Recent report details sexual abuse allegations within the Southern Baptist Church

South Carolina News

SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – A recent report about sexual abuse within the Southern Baptist Church uncovered years of convictions and cover-ups.

The allegations date back at least 20 years with victims claiming abuse by ministers, youth pastors and Sunday school teachers.

The investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News uncovered sexual abuse allegations in the church.

The article says the abuse affected 700 victims over the past 20 years.

Rev. Schuyler Peterson is not connected to any of these allegations of wrongdoing but said the news is troubling.     

“The church should be the safest organization in the whole world,” Peterson said. “When something like this happens it is a reminder that there’s just a whole lot of bad stuff out there.”

Peterson said his church has safety measures in place to hopefully keep their members and their families safe.

“That is something that is on the forefront of our minds is safety and we take a lot of measures to make sure that we are never in that situation,” he said. “From a preventative standpoint, we do background checks on every one of our volunteers, even if the volunteer grew up in the church and been here for 30, 40, 50 years.”

The investigation done by the Houston Chronicle shows eight convicted offenders connected to South Carolina, half of them in the Upstate.

That includes three in Greenwood County and one in Union County with charges that included criminal sexual conduct assault and the abuse of dozens of children.

They held jobs from youth minister to music director and are only part of the more than 380 confirmed convictions across the country compiled in the study.

The president of the Southern Baptist Convention, J.D. Greear, responded to the report saying he was “broken” by the report and he called the abuse “pure evil.”

The Chronicle’s database can be accessed here

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