Southern Baptist Abuse Scandal: Victim says releasing abuser list is a step in the right direction

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee released the names of hundreds of pastors accused of sexual abuse Thursday.

“The list primarily focuses on those who have been convicted. Those that have been accused or even arrested when the statute of limitations expired. They’ve redacted their names,” said David Brown, a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest.

MORE: Southern Baptist leaders release secret accused abuser list

Brown is a member of the support group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or SNAP. He said he is not surprised more than 700 ministers are accused of sexual abuse.

“We’ve suspected all along they were right up there with the Catholic church in terms of numbers of abusers,” said Brown.

Roughly a dozen of those names listed in the report include men from the Mid-South.

MORE: Southern Baptist Convention’s list of alleged abusers includes Mid-South ministers

To name a few cases: In 2018, Andy Savage, a teaching pastor at Highpoint Church in Memphis, resigned after admitting to the congregation that in 1998 as a youth minister in Texas, he had a sexual incident with a high school student.

Demarcus Smith, a pastor at Oak Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis, was sentenced to seven years in prison on child pornography possession charges in 2015.

Edward Prince, a pastor at Oak Grove Baptist Church in Hernando, Mississippi, was arrested on possession of child pornography charges.

While releasing the list may be a step in the right direction, Brown says there’s a lot more work to be done.

“I don’t want people walking away thinking, “Hallelujah, they’ve done a good job!’ No, they’ve taken a tiny step for mankind. Like they said when man landed on the moon,” said Brown.