A Southern Baptist Church choir is singing a different tune after an investigation found 700 victims of sexual abuse at the hands of church officials.
The victims say their perpetrators are Southern Baptist church leaders, and that other church leaders didn’t do enough to respond to and stop the abuse. These victims may be eligible for financial compensation if a court agrees that church leaders turned a willful blind eye to sexual abuse.
Southern Baptist Church sexual assault survivors number more than 700
Sources say that as many as 400 church leaders are responsible for the abuse that spans two decades. They say the victims are as young as three years old. Investigators say that Southern Baptist Convention leaders resisted measures to prevent sexual predators from harming victims. Church leaders instead focused on keeping allegations out of the public eye. While some of the 400 offenders received criminal convictions and orders to register as sex offenders, as many as three-dozen church leaders and employees continued to work in the church after confirmation of their assaultive behavior.
Church leaders say they’re sorry and ready for a culture change. They say that as the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, it’s up to them to admit their failures and applaud victims for their courage. They say the suffering of the victims is regrettable, but victims report that the church isn’t doing nearly enough.
The Southern Baptist Church scandal is part of a widespread problem of sexual abuse
The Southern Baptist Church scandal is only the latest in a series of investigations showing inappropriate responses to disclosures of sexual abuse. In the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal involving hundreds of young gymnasts and allegations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, Americans are learning more than ever before just how insulated officials often are from justice and accountability for sexual misconduct. Leaders often discourage or even threaten victims from filing police reports. Offenders are seldom brought to justice.
Justice for Southern Baptist Church sexual assault victims
While church leaders say they’re ready for “pervasive change,” some victims say promises for the future aren’t enough. They say that the best way to stimulate change is to pursue legal remedies for victims. Because church leaders may be complicit in covering up abuse, the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of a church leader or employer may have a right to claim compensation from the church as well as from the individuals responsible. Victims say that legal remedies are often the only effective way to truly hold offenders accountable and prompt reluctant change.
Legal liability for Southern Baptist Church sexual assault
Victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the Southern Baptist Church may claim compensation through a personal injury claim. When church leaders breach their duty of care to respond appropriately to sexual assault, the church may owe victims fair compensation for their physical and mental injuries. Of course, financial compensation is not a remedy for the suffering that victims endure. However, it is a way to hold offenders accountable and pressure church leaders to make the necessary changes, as well as provide the victims with financial security while they recover from their ordeal. If you have been a victim of sexual assault, contact KBA Attorneys today for a confidential and compassionate review of your options.