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Was Sherman R. Smith Listed in Southern Baptist Abuse Database?

Sherman R. Smith, pastor of Bibleway Missionary Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Second Highway Baptist Church in Marrero, Louisiana, was charged with rape or sexual abuse of at least seven juvenile victims in 2001. More victims have come forward. At least one victim was under the age of eleven. During “sleepovers at Smith’s house,” some abuse occurred.

Southern Baptist Convention Sexual Abuse Helpline

Southern Baptist Convention Guidepost Report

According to the Washington Post, a 300-page report was released on Sunday, May 22, 2022. The report contains horrible new details relating to specific abuse circumstances and sheds light on how denominational authorities actively hindered abuse prevention and reform for years.

Southern Baptist Convention leaders have actually announced an extensive and independent third-party examination that uncovered that abusers were typically overlooked, forgotten, or even criticized by high-level congregation representatives from within this religious denomination of larger than 16 million people. In addition, it showed these leaders often lied to their own members to prevent them from being aware of the unchecked sexual wrongdoing.

Read more on the Southern Baptist Convention Guidepost Report

A Record of Dismissed Misconduct

Nearly all of these reported incidents occurred outside of the statute of limitations, making it uncertain how many abusers were in fact charged. According to the report, an in-house list of abusers was kept.

The report states that an essential Southern Baptist leader was credibly accused of sexual assault only 1 month after finishing his two-year term as the convention’s president. The report also names three prior presidents of the convention, a former vice president, and the former head of the SBC’s administrative arm as renowned SBC leaders who helped in covering and even encouraged suspected abusers.

One victim described being treated with hostility as she claimed she was sexually abused by a youth pastor. The implicated pastor served in numerous Southern Baptist churches in a number of states. During a conference with the SBC leaders in 2007, a member of the Executive Council “turned his back to her during her speech and another chortled.”

Responsibility in the Southern Baptist Convention

Russell Moore, the previous head of the SBC’s policy arm, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, mentioned ‘this is not all Southern Baptists, look at all the good we do.’ The report demonstrates a pattern of stonewalling, retaliation, intimidation, and coverup.” He anticipates this document will deliver much-needed change and hold those accountable for their horrific actions.

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