Most of the names had already been published elsewhere — including in a major investigation into abuse allegations by The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News. Some of the names had appeared in publicly available court documents as part of criminal or civil suits.
The publication comes weeks before the convention’s annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif., where leaders and members are expected to discuss other steps to address abuse allegations. The convention will also elect new leadership as it faces divisions over politics, culture and declining membership.
The third-party report contained multiple accounts of victims of sexual abuse and others who said they contacted the convention’s executive committee about alleged offenders and were ignored. At one point, Mr. Boto, the former vice president, referred to the work of activists in an internal email as a “satanic scheme.”
In 2007, a delegate at the denomination’s annual convention presented a motion to create a database of clergy and staff “involved in sexual harassment or abuse.” The next year, an executive committee working group rejected the notion, saying that maintaining such a list publicly would violate the denomination’s decentralized structure.
But the report released Sunday revealed that in 2007, the committee’s own general counsel, James Guenther, proposed a plan for the denomination’s website to link to such a database. “It would fit our polity and present ministries to help churches in this area of child abuse and sexual misconduct,” he wrote, recommending “immediate action.” Mr. Boto took no action, according to the report.
Mr. Boto could not be reached for comment.
The list’s publication also comes just two days after Gene Besen, the executive committee’s interim counsel, told committee members at a meeting that the committee would publish the list “as quickly as we can.”
The original ad hoc list contained about 700 names, with about 400 who were believed to be connected to the denomination. Though the list released Thursday does not represent a complete tally of Southern Baptist offenders, “promptly releasing that list is in our best interest, it’s important, it is of immediate concern to the public and to the survivor community, and we need to do it right away,” he told the committee.
Source: NY Times