Southern Baptist Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Last updated Dec 11, 2023

A large number of Southern Baptist Church (SBC) leaders and volunteers face allegations of sexual abuse. If you were sexually abused by an SBC clergy member or volunteer, contact our lawyers today for help understanding your rights to possible compensation.

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Key Takeaways

  • An external investigation of the SBC found that previous allegations regarding a sex abuse coverup were true
  • Hundred of volunteers and leaders within the SBC have been accused of sex abuse
  • Survivors of SBC sex abuse have the right to pursue compensation

Representing Survivors of Southern Baptist Sex Abuse

The Southern Baptist Church (SBC) recently released a 288-page report detailing the mishandling of decades of sexual abuse allegations by SBC leadership members, otherwise known as the Executive Committee. The report, conducted by independent investigation firm Guidepost Solutions, found that church leadership allegedly ignored reports of sexual abuse, covered them up, or simply allowed the offender to move away. Among the hundreds of names of abusers listed in the report, some were known to still be active within the church and were never held accountable for what they did to others.

Survivors of SBC sexual abuse who have had their voices silenced by the church deserve justice for the trauma they have been through. At Edwards Henderson, our sex abuse lawyers have taken on powerful organizations and institutions like the SBC and are committed to fighting for the rights of sexual abuse survivors. If you or a loved one were sexually abused at the hands of the SBC, contact the Southern Baptist sex abuse lawyers of Edwards Henderson today for a free, confidential legal case review.

Sex Abuse Accusations Within the SBC

Prior to the 2022 Guidepost report, the Southern Baptist sexual misconduct allegations first came to light in 2019 when the Houston Chronicle reported that roughly 380 SBC volunteers and leaders had been accused of sex abuse since 1998. The investigation found that out of the 380 accused offenders, 35 were still working at SBC churches and several registered sex offenders continued to preach within the SBC. The Houston Chronicle also reported that the hundreds of victims’ sex abuse claims largely went ignored or were met with intimidation or hostility.

Following the 2019 report, SBC members urged the church to conduct an external investigation into the sex abuse coverup taking place. The SBC hired Guidepost to conduct the third-party investigation, which confirmed previous allegations that SBC leadership ignored reports of sex abuse and child sex abuse, avoided any type of reform that could prevent future incidents, and even allegedly mocked and vilified those who came forward to report instances of abuse. The Guidepost investigation also found that, despite SBC leadership ignoring sex abuse survivors’ and advocates’ pleas for a public database of offenders, former SBC leaders had actually kept a private list of sex abuse offenders within the church. Guidestone reported that despite the secret list, there was nothing to indicate that any actions were taken to address the accused ministers.

Southern Baptist Sex Abuse Lawsuits

Although some offenders within the SBC will face a criminal trial, a civil lawsuit may help survivors recover compensation for the harm they suffered. Individuals who suffered sex abuse at the hands of SBC leaders and members have the right to bring a sex abuse lawsuit against their abuser as well as the church if leaders failed to take reasonable measures to prevent abuse from happening By filing a sex abuse claim, survivors can hold their abusers accountable and pursue financial compensation for the trauma they endured within the SBC.

What Damages are Available in an SBC Sex Abuse Lawsuit?

Sex abuse is a crime that leaves survivors with physical and psychological scars that can last a lifetime. While money cannot take away the damage that sexual abuse causes, a sexual abuse lawsuit can allow survivors to find closure as well as recover compensation that can help them with the healing process. Types of damages potentially available through an SBC sexual abuse lawsuit include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Medical bills and the cost of future medical care, including therapy
  • Lost wages and loss of earning potential related to the incident

What is Considered Sexual Abuse?

The US Department of Justice defines sex abuse as any nonconsensual sexual act including when the victim lacks the ability to consent. SBC sex abuse cases may include the following types of acts:

  • Inappropriate or unwanted touching
  • Indecent exposure
  • Statutory rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual threats or harassment
  • Lewd conduct

How Can a Southern Baptist Convention Sex Abuse Lawyer Help Me?

When filing a claim against a large organization like the SBC, it is advisable to consult with an experienced clergy sex abuse lawyer to represent you and guide you through the legal process. A successful sex abuse lawsuit is not only about compensating the survivor but also inhibiting the abuse from happening again. A Southern Baptist sex abuse attorney can:

  • Handle your case compassionately and confidentially
  • Advocate on your behalf and provide you with resources that can aid in the healing process
  • File your lawsuit within the statute of limitations
  • Gather evidence as well as expert and witness testimony to build a strong case
  • Advocate for the maximum amount of compensation you may be entitled to
  • Negotiate a favorable settlement on your behalf with the involved parties
  • Fight for a favorable verdict in a jury trial if a settlement cannot be reached

Speak to a Sex Abuse Lawyer

The sex assault attorneys of Edwards Henderson have a proven track record of success taking on large organizations like the SBC and are devoted to protecting the rights of sex abuse survivors. Our sex abuse attorneys understand how difficult it can be to take a stand against your church by reporting abuse and are here to act as your advocate throughout the process. With a history of winning many multi-million dollar verdicts for survivors, including a $71 million dollar jury verdict, our lawyers have the skills and experience necessary to advocate on your behalf.

If you or a loved one experienced abuse within the SBC, contact the Southern Baptist sex abuse lawyers of Edwards Henderson today for a free and confidential consultation.

June 14, 2023 Update

Jordan Webb, a former Fort Dodge Baptist missionary was convicted of child sexual abuse in Webster County. He was arrested in 2022 after he and a minor child tested positive for gonorrhea. Marvin Smith IV, the current pastor at the church, had vouched for Webb and called him “a great citizen” and “a great man in the community.”

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