A statement on the release of a list of alleged abusers

A joint statement from Willie McLaurin and Rolland Slade:

The recently released Guidepost report revealed a list of alleged abusers compiled by a former employee of the SBC Executive Committee. This list is being made public for the first time as an initial, but important, step towards addressing the scourge of sexual abuse and implementing reform in the Convention. Each entry in this list reminds us of the devastation and destruction brought about by sexual abuse. Our prayer is that the survivors of these heinous acts find hope and healing, and that churches will utilize this list proactively to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us.

Our God invites us to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God. (Micah 6:8). As a network of Great Commission churches, we are commissioned to live out the Great Commandment and to fulfill the Great Commission. It is our hope that releasing this list places a spotlight on truth and transparency. Southern Baptists have made it clear that transparency in the area of sex abuse should be the norm.

We are releasing the list in the exact form that it was provided to Guidepost Solutions by an Executive Committee staff member. We have not made any additions to the list, nor any alterations other than converting it from Microsoft Word to portable document format (“pdf”) format and redacting information as detailed below.

In making redaction decisions, counsel to the Executive Committee included, in their entirety, entries that reference an admission, confession, guilty plea, conviction, judgment, sentencing, or inclusion on a sex offender registry. The only exception to those entries is the redaction of names or identifying information of survivors and/or other individuals unrelated to the offender. Many of the entries list either an arrest or charges, but no disposition. Since May 24, 2022, counsel to the Executive Committee has done preliminary research and, where guilty pleas, convictions, judgments, sentences, and/or inclusion on a sex offender registry could be easily verified, the entry was left unredacted. Other entries where preliminary research did not indicate a disposition that fits within the described parameters have been redacted. Entries that do not relate to sexual abuse or that resulted in an acquittal are also redacted.

We note that there will be more exhaustive research and analysis of the redacted entries and we anticipate that some of the redacted entries will be fully released in the future. We felt it was more important to release the list and redact rather than delay and investigate.

Willie McLaurin - Interim President/CEO, SBC Executive Committee

Rolland Slade - Chairman, SBC Executive Committee

A joint statement on the creation of an SBC Sexual Abuse Hotline:

Since the release of the Guidepost report on Sunday, the SBC Executive Committee, Guidepost Solutions, and members of the Sexual Abuse Task Force have been fielding calls from survivors regarding allegations of sexual abuse. Today, the SBC Executive Committee entered into an agreement for Guidepost to maintain a hotline for survivors or their proxies to submit allegations of abuse within the SBC. All submitters will remain confidential. Survivors will be notified of the available options for care and will be put in touch with an advocate.

While Guidepost will not be inquiring into the allegations at this time, they will hold the information confidentially. The Sexual Abuse Task Force will be assisting the SBC Executive Committee and the Convention in establishing processes for proper inquiries, and this hotline will serve as a resource to survivors and entities in responding properly while we work to put more permanent procedures in place. This hotline will be an important stopgap measure for survivors between now and the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim, when the messengers can pass even more meaningful reforms.

The hotline can be reached at 202-864-5578 or SBChotline@guidepostsolutions.com.

Willie McLaurin, interim president/CEO, SBC Executive Committee

Julie Myers Wood, Guidepost Solutions

SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force

  • Bruce Frank, lead pastor, Biltmore Baptist Church, Arden, N.C.
  • Marshall Blalock, pastor, First Baptist Church, Charleston, S.C.
  • John Damon, chief executive officer, Canopy Children’s Solutions, Jackson, Miss.
  • Liz Evan, judicial law clerk, Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Heather Evans, director, Evans Counseling Services, Coopersburg, Pa.
  • Andrew Hébert, lead pastor, Paramount Baptist Church, Amarillo, Texas.
  • Bucas Sterling III, senior pastor, Kettering Baptist Church, Upper Marlboro, Md.
  • Rachael Denhollander, task force advisor
  • Chris Moles, task force advisor

A Statement Regarding Former General Counsel D. August Boto

A statement from the SBC Executive Committee:

As Southern Baptists review Guidepost’s report and the recommendations of the Sexual Abuse Task Force, the SBC Executive Committee would like to address statements it has previously made, including, but not limited to, the September 29, 2006 statement by then-SBC Executive Committee vice president and general counsel, D. August Boto, in which he concludes that a “continued discourse between us [the Executive Committee and Survivor advocates] will not be positive or fruitful.”

The SBC Executive Committee rejects this sentiment in its entirety and seeks to publicly repent for its failure to rectify this position and wholeheartedly listen to survivors. Today, in the immediate aftermath of the report’s release, the SBC Executive Committee seeks to make clear that it views engaging with survivors as a critical step toward healing our Convention from the scourge of sexual abuse and working to avoid its continued impact on our loved ones, their families, and our network of churches.

A Statement in Response to the Release of the SATF Report

A statement from Willie McLaurin and Rolland Slade:

This afternoon we received—and are reviewing—the report from the Sexual Abuse Task Force. 

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, to remove reporting roadblocks, and to respond to the will of the messengers in Anaheim next month.

This important report reflects months of thoughtful, careful, and diligent work by chairman Bruce Frank, task force members, and Guidepost Solutions. We sincerely express our heartfelt appreciation for their diligent and thorough work. 

