Hammerco Lawyers LLP has partnered with top American law firm Levin Papantonio Rafferty, one of the most prominent personal injury law firms in the US, to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse within the Southern Baptist Convention in the US and Canadian National Baptist Convention in Canada.
The investigation stems from a report issued by Guidepost Solutions in 2022 exposing two decades of sexual abuse within the Southern Baptist Convention. Guidepost was hired to investigate multiple allegations against the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee (SBC EC), staff, and member churches including sexual abuse and mistreating and intimidating sexual abuse survivors or advocates.
According to the report, for many years, survivors of sexual abuse have attempted to reach out to the SBC EC via virtually every method of communication and were met with “resistance, stonewalling, and even outright hostility.”
The report further examines the SBC’s response to the reports of abuse, and states that for many years the response was “…singularly focused on avoiding liability for the SBC.”
According to the report, the SBC had collected the names of over 700 abusers, and of those alleged abusers, over 400 were likely affiliated with the SBC. However, the Executive Committee attempted to avoid liability for the abuses by refusing to investigate reports of abuse. Further, they took no steps to prevent ministers accused of sexual abuse to hold postions of power in their churches.
The Guidepost investigation was the result of investigative journalism into sex crimes at the hands of SBC church leaders and volunteers.
In 2019, the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News published an editorial series uncovering the fact that 700 hundred individuals were victims of sexual abuse by SBC church leaders and volunteers. Since 2000, hundreds of church representatives had been criminally charged with sex crimes. The series also exposed SBC leaders’ covering up, ignoring, or mishandling of warnings that the abuse was happening.
“As leaders decline to act, the numbers grow. They were pastors. Deacons. Ministers. Youth pastors. Sunday school and Christian school teachers. They left behind more than 700 victims.”
Hammerco is already working on behalf of individuals who experienced sexual abuse by religious leaders, staff members, or volunteers within the Canadian National Baptist Convention (the Southern Baptist Convention in Canada).
Our goal is to ensure that individuals are informed of their legal rights and options if they experienced any sexual abuse or assault within a religious organization or institution in Canada.
It’s never too late to come forward and hold offenders – and the institutions that allow abuse to take place – accountable for their actions. Our team of trauma-informed legal experts, including Managing Partner Morgyn Chandler, Partner Kevin McLaren, and Associate Alexia Majidi are available to answer your questions and help you understand your legal options.
We understand that each individual will have their own story and experience. When you are ready to tell your story, we will provide a safe space for you to do so. We also recognize the importance of survivors seeking counselling or speaking with their mental health care providers to discuss any ongoing psychological or physical concerns arising from experiencing abuse.
We endeavour to seek compensation for the victims, to hold those in charge accountable, and to prevent these kinds of abuses from happening in the future.
If you or someone you know is a survivor of abuse that occurred within the Canadian National Baptist Convention or another religious organization, contact us to discuss your options.
Practicing in a trauma-informed manner is central to our civil sexual assault practice. We aim to provide a safe space for survivors to get answers to their questions and explore their legal options.
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