SNAP reacts to SBC alleged abuse report
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention have released a 205-page list containing the names of hundreds of ministers and other church workers accused of sexual abuse.
Leaders of the SBC were found to have mishandled sex abuse claims.
The document’s existence was kept secret for years and has sent shock waves through the SBC.
Members of SNAP said releasing the list is a step toward healing and accountability.
The SBC released the report on May 22, commissioned by a third-party investigator.
The report reveals a staff member of the convention’s executive committee kept a list of hundreds of names of accused people with ties to the church.
Victim advocacy groups like SNAP have long called for accountability.
“I think about all the lives that may have been left in peace. A lot of times abuse is associated with suicide. How many lost their lives because of this failure to act earlier? So, while I’m glad that this is out, I think it’s 15 years too late,” said Melanie Sakoda with SNAP.
In addition to the accused abusers’ names, the report lists the year and state the alleged abuse happened, and a brief description of the accusations against them.
Most of the offenders belong to the Southern Baptist Convention, and 33 of them are from Alabama.
“Unfortunately, institutions think first about protecting, well at least what they think is protecting, the institution. In my view, when you’re talking about a church, the church is not the institution, the church is the community of believers, and that’s what you need to protect,” Sakoda said.
She said sadly, abuse is common saying statistically one in five children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
“So, it’s a tremendous amount of people who are affected and I think when it happens in a church it’s particularly painful because it effects your spirituality. It’s almost like God is abusing you, not just a person,” Sakoda explained.
She said predators are often attracted to jobs where they can interact with the public knowing people will view them as someone they can trust.
“But in particular, in churches, there is a whole lot of trust invested in leadership. You can trust to a certain extent, but you also have to realize…keep your eyes open. Be aware. If someone seems a little too touchy feely with the children, take that as a red flag and act accordingly. Protect your children, protect your grandchildren, protect all of the children that you love,” Sakoda said.
The Southern Baptist Convention has also set up a hotline for victims of abuse to call and report their experience.
If you are a survivor of sexual abuse, Sakoda recommends going to the police to file a sexual abuse report or speak with your local district attorney.
SNAP also has resources for abuse survivors here.
Subscribe to our WBRC newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email.
Copyright 2022 WBRC. All rights reserved.