(Editor’s note: The following is from our reporting partners at The Baptist Paper. The Executive Committee will meet online in executive session on Monday afternoon. Details of that meeting are not expected to be made public. This report shows what is known so far about the extent of the Department of Justice investigation as it involves 13 SBC entities.)
Members of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee will hear more details today related to the Aug. 12 announcement of a federal investigation into the SBC. The special called meeting has been reported as an information-only discussion and not open to the public, but more details related to the EC’s next steps in a variety of areas are anticipated in the coming days.
The Aug. 12 news report and accompanying statement by SBC entity and auxiliary leaders and SBC president Bart Barber (see below) does not indicate when SBC EC leaders first learned of the United States Department of Justice investigation but does state the investigation will include “multiple SBC entities.” The DOJ also has not released any information on the topic.
The current work being done by federal prosecutors is technically only fact-finding in nature at this point. Its purpose is to determine whether any criminal activity allegedly occurred by any individual or group that appears in the sexual abuse report released by Guidepost Solutions. The report was the culmination of the 2021 SBC messengers’ call for a third-party investigation into the SBC EC’s handling of sexual abuse.
According to the DOJ’s website, evidence obtained by the prosecutors in cases such as this one will be presented to a grand jury, and the grand jury will in turn vote on whether indictments should be issued.
At press time, the EC is the only group confirmed to have received a subpoena from the DOJ so far, and no individuals from the EC have been subpoenaed, according to an EC spokesperson. Along with contacting the EC, The Baptist Paper has reached out to each of the 11 other entities and one auxiliary (WMU) and most have responded confirming no subpoena has been received. The Baptist Paper is waiting to hear back from three entities. This information will be updated as more details become available.