The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) released the results of a major independent investigation in May 2022 indicating that church leaders ignored and covered up claims of sexual abuse for decades. The largest protestant denomination in America, the SBC is a loosely connected group of over 47,000 individual churches with more than 14 million members. The revelations suggested a pattern of inaction by high-ranking staff and prompted comparisons with the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.
Accusations of Sexual Abuse in Southern Baptist Churches
In 2019, the Houston Chronicle helped break the news about sexual abuse in SBC churches. The story indicated that not only did the Southern Baptist Convention routinely mishandle reports of sex abuse, but also that hundreds of church leaders and volunteers had been criminally charged with sex crimes. Reporters found nearly 700 alleged victims—mostly children—who were sexually abused in a 20-year span. This bombshell news prompted the SBC to request a third-party inquiry into the sex abuse claims.
After months of investigating, Guidepost Solutions issued an extensive report confirming previous suggestions that Southern Baptist executives ignored sexual abuse claims, resisted reforms that may have prevented further abuse, and even shamed or mocked sex abuse survivors. The investigation also released a bombshell of its own: that the SBC kept a secret list of hundreds of pastors and other church-affiliated personnel accused of sexual abuse, all while refusing to act on abuse claims. The Southern Baptist Convention made the list of alleged abusers public soon after the report was released.
Southern Baptist Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
Lawyers are now accepting inquiries from sex abuse survivors who say that Southern Baptist leaders knew about the problem, but did nothing to warn or protect church members. In fact, according to the Guidepost investigation, SBC executives focused more on avoiding legal liability than on reforming the organization or helping victims of sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches. After the release of the recent report, hundreds or even thousands of victims could eventually file SBC sex abuse lawsuits.
SBC Sexual Abuse Lawyers
If you or your child experienced sexual abuse by a member of the Southern Baptist Convention or other religious organization, we are here to help. The clergy sexual abuse lawyers at Altman & Altman LLP work to protect the rights of survivors while holding abusers accountable for their actions. We understand that filing an SBC sex abuse lawsuit can bring up painful feelings and involve sensitive information. Our attorneys are committed to handling your case in the most respectful, least intrusive way possible.
Even if the abuse happened years ago, it may not be too late to file an SBC lawsuit. In Massachusetts, claims involving the sexual abuse of minors can often be filed decades after the abuse occurred. Sexual assault victims may be able to sue the abuser as well as the religious organization that employed the abuser. So contact us for a free, confidential consultation on your church sex abuse case today. Call Altman & Altman LLP at 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199 (toll-free) or contact us online.