The ethics leader of the Southern Baptist Convention has promised to encourage reforms that protect children after a sweeping investigation published Sunday found more than 700 victims of sexual misconduct by church leaders or volunteers.
In total, the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News compiled more than 380 cases over the last 20 years of church leaders and volunteers who have been charged with sex crimes. Most are now in prison or are registered sex offenders, according to the report.
Russell Moore, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president of the Southern Baptist Convention, commended the work by the publications.
“The report is alarming and scandalous, the courage and grace of these survivors is contrasted with the horrific depravity of those who would use the name of Jesus to prey on them,” Moore said in a Sunday blog post.
Headquartered in Nashville, Southern Baptists are the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. They believe in local control of the church.
In a statement on Twitter, J.D. Greear, the current president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said, “The abuses described in this @HoustonChron article are pure evil. I join with countless others who are currently ‘weeping with those who weep.’ “
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SOURCE: USA Today; Nashville Tennessean, Jason Gonzales