The United States Department of Justice maintains an investigation for sexual abuse against the Southern Baptist Church, the largest Protestant creed in the country, the congregation itself reported in a statement on Friday.
Church officials said they were cooperating “completely” with the investigations and reiterated that they regret the “mistakes” of the past.
In mid-June, the parishioners of the Southern Baptist Convention approved the creation and disclosure of a registry of pastors who have committed sexual abuse, after learning of a report that evidenced previous attempts to hide these cases.
The vote took place during the annual meeting of this Church, which was held south of Los Angeles, and was attended by some 8,000 people to decide the future of the largest Protestant creed in the US, with almost 15 million members and more than 47,000 churches across the country.
Most of the attendees gave the go-ahead both to publish the names associated with abuse complaints and to keep that list updated with the cases that are discovered in the future.
The decision came after an independent report, commissioned by the institution itself, was released in May, which concluded that Church leaders ignored and even intimidated victims of abuse and hid their claims for at least two decades.
The investigation, carried out by the company Guidepost Solutions, covered the complaints of children and women against pastors and employees of the group’s churches since the year 2000.
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As detailed in the report, the leadership of the Church already had in its hands a detailed list of religious accused of abuse, but kept it secret while many of those who appeared on that registry continued to work in temples throughout the country.
Before, the entity had defended that it could not collect information on the alleged abuses for interfering with the autonomy of the different churches. (YO)