August 10, 2022
Southern Baptist panel omits compensation demands in recommendations to June business session
A Southern Baptist Convention sexual abuse task force bypassed calls for victim compensation on Wednesday as it suggested reforms for church delegates to approve at this month’s business session in Anaheim, California. Instead, the panel recommended establishing an “implementation task force” that would review and implement suggestions from an independent report on abuse within the…

A Southern Baptist Convention sexual abuse task force bypassed calls for victim compensation on Wednesday as it suggested reforms for church delegates to approve at this month’s business session in Anaheim, California.

Instead, the panel recommended establishing an “implementation task force” that would review and implement suggestions from an independent report on abuse within the 14 million-member denomination that was released May 22. They also want delegates to vote on creating a “Ministry Check” website that would maintain a record of pastors and other employees and volunteers who have “been credibly accused” of abuse.

Christa Brown, a survivor of sexual abuse by an SBC pastor, quickly responded on Twitter saying she found the recommendations “Absolutely heartbreaking & gutting. Deeply & profoundly disappointing. I’ll have more to say later. I weep.”

She later added, “The informal ‘suggestions & requests’ are toothless. The recommendations are limited & problematic.”

Ms. Brown said the suggestion that victims will have to “first try to persuade the church to hire an independent” investigator would “inflict retraumatizing wounds on many.”

The “Challenges and Formal Recommendations” released by the task force contained a number of suggestions for both the national denomination and state Baptist conventions to implement, as well as the two items proposed for the June balloting.

Chief among the challenges is the appointment of a “designated, trained” employee or independent contractor at the denominational and state levels to receive reports of abuse and determine where those should be followed up.

The panel said the denomination’s executive committee should allocate $3 million to implement abuse reforms for the first year. They also suggest the denomination and state bodies provide training regarding sexual abuse prevention and survivor care for workers, as well as background checks.

A Southern Baptist Convention spokesman did not immediately respond to a reporter’s question regarding the omission of victim compensation from the proposals suggested for voting.

For years Ms. Brown’s complaints were dismissed by denominational leaders, including former general counsel D. August “Augie” Boto, who alleged in an internal email revealed in the May 22 report, that she was part of “a satanic scheme to completely distract us from evangelism.”

On Tuesday, Ms. Brown said via Twitter the denomination should create a “survivor restoration fund administered by an independent master for making restitution to those who have been sexually abused by Southern Baptist clergy.”

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