A Southern Baptist Convention sexual abuse lawsuit is a claim against the SBC for covering up allegations of sexual misconduct by pastors. Shouse Law Group is suing the SBC for failing to report alleged sexual predators, thereby allowing innocent victims to endure sex abuse for years.
To qualify for an SBC sexual abuse lawsuit, the misconduct must have begun in 2012 or later. And the abuse must have occurred in one of the following states:
- New Mexico
- New York
In this article, our mass tort attorneys discuss:
- 1. Did the Southern Baptist Convention cover up sexual abuse?
- 2. What is the status of the litigation?
- 3. Am I eligible to sue if I was not raped?
- 4. What money damages can I get?
- 5. What is the Southern Baptist Convention?
- 6. What should I do if I was an SBC victim?
- 7. Resources for Victims
1. Did the Southern Baptist Convention cover up sexual abuse?
Yes. According to a third-party investigation report released on May 23, 2022, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has for 20 years covered up reports of sexual abuse by church clergy and staff. The SBC even kept a secret list of 703 ministers alleged to have committed sexual abuse, and 409 of them were at some point affiliated with the SBC.
Instead of reporting these alleged abusers to police and protecting the victims, the Executive Committee (EC) of SBC focused on avoiding liability, covering up abuses, and stonewalling the whistleblowers. But a 2019 investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News revealed that approximately 380 church leaders committed sexual misconduct toward more than 700 victims. Only then did the SBC leaders take steps to reform its toxic culture.1
2. What is the status of the litigation?
The Southern Baptist Convention sexual abuse litigation is in very early stages. The hundreds – if not thousands – of expected lawsuits will probably be joined in a federal multi-district litigation (MDL). MDLs are a way to expedite litigation and ultimate settlements.
3. Am I eligible to sue if I was not raped?
Anyone on the receiving end of sexual misconduct by a pastor or staff member associated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) may be eligible to file suit. Sexual misconduct encompasses not only sexual assault but also unwanted kissing and groping as well as grooming: Victims “groomed” by their pastors to outwardly consent to sexual activity with them may still have grounds to sue.
4. What money damages can I get?
Plaintiffs in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) sexual abuse lawsuits are fighting for financial compensation for their:
- pain and suffering (including emotional distress and trauma),
- medical bills (such as psychiatric care), and
- lost wages (if emotional or physical injuries kept victims from having a job).
In addition, plaintiffs’ attorneys will pursue punitive damages to punish the SBC for its inexcusable choices to protect profit and reputation of victims and safety.
5. What is the Southern Baptist Convention?
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is an evangelical fellowship of more than 47,700 baptist churches, amounting to 14 million members. This makes the SBC the largest protestant denomination in the U.S. It began in 1845, and it rejects infant baptism in favor of the individual conversion experience.
The SBC is hoping to escape liability for the sex abuses that happened in its member SBC churches since it has no legal authority over them. But the victims’ attorneys intend to show that the SBC did have a legal obligation to act when it learned of the sexual misconduct allegations, and the SBC should be made to pay for failing to protect the victims.2
6. What should I do if I was an SBC victim?
Contact our Southern Baptist Convention sexual abuse attorneys to discuss your legal options. You may be eligible for a substantial financial settlement. And our law firm does not take a dime unless we win your sexual abuse claim, so it is risk-free to you.
7. Resources for victims
Hashtags that may lead to helpful resources for Southern Baptist Church sex crime abuse survivors are #ChurchToo and #SBCtoo.
- Ruth Graham and Southern Baptist Sex Abuse Report Stuns, From Pulpit to Pews, New York Times (March 23, 2022). Guidepost Report of the Independent Investigation: The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee’s Response to Sexual Abuse Allegations and an Audit of the Procedures and Actions of the Credentials Committee, Guidepost Solutions (May 15, 2022). Top Southern Baptists plan to release secret list of abusers, AP News (March 24, 2022). Robert Downen John Tedesco, Southern Baptist leaders to release private database on sex abuse, revoke ex-leader’s benefits, Houston Chronicle (March 24, 2022).
- Kate Shellnutt, Southern Baptists Refused to Act on Abuse, Despite Secret List of Pastors, Christianity Today (May 22, 2022). Fast Facts, SBC.net. Southern Baptists vow ‘healing’ after abuse claims, BBC (March 24, 2022).