Southern Baptists face sexual abuse crisis

Protective steps needed
Five years after the clergy sexual abuse scandal erupted within the Catholic Church, Southern Baptists are confronting their own allegations of abuse and calls for greater steps to protect minors from predatory pastors.

Although the issue seems to be on a smaller scale for the Baptists, a series of media reports, activists’ pleas and recent actions in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination indicate what Catholic officials have long insisted: that sexual abuse is not a problem confined to their church.

In one situation, Bellevue Baptist Church, a prominent Memphis-area congregation, issued a lengthy report in January admitting that it was “ill-prepared on several fronts” to handle the case of a minister on staff who had engaged in “inappropriate sexual behavior” with his son 17 years ago. But only after the victim came forward was the seven-month-old report released.


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