Officials from America's main Protestant church, the Southern Baptist Convention, released a 205-page document Thursday listing its members who have been accused of sexual abuse.
The publication of this list comes a few days after that ofan independent investigative report, which concluded that the Church had, for years, practiced obstruction and concealment dealing with victims of sexual assault.
“The list is being made public for the first time and is an initial, yet important, step in addressing the scourge of sexual violence and implementing reform in the Convention,” said the Southern Baptist Convention ( Southern Baptist Convention) in a statement.
The document, which has existed since 2007, was regularly fed by a Church employee, but has long remained secret. Despite the existence of this list, officials appear to have done nothing to ensure that those named no longer hold important positions, according to the report.
The list includes hundreds of sexual assaults, often leading to convictions. In some cases, suspects' names or other details are obscured.
The names of the victims are not listed, but their ages are often given. Some of the reported sexual assaults concern children aged five.
According to the report published on Sunday, the alleged victims of sexual assaults as well as those who have sought to denounce these facts within the Church have encountered for almost two decades "resistance, obstruction and even outright hostility from members of the executive committee.
On Thursday, the Southern Baptist Convention said it hopes "churches will proactively use this list to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us."
This scandal, involving nearly 400 pastors, volunteers and educators over two decades, and more than 700 victims, was brought to light in 2019 thanks to the investigations of two Texas daily newspapers, the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News.
The Southern Baptist Convention, with a network of thousands of churches, has over fifteen million members, mostly in the southern United States.
The editorial staff (with AFP)