To the members of the Sexual Abuse Task Force, your work is a major contribution that will help ensure Southern Baptist churches are safer for women, men, girls, and boys. Southern Baptists owe you a debt of immense gratitude.

This is the beginning of a season of listening, lamenting and learning how to address sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention. And this report contains recommendations to guide us how to appropriately respond to: 

  • Allegations of abuse.
  • Mishandling of abuse.
  • Mistreatment of victims.
  • Patterns of intimidation of victims or advocates.
  • Resistance to sexual abuse reform initiatives. 

God has blessed the Sexual Abuse Task Force and Guidepost with His wisdom in developing this report and offering insight into how we all can take steps to eliminate sexual abuse within the Convention. In striving for this goal, we recognize there are no shortcuts. We must all meet this challenge through prudent and prayerful application, and we must do so with Christ-like compassion.

We have requested the members and staff of the SBC Executive Committee to closely examine the findings and recommendations of this report and begin formulating how they might be incorporated into Southern Baptist Convention polity and structure. On Tuesday, May 24, the SBC Executive Committee will hold a special-called meeting to discuss and process this report.

To the members of SBC churches, we ask for continued prayers for wisdom as the Sexual Abuse Task Force and the SBC Executive Committee move through the process that Southern Baptists have asked us to do.

Rolland Slade
Chairman, SBC Executive Committee

Willie McLaurin
Interim President/CEO, SBC Executive Committee

A Statement from the SBC Executive Committee

“With one collective voice our Convention is expressing its concern for victims of sexual abuse and that is a very good thing. The executive committee leadership also appreciates the continued engagement & active interest of Southern Baptists nationwide in this process.

However, we are concerned that too many of the statements issued reflect disinformation, half truths, and mischaracterizations of the motives and actions of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is committed to fulfilling the will of the messengers including by granting appropriate access to investigators to the documents and information they request to do their work. There is no attempt to defy the messengers or hide information from investigators.

The Executive Committee has been working to get the Task Force to consider a process that will be thorough, transparent and allow for the full truth to the published. We are confident that the intent of the messengers to the 2021 annual meeting can be accomplished without risking unnecessary damage to the Southern Baptist Convention. For instance, the Task Force admits their process may cause the loss of the Convention’s insurance.

Our prayers are for an outcome which meets the needs of the Convention to know the full truth and allows our Trustees to fulfill their fiduciary duties, in compliance with the law. We hope for an ultimate decision which merits the vast majority of the board’s support so that all Southern Baptists can be confident in the final product. Those who appeal alone to divine intervention to protect the Convention also wear safety belts when they drive and insure their vehicles and their homes.”

—SBC Executive Committee Spokesperson

A Statement Regarding the Selection of Guidepost Solutions by the SBC Presidential Task Force

NASHVILLE -- The SBC Executive Committee has issued the following statement in response to the selection of Guidepost Solutions to administrate the independent, third-party review of the Executive Committee initiated by the messengers to the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting:

“Now, nearly three months after the Annual Meeting, the Executive Committee welcomes the announcement that Guidepost Solutions has been chosen by the task force to conduct the third-party inquiry of the Executive Committee. We remind Southern Baptists that the Executive Committee selected Guidepost itself when it sought its own external review just prior to the Annual Meeting. We look forward to meeting again with Guidepost in order to expeditiously coordinate our activities in support of their important work.

Also, in response to considerable and unhelpful speculation, we would like to make one additional point clear: the Executive Committee leadership is not opposed in principle to requests for the waiving of attorney-client privilege considerations when it is relevant, it is appropriate, and it is in consultation with the third party commissioned to conduct the inquiry, Guidepost. Speculation to the contrary is internet rumor and untrue.

Ultimately, these are decisions for the Executive Committee’s Board of Trustees and we are working to provide information to the Board of Trustees so they can make informed decisions they deem appropriate within the confines of all legal (i.e. fiduciary) considerations as everyone seeks to appropriately implement the will of the messengers.

We urge the public to leave this review now to Guidepost and the Executive Committee to be handled in an appropriate and professional manner on behalf of all Southern Baptists.”

A statement regarding the motion related to the handling of an independent review by the SBC Executive Committee

NASHVILLE -- The Office of the President of the SBC Executive Committee has issued the following statement in response a motion presented during the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting related to an independent review of its handling of sexual abuse issues:

“The SBC Executive Committee thanks the messengers for their passionate concern. Alongside SBC president Ed Litton, and in consultation with the full SBC Executive Committee, our legal team, and other advisors, we will work to expeditiously implement today’s motion. It has always been our intention to be forthright and transparent in this process. Today’s decision, in whose outcome we are confident, will have the ultimate blessing of removing all doubt in the minds of our community of Southern Baptists allowing us to chart a more confident future, together. We thank those messengers who have invested so much righteous energy in this important cause.”

A Statement from Ronnie Floyd

NASHVILLE -- I have received a copy of the letter from former ERLC president Russell Moore to our current SBC president J.D. Greear. Some of the matters referenced occurred prior to my coming here in this role. For those matters of which I was present, I do not have the same recollection of these occurrences as stated. I do take seriously allegations in this letter which may raise concern for Southern Baptists. I have been very committed to always operate with the highest integrity and skillful hands. I am right now considering ways in which we can develop the best path forward for the sake of Southern Baptists and our God-called commitment to our unified Great Commission vision.