Southern Baptist Convention to release names of 703 ministers accused of sexual abuse

The leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention on Thursday will publish a list of ministers accused of sexual misconduct, according to The Associated Press.

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A nearly 300-page report released Sunday found that the organization ignored claims of sexual abuse by ministers and church leaders for the past two decades.

The existence of the list – which includes 703 names – was revealed in the report on the denomination’s handling of sexual abuse, The New York Times reported.

“Promptly releasing that list is in our best interest, it’s important, it is of immediate concern to the public and to the survivor community, and we need to do it right away,” Gene Besen, the executive committee’s interim counsel, told committee members in a meeting on Tuesday.

According to the investigation conducted by Guidepost Solutions, the country’s largest Protestant denomination responded to a sexual abuse crisis within its ranks by suppressing reports of sexual abuse, ignoring or dismissing proposals for reform and discouraging abuse victims who requested help.

Willie McLaurin, the Executive Committee’s interim president and CEO, issued a formal public apology to all those who suffered sexual abuse within the SBC, which has a membership of over 47,000 churches.

“We are sorry to the survivors for all we have done to cause pain and frustration,” he said. “Now is the time to change the culture. We have to be proactive in our openness and transparency from now.”