More Sexual Abuse Uncovered In Southern Baptist Churches, Includes Missionaries

Several survivors told Houston Public Media about their experiences, the mishandling of their cases and the need for reform in the Southern Baptist Convention.

By Laura IsenseeJune 4, 2019 11:50 am, , , , ,

From Houston Public Media:

Earlier this year, a joint investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News revealed widespread sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches in Texas and around the country. Now, the Chronicle’s found that abuse wasn’t limited to the United States. It also included missionaries who were supposed to spread the gospel, but instead sexually assaulted others — many of them children and teenagers.

The Chronicle’s investigation details the trail of five predatory missionaries who served in places like Taiwan, Malawi and Indonesia and left behind at least 24 victims.

The paper found the International Mission Board (IMB) — the world’s largest sponsor of Protestant missions — followed a common pattern: It repeatedly kept reports quiet, didn’t alert the public and often delayed or took no action against accused missionaries. The board’s current policy calls for zero tolerance of child abuse and asks for people to report it. The IMB told the paper that it’s committed to a “rigorous examination” of its policies and procedures.

The latest findings add to the growing sexual abuse crisis in the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. The decentralized network has no investigative powers and doesn’t always receive complaints from local churches. It has yet to create a database of known predators, despite survivors calling for that reform for over a decade.

Read more to learn about the experiences of several survivors.