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The SBC Has Released Its Secret Database of Alleged Sexual Abusers

One of the most stunning findings of the Southern Baptist Convention’s third-party investigation into claims that it covered up allegations sexual abuse was the existence of “the Boto List.” While sexual abuse survivors and advocates had been told that creating a database of all alleged church-related sexual abusers was a legal impossibility, Guidepost Solutions found that the list had in fact existed all along. But instead of being used to protect victims, the list was used to protect the institution itself.

Following the release of the report, which found that the nation’s largest Protestant denomination had routinely ignored, dismissed and even villainized sex abuse survivors, the SBC Executive Committee pledged to make the list public as one part of a series of reforms aimed at justice and restitution.

“Each entry in this list reminds us of the devastation and destruction brought about by sexual abuse,” said Executive Committee leaders Rolland Slade and Willie McLaurin in a joint statement. “Our prayer is that the survivors of these heinous acts find hope and healing, and that churches will utilize this list proactively to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us.”

An SBC attorney said the list contains names of people who have both been convicted of sexual abuse and confessed to it. The database, which is described in the document itself as “fluid” and “working” has over 600 entries, detailing the names of reported persons and links to news articles about the cases.

“This is a fluid, working document.” It consists of more than 700 entries, the date the person was reported and information largely pulled from news articles, compiled from 2007 until 2022. “It is incomplete. It has not been proofed. It has not been adequately researched. It is not Southern Baptist specific,” the document reads. It notes that, after June 2008, “only alleged/convicted names of abusers and [titles] of articles were catalogued.”

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The list begins in 2007 and continues to 2022.

“This is a critical first step,” Rachael Denhollander, an attorney and advocate who has advised an SBC sexual abuse task force, told the Washington Post. “It at least begins to demonstrate a level of transparency and accountability.”

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