serving as a pastor at one other Texas church. The case was settled out of court docket with an apology and public request for forgiveness.
The longest merchandise within the listing particulars the abuse of convicted intercourse offender Darrell Gilyard, who was a protégé of former SBC Presidents Jerry Vines and Paige Patterson. Gilyard was fired from a number of church buildings for alleged misconduct and was convicted in 2009 on molestation expenses involving teenage women. He later was employed by a Florida church after getting out of jail.
Some abusers on the listing are nonetheless lively in ministry
As a part of Guidepost’s investigation, its employees found that 9 of the individuals included on the listing should be in lively ministry, together with two who’ve ties to an SBC church. These church buildings have been reported to the SBC’s credentials committee, which has the facility to suggest these church buildings be expelled from the SBC.
A number of SBC seminaries are included on the listing
The listing particulars that in 2008, a registered intercourse offender was enrolled at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and dwelling on campus. David Sills, a former Southern professor, can also be on the listing. He resigned in 2018 after admitting to abusing a former scholar. In 2007, a Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary trustee pleaded responsible to “aiding and abetting prostitution.” That very same yr, an SEBTS scholar was sentenced for 13 years in jail for abuse of a minor whereas one other scholar was arrested for abuse of a 10-year-old.
Together with releasing the abuser listing, SBC officers have taken quite a lot of actions because the launch of the Guidepost report. Most notably, the Government Committee has employed Guidepost to run a confidential hotline for reporting abuse allegations. These allegations could be reported to 202-864-5578 or [email protected].
That hotline was an interim step whereas the SBC considers a set of suggestions from Guidepost for future actions. The SBC’s North American Mission Board stated it’s working to have Guidepost examine any allegations in opposition to its employees which can be made to the hotline.
Former SBC President Johnny Hunt, who was accused of abuse within the Guidestone report, posted a letter on Twitter Friday asking his longtime church to forgive him for a “sin” that occurred in 2010. Hunt stated that in 2010, after a bout with most cancers and the tip of his SBC presidency, he fell into “a season of deep despair and doubtless medical melancholy.”
“It was throughout that summer season that I allowed myself to get too near a compromising state of affairs with a girl who was not my spouse,” he wrote. “It occurred when she invited me into her trip condominium for a dialog. In opposition to my higher judgment — I selected to go.”
Hunt then stated a “temporary however improper encounter” ensued, ending when he had an “overwhelming sense of conviction” and fled.
The Guidestone report described that encounter in another way, saying that Hunt allegedly pinned the youthful lady down, bought on prime of her and pulled up her shirt. Investigators discovered a number of witnesses who corroborated the allegations, saying that Hunt had admitted the assault and had gone on depart in 2010. Additionally they spoke with a counselor who had recommended Hunt and the survivor.
“We embrace this sexual assault allegation within the report as a result of our investigators discovered the pastor and his spouse to be credible,” Guidepost wrote in its report, saying, “their report was corroborated partly by a counseling minister and three different credible witnesses; and our investigators didn’t discover Dr. Hunt’s statements associated to the sexual assault allegation to be credible.”
Hunt, who had beforehand denied the allegation, did so once more in his letter, saying that the Guidepost report included the “absurd allegation” that the “temporary, consensual encounter” in 2010 was abuse. He did declare that he apologized in 2010.
“As I did 12 years in the past, and once more at this time, I confess that I sinned. I crossed a line. I repent in brokenness and disgrace,” he wrote.
“Please forgive me.”
Adelle M. Banks contributed to this report.