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Investigation into Southern Baptist Convention sex abuse allegations includes Louisville connection

An independent team conducted more than 300 interviews and collected five terabytes of data in an independent investigation into Southern Baptist Convention’s s
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 11:37 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - An independent team conducted more than 300 interviews and collected five terabytes of data in a 300-page report independent investigation into Southern Baptist Convention’s sexual abuse allegations.

The first thing that is important to understand is that the Southern Baptist Convention is not organized like most other churches. The SBC does not ordain pastors or even control church practices.

Individual churches decide to be in “good standing” with the SBC by following certain rules and donating money.

Once a year, representatives of the 47,000 churches meet to elect leaders and decide other important matters, like investigating sexual abuse.

These findings point to a very small number of executive leaders who knew about the abuse and continually chose to do nothing about it.

Investigation revealed the main reason is that they did not want to be liable. Not just that, they actively worked to put down survivors.

One email from the organization’s general council, and at one point Executive Council interim president, described survivors speaking out like this, “It is a satanic scheme to completely distract us from evangelism... This is the devil being temporarily successful.”

Another account in the report described how a woman attending seminary in Louisville was sexually abused.

She eventually worked for the organization and spoke out. The organization’s own newspaper even did a story on it.

Right before it was published, Executive Council leaders reportedly forced the paper to make a huge change.

“It was changed to read as if Ms. Lyell was consensually involved with her alleged abuser,” the report states. “The article as published reported that Ms. Lyell alleged that she had a ‘morally inappropriate relationship’ with her former seminary professor.”

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WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @wave3news.(WAVE)

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