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Was Stephen Morris Listed in SBC Abuse Investigation Report?

Stephen Morris, pastor of Oliver’s Grove Baptist Church in Four Oaks, North Carolina, was arrested and charged with five counts of statutory rape and five counts of indecent liberties with a child on July 5, 2019. The 13-year-old victim was allegedly abused between June 2013 and June 2014. He was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to 32 criminal charges, including 11 counts of attempted statutory sex offense, 13 counts of indecent liberties with a child, 6 counts of second degree child exploitation, and others. He was sentenced to a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 17 years in prison and will be required to register as a convicted sex offender upon his release.

Southern Baptist Convention Sexual Abuse Helpline

Southern Baptist Abuse Database

According to the Washington Post, a 300-page report was launched on Sunday, May 22, 2022. The report consists of horrifying new specifics concerning particular abuse occurrences and sheds light on how denominational officials actively fought abuse prevention and reform for many years.

Southern Baptist Convention leaders have actually revealed a substantial and independent third-party examination that discovered that abusers were often ignored, forgotten, or perhaps blamed by high-level congregation administrators from within this religious denomination of larger than 16 million individuals. Moreover, it disclosed these leaders frequently deceived their own members to prevent them from being aware of the rampant sexual misbehavior.

Continue reading more about the bombshell Southern Baptist Abuse Database

A History of Dismissed Misconduct

For almost 20 years, victims who were sexually assaulted sought to speak with the administration of the Southern Baptist Convention concerning the preachers and congregation employees. Almost all of these reported occurrences fell outside of the SOL, making it not clear just how many sexual predators were in fact incriminated. According to the report, a secret record was kept. Survivors’ cries for accountability went unheeded as leaders from organizations and churches attempted to protect themselves rather than those who have been taken advantage of by sexual assault.

One victim described being treated with animosity as she alleged she was sexually assaulted by a youth pastor. The implicated pastor served in multiple Southern Baptist churches in numerous 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 Baptist Church

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 shows a pattern of stonewalling, retaliation, intimidation, and coverup.” He desires this report will bring much-needed change and hold those responsible for their sexual assault.

The document states that a key Southern Baptist leader was credibly implicated of sexual abuse no more than 1 month after completing his two-year stretch as the convention’s president. The report also names 3 prior presidents of the convention, a previous vice president, and the previous head of the SBC’s administrative council as notable SBC leaders who aided in protecting and actually encouraged suspected sexual predators.

He anticipates this report will bring much-needed reform and hold those accountable for their actions.

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