On Friday, Christianity Today reported that the Justice Department has opened a federal investigation into the Southern Baptist Convention over allegations that leadership hushed up allegations of sexual abuse.
"The SBC Executive Committee confirmed on Friday that the Justice Department 'has initiated an investigation into the Southern Baptist Convention, and that the investigation will include multiple SBC entities,'" reported Kate Shellnutt. "The general counsel for the Executive Committee — which oversees day-to-day business for the convention and was the subject of the SBC’s own abuse investigation — said the EC has received a subpoena, but no individuals have been subpoenaed at this point."
"“While we continue to grieve and lament past mistakes related to sexual abuse, current leaders across the SBC have demonstrated a firm conviction to address those issues of the past and are implementing measures to ensure they are never repeated in the future,” said the SBC in a statement vowing to cooperate with federal investigators.
"An independent investigation by Guidepost Solutions into the EC, released in May 2022, found that over the past 20 years, its leaders had compiled a secret list of more than 700 abusive pastors and mistreated the victims who asked them for help," said the report. "The investigation, which cost over $2 million, spanned 330 interviews and five terabytes of documents collected over eight months."
The Southern Baptist Convention is one of several major Christian denominations facing such allegations.
For years, the Roman Catholic Church has been accused of shuffling around priests who abused children, with former Pope Benedict XVI even admitting — after years of denial — that he mishandled multiple abuse cases while he was archbishop of Munich, Germany. Another recent report revealed that leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was aware of child abuse cases and had a policy of keeping them concealed.