On May 22, 2022, the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention (“SBC”) released a 288-page report by Guidepost Solutions, detailing the results of its independent investigation into allegations of sexual abuse within SBC-affiliated churches.
In the report, Guidepost described how the SBC Executive Committee stonewalled and denigrated survivors of clergy sex abuse over the last two decades. The report further detailed how two former SBC staff members maintained a secret list of reports accusing Baptist ministers of sexual abuse, with no indication that any action was taken to ensure that those ministers were not in positions of power at SBC churches. On May 27, 2022, the Executive Committee published an additional, 205-page list containing more than 700 entries from sex abuse cases that largely span from 2000 to 2019. At least 35 of those entries identify accused sexual abusers with ties to Alabama.
These recent publications have revealed that there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of instances of alleged sexual assault and abuse by clergy and other personnel working for churches affiliated with the SBC, including churches in Alabama. The SBC is the largest protestant denomination in the United States, with approximately 14 million members nationwide. It is also the largest denomination of any kind in Alabama, with almost one million of Alabama’s 4.8 million people have belonged to one of the approximately 3,200 churches within the state affiliated with the SBC in 2015.
Now is the time for victims to come forward to seek justice for the sexual abuse they have suffered. Much of that abuse likely could have been prevented if the SBC Executive Committee had acted on reports and complaints made to them and local SBC-affiliated churches had exhibited greater awareness and diligence to protect their membership. The most important thing to know is that, in order to pursue a claim, you need to act quickly. Coming forward is a difficult decision to make, but the delay can dramatically affect whether a lawsuit can be filed. There are laws establishing how soon a victim of wrongdoing must file suit in court after suffering an injury, although such time limits may be extended in certain circumstances, including when the victim has suffered sexual abuse or other injuries when they were still a minor.It takes courage for survivors to come forward, and, as with all of our cases, Glenda Cochran Associates Attorneys at Law are here for our clients every step. If you want to reach out for a free consultation of your case, you decide the way you want to communicate, whether in person, by phone, or by letter. You may also remain anonymous while we discuss your case. Everything you say to our attorneys and staff is privileged under the law. All discussions remain strictly confidential — even if you do not hire us to handle your case. Call us for a free consultation at (205) 328-5050, or toll-free at (888) 906-3955, or fill out a contact form today.