Clergy misconduct is a serious offense with physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences. Yet many churches quietly dismiss the problem, or simply don’t address it at all. The Southern Baptist Convention, as an institution, has taken a hands-off approach to misconduct and abuse allegations, allowing each congregation to manage the situations independently.
Because the Southern Baptist Convention and other denominations have been reluctant at an institutional level to address clergy abuse, independent survivors have created their own resources, including databases of badly-behaving Baptists, Anglicans, and Catholics. These databases document convictions and credible allegations of misconduct, giving congregations more information if they are considering someone for employment or membership. The purpose of this information is to protect congregations and prevent future victims.
Employers — including churches — can be held legally liable for the misconduct of their employees and volunteers, especially if they are aware of the misconduct and do not take sufficient steps to protect their other employees, members, clients, or congregants.