Georgia pastors, others on Southern Baptist list of alleged abusers

Due to the lack of investigation reflected in the document, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not repeat the names or the accusations against those mentioned.

Names from Georgia include pastors, youth ministers, deacons, Sunday school teachers, a former choir director and a volunteer. In addition to the 34 alleged abusers named in Georgia churches, the identities of six people in Georgia were redacted.

In Georgia, there are more than 3,370 Southern Baptist churches.

The release of the list to the public closely follows the release Sunday of a lengthy independent investigation by Guidepost Solutions that examined hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse against Southern Baptist pastors, employees and volunteers.

The SBC said further investigation and analysis of the redacted entries will be carried out and anticipates that some of those entries will be published in the future.

“We felt it was more important to publish the list and redact it rather than delay and investigate it,” according to a joint statement from Executive Committee Chairman Rolland Slade and Willie McLaurin, its interim chairman and CEO.

The SBC, with nearly 14 million members, is the largest Protestant denomination. He has come under fire, internally and externally, for the way he has mishandled allegations of sexual abuse and mistreatment of victims.

David Pittman, a survivor who said he was sexually abused by his church’s youth minister for three years, starting when he was 12, he had mixed feelings about the list.

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“It’s nice to see the names, but it’s also very irritating because it shows all the time that Southern Baptists can keep a list and a file, but they didn’t,” said Pittman, who grew up in Tucker and now lives in Florida. , where she works with survivors of child sexual abuse.”

She is angry that the name of her alleged abuser, who she said still works at a church in Georgia, was not included. “It means that all my efforts were ignored,” she said.

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The list was released as an “important step in addressing the scourge of sexual abuse and implementing reform in the Convention,” according to a joint statement by Executive Committee Chairman Rolland Slade; and Willie McLaurin, its interim president and chief executive officer.

“Each entry on this list reminds us of the devastation and destruction wrought by sexual abuse. Our prayer is that survivors of these heinous acts find hope and healing, and that churches proactively use this list to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us.”

The SBC published the list in the exact form it was provided to Guidepost, according to the statement. has been there have been no additions or alterations, however the names of witnesses, victims and those with “unsubstantiated” accusations against them have been redacted.

What it does include are entries that come from an admission, confession, guilty plea, conviction, trial, sentence, or listing on a sex offender registry.

In 2019, the Houston Chronicle published a series of articles about abuse cases in Southern Baptist churches across the country.

At age 15, Christa Brown said the grooming was initiated by her church’s education and youth minister and that the sexual assaults began when she was 16. That minister later moved to a Southern Baptist church in the Atlanta area.

“This list is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Brown, a retired attorney who lives in Colorado. “There are so many more… When it comes to child sexual abuse, perpetrators who are criminally convicted are the smallest tip of the iceberg.”

She said she hoped people would look up the list. “People in the pews need to know where and who these men are. Even if their children are adults, they need to talk to their children.”

The sexual abuse allegations are one of several issues the denomination has faced in recent years that include issues of race and gender.

The Guidepost report was released just weeks before next month’s 2022 SBC Annual Meeting & Pastors’ Conference in Anaheim, California.

The SBC is made up of autonomous churches and does not have a hierarchical structure like the Roman Catholic Church.

The Rev. Bryant Wright, former president of the SBC and president of Send Relief, an international relief organization, called the independent report and subsequent list of alleged abusers “heartbreaking for everyone in multiple ways, but above all, we all grieve for the victims.” At the same time, as discouraging as the report is, I am grateful that the sinful problem is being addressed.”

For survivors of sexual abuse:

Survivors will be notified of care options and put in contact with an advocate. (The hotline is 202-864-5578 or SBChotline@guidepostsolutions.com).

SNAP (Priest Abuse Survivors Network) or 1-877-SNAP-HEALS (1-877-762-7432)

Together We Heal (together-we-heal.org) or 754-234-7975

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