The Department of Justice is investigating the largest protestant denomination in the country.
Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention were vague about what the investigation entails, though they suggested it would focus on questions of how the SBC Executive Committee has handled accusations of sexual abuse within the church.
“While we continue to grieve and lament past mistakes related to sexual abuse, current leaders across the SBC have demonstrated a firm conviction to address those issues of the past and are implementing measures to ensure they are never repeated in the future,” the Executive Committee said. “The fact that the SBC Executive Committee recently completed a fully transparent investigation is evidence of this commitment.”
Earlier this year, the SBC released a 200-page report detailing how leaders in the Conference actively covered up sexual abuse by church leaders. The report, produced by Guidepost Solutions, included more than 200 pages of names of alleged abusers.
The SBC was rocked by allegations of sexual abuse running rampant in 2019, when hundreds of leaders were first accused of sexually abusing children in the church.
Despite circulating the list of alleged abusers, the Executive Committee noted in Friday’s announcement that it understands its “reform efforts are not finished.”
At its annual convention in June, the SBC established an Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force, which will be in charge of continuing to investigate sexual abuse within the church as well as establish a fund to assist survivors.
The DOJ investigation will look into “multiple SBC entities,” all of which are prepared to “fully and completely cooperate with the investigation.”