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Clergy Abuse

The staggering level of sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention reminds us of this truth: Not until we realize the powerful way religion can hurt people can we understand the powerful way it can heal people. […] Read More

A victims’ advocacy and support group has been urging Southern Baptist leaders to develop a denomination-wide “open and transparent” response to sexual abuse by clergy. That was in 2007. […] Read More

Clergy abuse survivors have been asking Southern Baptists for several years to implement denominational safeguards against clergy child molesters. Southern Baptists have refused. The requests are nothing radical. We asked for the sorts of safeguards that already exist in other major faith groups. We asked that the denomination provide a safe place for the reporting […] Read More

A Southern Baptist pastor in Fresno, Calif., was arrested Monday on felony charges of child molestation. John Earl (“Jeb”) Bonine, 43, pastor of Sierra Heights Baptist Church, remained in jail Thursday, where he is held on $500,000 bond. He is charged with two counts of continual sex abuse of a child, two counts of sexual […] Read More

For six years, a convicted child molester was pastor and minister a First Baptist Church in Romeoville, Ill. Deacons knew. Other ministers knew. A denominational official knew. Yet, nothing was done until a minister anonymously contacted the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and SNAP got the media involved. Meanwhile, kids were marching into […] Read More

A lawsuit filed Tuesday claims a Southern Baptist church in Amarillo, Texas, was warned that a Sunday school teacher and paid childcare worker was a pedophile, and yet did nothing to keep kids safe. Parents identified in the lawsuit as Mr. and Mrs. John Doe say Patrick Farmer molested and photographed their two young daughters […] Read More

A former Southern Baptist pastor charged with molesting a youth in his church may face additional charges, according to media reports in Memphis, Tenn. The Commercial Appeal reported last week that detectives are investigating possible additional sex charges against 46-year-old Steven Haney, former pastor of Walnut Grove Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn. Police charged Haney […] Read More

Southern Baptist churches in Cordova, Tenn., and Slidell, La., are the latest to receive unwanted publicity after their current or former ministers were arrested on charges of sexual abuse of minors. Steven Haney, 46, pastor of Walnut Grove Baptist Church in suburban Memphis for 20 years before resigning a year ago, is charged with sexual […] Read More

A lawsuit filed last month claims the Florida Baptist Convention, a local Baptist association and a sponsoring mother church were negligent in recruiting a church planter now in prison for sexual abuse of a minor. The lawsuit, filed June 29 by the mother of a victim identified only by initials, says the state convention, Lake […] Read More

The Associated Press reported recently that three insurance companies receive upward of 260 reports each year of young people under 18 being sexually abused by Protestant clergy, challenging the assumption that clergy sexual abuse is an exclusively Catholic problem that does not take place in other churches. That is a higher number than the annual […] Read More