Hundreds of spiritual leaders and administrative staff of the Southern Baptist Church in Texas and other states of the United States have been accused of sexual abuse in the last 20 years, according to a journalistic investigation published this Sunday, with more than 700 victims, some of them three years old. At least 380 people, including pastors, ministers, Sunday teachers, deacons and volunteers, faced some kind of accusation of sexual misconduct.
This is revealed by a joint investigation of the newspapers Houston Chronicle Y San Antonio Express-News, the two main newspapers in Texas, which in more than six months of inquiries found that some 220 of the accused were convicted of sexual abuse or negotiated agreements to reduce their sentences. Some of them confessed their acts or resigned their positions within the congregation that, with 15 million members, is the largest among the Protestants of the United States.
The vast majority of the accused, according to the journalistic investigation, belonged to churches in Texas and to date there are more than 100 that, despite appearing in the central register of sex offenders, are kept in some ministry of the congregation. At least 35 pastors and administrators indicated by inappropriate behavior were later accepted into churches, without the leaders of their congregations alerting the authorities. Other defendants serve sentences in state and federal jails, located from California to Florida.
Many of the victims faced the rejection of their churches and parishioners and were left to their own devices, while others were asked to forgive their attackers or to abort, as happened to women who had become pregnant, according to the newspapers.
Several former presidents and leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) were criticized by the alleged victims, because they hid or obstructed the accusations presented. The current president of SBC, J.D. Greear described the abuses described in the "pure evil" report.
"I am devastated by today's revelations." The voices in that article should be heard as a warning from God, which calls for repentance on the part of the church, "Greer said in a statement posted on his Twitter account, and vowed to do everything possible to prevent similar situations.
The vast majority of the victims were adolescents who were outraged on more than one occasion, according to the investigation, which reveals that some victims were three years old and were abused in the pastors' offices during Sunday classes. The research affirms that the few adults who were subject to sexual abuse, between men and women, had gone to seek pastoral help.
The journalistic revelation occurs in the midst of the scandal that surrounds the Catholic Church in the United States because of the revelation, last year, of cases of sexual abuse of minors, which involve some 1,200 priests. On January 31, 15 dioceses of the State of Texas, including those of Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston, revealed the names of 286 priests and other ecclesiastical officials, who allegedly sexually abused minors throughout the years. last decades.