NASHVILLE (BP) —The Southern Baptist Convention Sex Abuse Task Force released the fifth update on its work with Guidepost Solutions in the investigation of the SBC Executive Committee’s alleged mishandling of sex abuse claims.
The group said it would be its last update before Guidepost’s full report is made public.
Guidepost and the task force said they will release the actual portion of the report to the SBC committee on cooperation on May 10.
“The guidepost will not provide its observations or conclusions to the [committee] but strictly the factual portion so that any inadvertent errors (eg, titles, dates) can be corrected, ”the task force reported.
Guidepost’s report is due to the task force on May 15. A date for the public release of the report has not been announced.
In the update, the group reported Guidepost completed 313 interviews, with some individuals being interviewed multiple times. One interview is still to be conducted.
Thirty-one witnesses were contacted who, according to the Guidepost, declined to participate, and investigators found that 24 potential witnesses were deceased.
The two prime architects of the self-described “conservative resurgence” and the pastor of a prominent North Texas church were among those who declined to be interviewed by the task force.
- Judge Paul Pressler declined due to health concerns.
- Paige Patterson “declined through attorney and stated he had no recollection of the subject of sexual abuse coming up during the last six months of his presidency that falls under the scope of the investigation.”
- Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, “offered full access to presidential papers as participation; after Guidepost confirmed we already had access and requested an interview at his convenience, received no response to that request. ”
In a correspondence shared with Baptist Press, Graham’s office responded to a Guidepost email by saying, “Given that his presidency was 20 years ago, we’re also not sure how helpful an in-person interview would be in the first place.”
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The list of potential witnesses was composed of more than 80 members of the SBC Executive Committee who serve annually over a period of 21 years, current and former Executive Committee staff members, and SBC officers and entity heads between Jan. 1, 2000, and June 14, 2021.
Messengers to the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting called for President Ed Litton to name the task force to secure a firm to conduct the independent third-party investigation of the Executive Committee.