Status: 05/24/2022 04:24 am
An abuse report raises serious allegations against the largest Protestant church in the United States. Thus, the executive level is said to have covered up the abuses for decades.
For many years, leaders of the Southern Baptist Conference, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, have suppressed complaints of sexual abuse by clergy and church staff. In a hearing released earlier this week, prosecutors who warned of survivors and sexual abuse faced “opposition, trickery and open hostility” at the highest levels of church leadership.
After being rocked by an abuse scandal in 2019, an independent inquiry was appointed by the church. Newspapers have uncovered hundreds of covers since the late 1990s. The report, released Sunday, notes that some church leaders are not interested in prosecuting or disclosing cases.
More than 15 million members
Many senior executives had information about “allegations of abuse and court action” that they did not share with other members of the board. Instead, they focused only on avoiding responsibility for the church “without considering other things”.
Victims were neglected, discredited and told no action would be taken for violating the autonomy of individual churches – “even if the perpetrators of the conviction continue their ministry without notice or warning to their current church or community”.
The report recommended a comprehensive change in the church’s policy on “true forgiveness” for victims and sexual misconduct. The Southern Baptist Conference has thousands of congregations and 15 million members, mostly in South America.
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