A 2019 report found more than 700 victims experienced sexual misconduct at the hands of Southern Baptists in formal church roles.
Southern Baptists voted at a national gathering in June to form a task force to investigate how the denomination's Executive Committee handled sex abuse allegations.
The Executive Committee has not confirmed whether it will waive its attorney-client privilege for the investigation.
A seven-member task force is investigating how the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) mishandled sexual abuse allegations within its churches, resisted reforms, and intimidated victims and advocates, the Associated Press reported.
In June, Southern Baptists voted at a national gathering to form the task force, which will report back during the 2022 convention and publish its findings in advance, Baptist News reported. Members named to the task force have expertise in areas like social work, sexual trauma, therapy, and children's advocacy.
The formation of the committee followed the publication of a 2019 report from the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News, which found more than 700 victims experienced sexual misconduct at the hands of Southern Baptists in formal church roles.
In its first two months, the task force selected Guidepost Solutions - a team of investigators, security and technology consultants, and compliance and monitoring experts - as a third-party firm to help conduct the probe.
Additionally, the task force has asked the Executive Committee of SBC to waive its attorney-client privilege before an upcoming meeting as part of the investigation, the Associated Press reported. Although the Executive Committee said in a press release that it is "not opposed in principle to requests for the waiving of attorney-client privilege," no formal decision has been made.
"If the executive committee decides not to waive privilege, then they are sending a clear message that they're rejecting accountability and transparency," Rachael Denhollander, one of the two task force advisers, told the Associated Press.
Denhollander was the first woman to publicly accuse serial sex offender and former US gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of sexual assault, according to Baptist News.
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