Secret list of hundreds of accusers

Southern Baptist leaders released a confidential list of hundreds of accused sex abusers on Thursday evening that listed names, dates and details of a burgeoning abuse crisis – but was kept secret for more than a year. decade.

Dating back to 2007, the list includes many who overlap with a database of 263 convicted Southern Baptist abusers that was released in 2019 as part of Abuse of Faith, an investigation by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News. which revealed how the faith group failed to protect church members.

Among the offenders: Charles Adcock, who was charged in 2015 with 29 counts of rape and sodomy involving a 14-year-old girl he met at the SBC-affiliated Woodward Avenue Baptist Church in Muscle Shoals, in Alabama.

Adcock moved to Texas after the criminal charges were filed and volunteered at First Baptist Church in Bedford. A pastor was aware of the charges, but the SBC’s secret list with the case of Adcock and other offenders was not available to the rest of the congregation in Bedford – despite pleas from survivor advocates for the SBC publishes a database of sex offenders to help churches vet employees and volunteers.

Without admitting any guilt, Adcock pleaded to a single second-degree sodomy charge in January 2016, served 15 months in prison and had to register as a sex offender.

Commissioned by former Southern Baptist Convention general counsel August “Augie” Boto, the list of offenders was hidden from the public and even from many senior church leaders until a groundbreaking investigation was released on Sunday. reveals its existence and shocks the members of the largest coalition of Baptists in the country. churches.

“The path that got us to this point was ugly,” said Gene Besen, an attorney who represents the 86-member executive committee of the SBC, the faith group’s highest governing body. Most of the committee members didn’t even know the list existed.

A searing 400-page report from Guidepost Solutions revealed that Boto, who resigned in 2019, asked an SBC employee to compile a list of accused Baptist offenders that eventually reached over 700 names since 2007, of which 409 are believed to be affiliated at Southern Baptist Churches.

Guidepost investigators found nine of the alleged attackers were still in ministry, including two at SBC churches.

Most of the cases on the list offer details of accused sex offenders who have been arrested or convicted of crimes. Since most sexual abuse cases go unreported to the police and never reach the justice system, experts say the true number of cases in the SBC’s network of 47,000 churches is likely much higher. .

Roger “Sing” Oldham, former vice president of SBC relations, said he provided some of the material for Boto’s list, but insisted he had no idea what he was up to. served or even existed.

“I don’t know if it’s ever been used,” Oldham told the Houston Chronicle in an interview this week. “If it was used, I don’t know what it was used for.”

Oldham said he set up a “Google alert” to find new web pages containing the terms “Baptist” and “arrested”. Over the years, Google automatically emailed Oldham links to news about sexual abuse cases, which it forwarded to Boto to keep him informed.

Guidepost’s investigation found ‘there is no evidence that Dr Oldham, Mr Boto or anyone else took any steps to ensure that the accused ministers were no longer in positions of power in the SBC churches”.
Oldham said he never checked the ministers’ status because news reports made it clear that law enforcement officials had intervened and the accused abuser had resigned or been fired.

The 409 cases of Southern Baptist abuse on Boto’s list surpass a total of 263 convicts documented in Abuse of Faith, a 2019 investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News that looked at cases on a longer period of 20 years from 1998.

The Offender Diaries Database was posted online as a resource for the public and had a narrower focus than Boto’s list: confirmed cases that resulted in criminal convictions.

The newspapers also found dozens of additional pastors, staff and volunteers at Southern Baptist churches whose cases had not yet been tried.

Comments are closed.