Houston Chronicle Exposes Depth of Southern Baptist Sexual Abuse

The religious doctrines may be different, but It looks like the Southern Baptist Church has a Catholic-like problem with sexual abuse and assault. The Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News published an in-depth investigation of Southern Baptist sexual misconduct across the country. Here are some of the troubling facts uncovered by the investigation:

  • 250 Southern Baptist workers and volunteers have been charged with sex crimes;
  • Since 1998, 380 church leaders or volunteers have been accused of sexual misconduct;
  • Nearly 100 of these are in prisons across the United States;
  • At least 35 church pastors, employees, and volunteers who exhibited predatory behavior were still able to find jobs at churches during the past two decades;
  • Over 700 victims have been identified so far and more are coming forward now that the story broke.

Leaders of Southern Baptist churches have been accused of covering up or mishandling allegations of sexual abuse. In some cases, church leaders failed to alert law enforcement about complaints or to warn other congregations about allegations of misconduct. Depending on state laws, these church leaders were mandatory reporters, so their failure to report was also a crime.

Journalists in the two newsrooms spent more than six months reviewing thousands of pages of court, prison, and police records and conducting hundreds of interviews. They built a database of former leaders in Southern Baptist churches who have been convicted of sex crimes.

So far, one Baptist missionary from Oregon is listed in the database. Daniel Stephen Johnson was serving as a missionary in Cambodia when the Cambodian authorities asked the FBI to investigate his activity. In 2018 he was convicted on federal charges including traveling to a foreign place and engaging in illicit sexual conduct with six different minor boys.

Dirk P. Jackson is now a registered sex offender in the state of Washington after having been convicted in 2011 of two counts of indecent liberties with a child.

In Idaho, church bookkeeper Ronald Dale Nold was convicted of enticing a child through the Internet after having previously been registered as a sex offender. Somehow he was working for the church even after his sex offender registration.

These are just a few of those who are known and convicted offenders. If the Southern Baptist Church’s problem with sex abuse is anything like that of the Catholic Church, we haven’t even found the tip of the iceberg yet.

If you or someone in your family was sexually abused in the Southern Baptist church and you have questions, email us at info@dumaslawgroup.com or call us at 503-616-5007.

Dumas and Vaughn Attorneys at Law has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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