Southern Baptist Convention votes to track pastors, church workers credibly accused of sex abuse

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tuesday, Southern Baptist Convention Executives voted for reform they believe will help stomp out sex abuse within the church.

This comes weeks after a report revealed Southern Baptist leaders mishandled abuse cases and stonewalled victims for years.

“It’s a start, but it’s a small start. They have a long ways to go,” said Brown.

Tuesday, the Southern Baptist Convention voted to create a way to track pastors and other church workers credibly accused of sex abuse.

“They’re still protecting their assets. They’re worried about allegations. They have to do the moral thing and move past that,” said Smith.

David Brown, a survivor of sexual abuse himself by a priest and now a member of the support group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said the list should also include those who were credibly accused, but not convicted, or admitted to their actions.

“There was a young man in Memphis at Bellevue. We were all well aware. Rumors were flying around. And nobody would do anything about him.  He ultimately goes down to a church in Florida, what did they do? They moved him to another church and covered it up,” said Brown.

The reform comes after a report revealed Southern Baptist leaders mishandled abuse cases and stonewalled victims for decades.

“You have to understand, the Catholic church has been dealing with this for 20, 25, 30 years. And the Southern Baptists are right there with them. And they’re just now dealing with this. That’s tragic,” said Brown.

Brown said he was especially disappointed the convention didn’t approve a compensation fund for victims.

“I don’t care what compensation you get. It’s not going to make that survivor whole at all. Not even come close to it. And that’s sad, but in our society, that’s the only way somebody perceives to be made whole,” said Brown.

In Tennessee, anyone who suspects a child is being abused or neglected is required by law to report it.

You can do this by calling the Tennessee child abuse hotline at 877-237-0004.

Reports also can be made online on this secure site.