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Group Urges Database For Clergy Sex Abuse

SNAP Asks SBC To Hold Hearings With Victims

September 17, 2007

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Members of a self-help group are urging the Southern Baptist Convention to release information about a study they're conducting to address sex abuse by clergy.

One part of the process is to study the feasibility of creating a database for clergy who have been accused, convicted or confessed to sexual abuse.

Some members of the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests or other clergy said they want the SBC to hold public and private hearings with victims, experts and other religious leaders who have dealt with this issue for that database.

The group hand delivered a letter to the committee that's doing the study while they were at the SBC headquarters Monday morning.

“The database by itself would be an insufficient safeguard of our children. We're looking at a much broader, multi-prong approach of how we can best, first of all, protest autonomy of local church, and second, protect the children, too,” said vice president of Convention Relations Roger Oldham.

“Our request is that Baptist officials do not take the most narrow view possible, but in fact create a broad, true helpful list of dangerous predators,” said SNAP national Director David Clohessy.

In addition, the group wants the SBC to release its study methodology and its budget. SBC officials said they do not plan to release the status of the study.

The committee's final report will be released at the June national meeting.