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June 25, 2022

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Top Southern Baptists plan to release secret list of abusers

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Top administrative leaders for the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in America, said Tuesday that they will release a secret list of hundreds of pastors and other church-affiliated personnel accused of sexual abuse.

An attorney for the SBC’s Executive Committee announced the decision during a virtual meeting called in response to a scathing investigative report detailing how the committee mishandled allegations of sex abuse and stonewalled numerous survivors. The committee anticipates releasing the list Thursday.

During the meeting, top leaders and several committee members vowed to work toward changing the culture of the denomination and to listen more attentively to survivors’ voices and stories.

The 288-page report by Guidepost Solutions, which was released Sunday after a seven-month investigation, contained several explosive revelations. Among those were details of how D. August Boto, the Executive Committee’s former vice president and general counsel, and former SBC spokesman Roger Oldham kept their own private list of abusive pastors. Both retired in 2019. The existence of the list was not widely known within the committee and its staff.

“Despite collecting these reports for more than 10 years, there is no indication that (Oldham and Boto) or anyone else, took any action to ensure that the accused ministers were no longer in positions of power at SBC churches,” the report said.

Boto joined the Executive Committee in 1995 and became executive vice president and general counsel in 2007.

On Tuesday, the committee released a statement singling out and denouncing Boto’s words written in a communication to survivors and their advocates on Sept. 29, 2006, that “continued discourse between us (the Executive Committee and survivors’ advocates) will not be positive or fruitful.”

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