A statement from the Southern Baptist Convention, the second largest faith group in the country, said that the organization was under federal investigation over accusations of mishandling sexual abuse claims.
The statement said that every entity of the SBC was “resolved to fully and completely cooperate” with the federal investigation, according to the Houston Chronicle.
A 300-page independent report in May found that leaders of the SBC had minimized sexual abuse claims for years and lied to congregants about them.
“Our investigation revealed that, for many years, a few senior EC leaders, along with outside counsel, largely controlled the EC’s response to these reports of abuse. They closely guarded information about abuse allegations and lawsuits, which were not shared with EC Trustees, and were singularly focused on avoiding liability for the SBC to the exclusion of other considerations,” the report said.
The SBC released a statement about the report.
“To the members of the survivor community, we are grieved by the findings of this investigation. We are committed to doing all we can to prevent future instances of sexual abuse in churches, to improve our response and our care, [and] to remove reporting roadblocks,” the statement read.
SBC president Ed Litton also released a statement calling for change ahead of a leadership meeting in Anaheim, California.
“Southern Baptists must resolve to change our culture and implement desperately needed reforms. The time is now,” he said.
“We have so much to lament, but genuine grief requires a godly response,” Litton added. “I pray Southern Baptists will begin preparing today to take deliberate action to address these failures and chart a new course when we meet together in Anaheim.”
Here’s more about the sexual abuse controversy:
‘This is an apocalypse’: Southern Baptist Convention leaders accused of covering up sex abuse