NASHVILLE (BP) – The SBC Sex Abuse Task Force issued the fifth update on its work with Guidepost Solutions in the investigation of the SBC Executive Committee’s (EC) alleged mishandling of sex abuse claims. The group said it would be its last update before Guidepost’s full report is made public in mid-May.
“Pursuant to the Messenger’s Motion, Guidepost must submit its report to the Task Force no later than 30-days prior to the SBC Convention in Anaheim, which begins on June 14, 2022. Thus, the report is due to the Task Force on May 15, 2022,” the update said. It did not provide a date for public release.
Guidepost and the task force say they will release the factual portion of the report to the Committee on Cooperation (CoC) on May 10.
“Guidepost will not provide its observations or conclusions to the CoC, but strictly the factual portion so that any inadvertent errors (e.g., titles, dates) can be corrected,” the task force reported.
In the update, the group reported 313 interviews had been completed by Guidepost, with some individuals being interviewed multiple times. One interview is still to be conducted.
There were 31 witnesses contacted who, according to Guidepost, declined to participate, and investigators found that 24 potential witnesses were deceased.
The list of potential witnesses was composed of the more than 80 members of the SBC EC who serve annually over a period of 21 years, current and former EC staff members, and SBC officers and entity heads between Jan. 1, 2000, and June 14, 2021.
The report listed several prominent names in Southern Baptist life who chose not to be interviewed by the task force:
• Judge Paul Pressler due to health concerns
• Paige Patterson “declined through attorney and stated he had no recollection of the subject of sexual abuse coming up during the last six months of his presidency that falls under the scope of the investigation”
• Jack Graham “offered full access to presidential papers as participation; after Guidepost confirmed we already had access and requested an interview at his convenience, received no response to that request”
In a correspondence shared with Baptist Press, Graham’s office responded to a Guidepost email by saying, “Given that his presidency was twenty years ago, we’re also not sure how helpful an in-person interview would be in the first place.”
Messengers to the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting called for President Ed Litton to name the task force to secure a firm to conduct the independent third-party investigation of the EC.