Keep Kids Safe Statement on Allegations of Sexual Abuse Within the Southern Baptist Church
June 1, 2022 (Washington, D.C.) – Following the recent news regarding sexual abuse within the Southern Baptist Church (SBC) and the organization’s release of an internal list containing the names of hundreds of priests accused of sexual abuse, the Keep Kids Safe Movement – a powerful partnership between organizations, survivors, and allies focused on ending sexual violence against children and adolescents in all its forms – released the following statement:
“The recent revelations regarding the sexual abuse of children – and the organized efforts to minimize those crimes – within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is yet another example of the clear need for the United States to end sexual violence against children and adolescents.
Following the bombshell report released last week, leaders of the SBC have responded by releasing an internal list of names of accused abusers. This is a necessary step forward and we hope that the release of these names will assist SBC survivors on their healing journey. At the same time, if we truly want to create a society where children are free from sexual abuse, then investigations into what went wrong, how things went wrong, and how they can be prevented in the future must come from independent, external sources. We believe that the U.S. Congress is best equipped to launch such an investigation.
For far too long, in far too many situations, we have seen the protection and care of children take a backseat to the reputations of institutions, their leaders, and their bank accounts. Whether the institutions in question are churches like SBC or the Catholic Church, a university like Michigan State or University of Michigan, or a youth sports team, camp, or committee, the common thread that ties them together in cases of systemic abuse and cover-up is a lack of oversight and accountability. If our children are to be truly protected and cared for by these institutions, then institutional leaders must be forced to answer to the American people and our government.”
As a founding member of the Keep Kids Safe Movement, Zach Hiner, the Executive Director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), stated: “We hope that all who are tired of news like this will join us in our efforts to protect children and will help spread the word about the important reforms that we believe will help keep kids safe.”
About the Keep Kids Safe Movement’s National Blueprint to End Sexual Violence Against Children and Adolescents:
Among other important legislative and executive actions that will help children grow and prosper, the Keep Kids Safe National Blueprint, calls for a point person at the White House tasked with coordinating federal efforts to combat sexual violence against children and a federal investigation into crimes against children perpetrated in institutions such as this. Around the globe, countries like Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and others have used the power of their federal government to find out what happened in these cases of institutional child sexual abuse and what must be done to prevent it in the future. We believe that it is well beyond time for such an investigation to be launched here in the United States.
Federal investigations in the past have been launched to determine the truth in myriad situations that affect the American public, from steroids in basketball to the regulation of tech monopolies. Now, our movement is calling on our government to show that same level of interest and outrage in crimes committed against children.
About Keep Kids Safe
The Keep Kids Safe Movement is a powerful survivor-led partnership between organizations, survivors, and allies focused on ending sexual violence against children and adolescents in all its forms. The movement is focused on inclusive, comprehensive, bold, and transformative action from national leaders including prevention to protect this and every generation to come, healing for victims, survivors, and their families, and justice for victims and survivors and accountability for perpetrators and institutions who covered up the abuse. Partners include The Army of Survivors, Darkness to Light, The Monique Burr Foundation for Children, the National Children’s Alliance, SNAP, and Together for Girls and stands in solidarity with survivors and allies around the world. Working together, and with bold action from the federal government, Keep Kids Safe believes we can end sexual violence against children now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.Keep-Kids-Safe.org.