20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms

As leaders decline to act, the numbers grow. In the past 20 years, about 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct, the newspapers found. They were pastors. Deacons. Ministers. Youth pastors. Sunday school and Christian school teachers. Church program volunteers. They left behind more than 700 victims.

First of three parts

Thirty-five years later, Debbie Vasquez’s voice trembled as she described her trauma to a group of Southern Baptist leaders.

She was 14, she said, when she was first molested by her pastor in Sanger, a tiny prairie town an hour north of Dallas. It was the first of many assaults that Vasquez said destroyed her teenage years and, at 18, left her pregnant by the Southern Baptist pastor, a married man more than a dozen years older.

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Source: Houston Chronicle. 20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms

Southern Baptist Convention grapples with sexual abuse report

The president of the Souther Baptist Convention, JD Greear, speaks to the denomination’s executive committee in Nashville, Tennessee on 18 February.

After two newspapers rocked the evangelical Vatican, members who work with victims say much remains to be changed

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), one of the largest Christian organizations in the world, is grappling with allegations that more than 250 of its leaders sexually abused more than 700 congregants over the last two decades.

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“It’s similar to the Boston Globe story in that people have been desperately shouting about this for years and it’s only just now receiving the attention has deserved,” said Boz Tchividjian, founder of Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (Grace), an investigative and educational organization.

“The 700 victims revealed in this investigation are only the tip of the iceberg, since very few survivors of abuse ever come forward.”

Tchividjian is also the grandson of Billy Graham, the world’s most famous evangelical preacher. For him and many others, part of what contributes to the sexual abuse problem within some SBC communities is to be found within “purity culture”, a set of principles that portray women as virginal objects for men to court, educate and marry.

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Source: The Guardian (UK) Southern Baptist Convention grapples with sexual abuse report

Attorney General Nessel to Catholic Church: Stop self-policing

Nessel asked the Diocese of Lansing and its counterparts to pause internal reviews as her office investigates clergy abuse. That may take up to two years

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has asked the Diocese of Lansing and its six counterparts across the state to stop self-policing.

And she told Michigan residents not to rely on the church to handle any allegations of sexual misconduct.

“If an investigator comes to your door and asks to speak with you, please ask to see their badge and not their rosary,” Nessel said during a Thursday morning press conference. “Victims may believe that they cannot or should not report abuse to us because the church is going to handle it. That’s simply not true.”

Anyone can report abuse to the attorney general’s office online or by calling an investigation hotline at 844-324-3374. Reports can be made anonymously.

More than 300 tips received

The office has received more than 300 tips of clergy abuse through that hotline, Nessel said.

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Source: Lansing State Journal. Attorney General Nessel to Catholic Church: Stop self-policing

New attorneys general to continue investigating clergy abuse

Newly inaugurated state attorneys general are promising to continue investigations of clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic church as thousands of victims are reaching out to state hotlines and online reporting systems

At least 14 attorneys general around the country have confirmed investigations or reviews of clergy abuse in the wake of a shocking Pennsylvania grand jury report in August detailing seven decades of child sexual abuse by more than 300 predator priests. Six of those offices — New York, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Florida and Delaware — are helmed by newly elected attorneys general, including three of the states reporting the largest numbers of victims contacting them.

Almost 3,000 calls, emails and online reports of clergy abuse have been made in the last five months. Nearly half of those calls were made to the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office after its investigation was released.

That number doesn’t account for reports made to seven states that declined to disclose numbers from their reporting systems to The Associated Press, including states with large Catholic populations like New Jersey and California with a dozen dioceses. The number could be much higher with those included. Several states are seeing lower responses; Delaware reported only five victim contacts as of the beginning of the year.

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Source: Philly.com [Philadelphia Enquirer] New attorneys general to continue investigating clergy abuse

Clergy Abuse

In light of the news surrounding the sexual abuse of children by members of clergy or religious organizations across the country, the Department of Justice is gathering information from the public regarding complaints of this nature in California.

Source: Clergy Abuse

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia Launches Hotline for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Clergy

WASHINGTON – The Superior Court Division’s Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section and the Victim Witness Assistance Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia are launching a hotline and e-mail address for survivors to report child sexual abuse by clergy, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu announced today.

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia Launches Hotline for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Clergy