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US Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a press conference. (DHS photo by Tia Dufour)

No charges in DOJ investigation of Southern Baptists

No charges will be filed against the Southern Baptist Convention after the U.S. Department of Justice completed an investigation.

“On February 29, 2024, counsel for the SBC Executive Committee was informed that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York concluded its investigation into the EC (executive committee) with no further action to be taken,” said Jonathan Howe, the denomination’s vice president of communications.

In 2022, the SBC confirmed that the Justice Department was investigating the denomination and its entities following the release of a report by Guidepost Solutions that was commissioned by the SBC’s Executive Committee that detailed how some leaders allegedly mistreated victims of abuse and had mishandled allegations of abuse.

“For almost two decades, survivors of abuse and other concerned Southern Baptists have been contacting the [SBC Executive Committee] to report child molesters and other abusers who were in the pulpit or employed as church staff,“ the report’s executive summary said. “They made phone calls, mailed letters, sent emails, appeared at SBC and EC meetings, held rallies and contacted the press, only to be met, time and time again, with resistance, stonewalling and even outright hostility from some within the EC.”

In a statement in 2022, the SBC Executive Committee said it was “resolved to fully and completely cooperate with the investigation.”

“While so many things in the world are uncertain, we can be certain that we serve a mighty God,” the leaders said. “Nothing, including this investigation, takes him by surprise,. We take comfort in that and humbly ask you to be in prayer in the days and weeks ahead. Specifically, we ask God to grant wisdom and discernment to each person dealing with the investigation.”

Last month, the SBC’s Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force presented a new curriculum to the SBC Executive Committee centered on helping member congregations prevent and respond to accusations of sexual abuse. The new curriculum is slated to be unveiled at the SBC’s Annual Meeting in Indianapolis in June.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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