Investigation Reveals Hundreds Of Victims Sexually Abused By Southern Baptist Church

A joint investigation by two Texas based newspapers
reveals hundreds of victims, including children, that were sexually abused by leaders and staff
in the Southern Baptist Church dating back more than 20 years. Mollye Barrows, legal journalist with the
Trial Lawyer Magazine here is, is with me to tell the story and Mollye I have to say,
when I first saw this, this was just one of those shocking headlines. 700, 700 people abused by leaders in this
Southern Baptist Church. The same group that had, you know, always
been saying how bad the Catholics were for this, but oh, behind closed doors, same thing’s
happening that’s happening within the Catholic church. You know, how widespread was all of this? It’s horrific really when you think about
it. Now this is a joint investigation between
two Texas based newspapers, the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express News. So they went back 20 years back to 1998. It’s a wide variety of allegations. More than 700 victims have come forward. And they’ve said that at least 250 through
a database that they collected six months worth of research, digging through court records,
documents, tracking down accusations, interviewing people, finding individuals. I say all that to say this, they discovered
that 250 of them had already been convicted of some sort of sex crime and there were some
380 that had also had some sort of allegation either level against them that they’d pled
no contest to or settled or somehow did not get punished or managed to avoid jail time. So it was interesting all the way around how
many people had charges against them of sexual misconduct and who was skirting the law. And yet also they found cases where some of
these churches knew that they had individuals working with them that had a past of sexual
predatory, a sexual predator past, and yet still hired them, whether it was a volunteer
or a church pastor, or a Sunday school minister. These are just organizations that are affiliated
with the Southern Baptist Convention all over Texas. And it’s such a wide variety of allegations
Farron. I mean everything from people saying that
they were molested as three year olds to teenagers being raped for multiple years and impregnated
by pastors. And yet it’s just a sick system that’s allowed
to continue, isn’t it? So, so how did this even come to light? I mean, I, these newspapers didn’t just say,
you know what, let’s just start. So what kind of kickstarted all this? It’s interesting because I think part of it
is that these victims have been coming forward for so long to the Southern Baptist Convention
and telling their stories and saying, you guys need to make changes within your organization
that prevents this kind of thing from happening. Right now, the way you’re set up, it makes
it easier, easy for predators to, to join your ranks and hide among your ranks because
there’s no database where they can say, hey, we had such and such a pastor working for
us. He had this criminal history or whatever,
and now we’re going to let the rest of the churches know. These churches are all run autonomously. So it’s basically the, the doctrine of the
way the Southern Baptist Convention works that enables this sort of predatory behavior. And I can’t, it came to light partial because
I think these survivors were telling their stories so much. And also, advocates we’re going forward and
saying, hey, there’s, there are things they can do. The Southern Baptist Convention is giving
you lip service. These are excuses. That’s the same thing the Mormon Church said,
well we, you know, we can only do so much and yet, you know, you can do it. You can report these crimes. You cannot pass the pastor on to the next
church or whoever the volunteer may be and, and not worn the congregation. They found instances where people had had
accusations against them and then they were allowed to leave quietly where they turn up
in another congregation that had no idea. And these are the same churches in some cases
where the Southern Baptist Convention is saying, hey, you’re accepting homosexuality or you’re
affirming that as a belief and we’re going to not affiliate with you anymore. And yet there’s no law against having a sexual
predator in your ranks. Right, and so you can judge a lot about a
group by how they react to something like this. So what’s been the actual reaction amongst
these southern Baptists to this news that, you know, maybe the, the guy they’ve been
listening to every Sunday has this torrid history? Sorrow was the word one administrator use,
talking to the reporters. They said it was an email and he said, you
know, we have so much sorrow when we hear these accusations akin to heart, you know,
thoughts and prayers when there’s a school shooting, they have sorrow when they hear
of people within their ranks in leadership and volunteers molesting children and people
of all ages really. And of course the fallout on these yet, young
lives is so horrific. I mean, then that’s some of what came out
in this reporting is there was one girl said she was molested by her choir teacher when
she was 14 years old. She was an up and coming model and that she
was so traumatized by the event. She tried to kill herself the next day, survived
that, but then turned to drugs years later and her mom spoke to these reporters and said,
I’m convinced she would have never gone gotten into drugs and died of an overdose if she
hadn’t been so traumatized by this event. So I think, you know, when they tell these
stories and then you have just the reaction of, oh well it’s, we’re, we’re super sorry
to hear that. But because of the autonomy and independence
of each of these individual, individual churches, there’s just not much that we can do. And it’s just, it’s just lip service at the
end of the day, you know. They’re saying that they could put in prevention
policies, they could put in some kind of requirement that would have these churches mandatory report
problem people, or at least keep a network and form. They, they certainly don’t have a hard time
fundraising or amazing money for mission trips or staying in or connected for any other number
of reasons that make them money. So why can’t changes being made that protect
the very people that are going to them for guidance, spiritual guidance. I mean, not only are they wrecked their lives,
in some cases emotionally because of the abuse I suffered, but also because the way the church
responded, it doubled, you know, insult to injury. It undermined their faith. So the whole reason they were going for support
to begin with, now their faith is decimated. So it’s just a sad story all the way around
in that regard. But good for these papers for bringing this
to light Farron. Absolutely, and thank you Mollye very much
for telling us this story today. Mollye Barrows with Trial Lawyer Magazine,
always appreciate it. Thank you. Thanks Farron.

7 thoughts on “Investigation Reveals Hundreds Of Victims Sexually Abused By Southern Baptist Church”

  1. So it's not only Catholics. This is an epidemic that has to be routed out. The Quicker the better. Is there anything holy anymore?

  2. It's evil that is trying to infiltrate the churches and destroy all that is good and holy! It's up to the leadership to show courage and purge these people Fri. the church and do everything they can to help support and heal those abused. There are evil people in the world and they will choose the places that are most vulnerable not only churches but schools, sports teams, wherever there are children. The coverup makes it worse! I pray for these young children who had there in innocense taken away, and healing in the churches.

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