After the storm, a lull of information from the SBC Executive Committee

After the storm, a lull of information from the SBC Executive Committee

After the storm, a lull of information from the SBC Executive Committee

This story now includes significant updates below.

This story now includes significant updates below.

After weeks of making national headlines, the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee has gone virtually silent about its internal workings and its relationship to the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force.

The two top leaders of the Executive Committee — President Ronnie Floyd and Executive Vice President Greg Addison — have resigned in protest over the organization’s trustees waiving attorney-client privilege in the sexual abuse investigation. No public announcement has been made about who is in charge at the Executive Committee as of Nov. 1.

Trustees of the Executive Committee have continued to meet almost weekly, but those meetings have been either in closed session or not livestreamed as with the earlier series of more contentious meetings about waiving attorney-client privilege.

Baptist Press, which is part of the Executive Committee staff, published a brief report Nov. 10 about that day’s trustee meeting. That report said trustees had “received updates on the progress of the Sexual Abuse Task Force,” as well as on the search for new legal counsel, since the SBC’s longtime law firm also quit in protest of the terms of the sexual abuse investigation.

Of that investigation, Executive Committee Chairman Rolland Slade of California told BP: “The investigation getting off to a smooth start is important.”

While the task force has established its own website to give periodic updates — which were frequent and transparent during the earlier debate — nothing new has been posted to the site in five weeks.

While the task force has established its own website to give periodic updates — which were frequent and transparent during the earlier debate — nothing new has been posted to the site in five weeks.

BP also reported that the Nashville law firm Bradley is now assisting the Executive Committee as it collects documents related to the sexual abuse investigation, which is being conducted by the firm Guidepost Solutions, which reports directly to the task force.

Nearly 20% of the Executive Committee’s 86 trustee slots are now vacant, mainly due to the 16 trustees who resigned because of the vote to waive attorney-client privilege. Another trustee had resigned earlier in the year for other reasons, and yet another trustee recently died. That leaves a current total of 68 trustees.

By the standards of most nonprofit boards, the Executive Committee board of trustees is enormous. That is due to a structure that provides representation from all the state and regional conventions that relate to the SBC.

While Floyd’s departure previously was reported by BNG, Addison’s resignation had not been reported. He had served in the newly created role only since October 2020, brought on board by Floyd after his own hiring in April 2019.

Addison previously served as associate executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention for six years. He is a lawyer and ordained minister, having served two Arkansas congregations.

UPDATE: Soon after this BNG story was posted, the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force posted an update to its website. It explained that a letter of engagement has been signed and Guidepost Solutions has begun its official work.

“Significant progress has been made in the weeks since the contract was signed,” the task force reported. It detailed four specific actions:

  • The task force and Guidepost submitted an “initial document request” to the SBC Executive Committee and has “received and reviewed relevant materials provided on a rolling basis. Document production continues.”
  • Guidepost has “received and reviewed relevant documents and other information from independent sources, including survivors and witnesses.”
  • Guidepost has “conducted numerous interviews with survivors, witnesses and current and former (Executive Committee) members and staff. Guidepost values all survivors’ input and information, but in order to avoid re-traumatization, Guidepost will not affirmatively reach out to any survivor.”
  • Guidepost has “conducted background research using publicly available resources, including the review of pertinent legal documents and media reports.”

The update reiterates a request for survivors, witnesses, and members of the SBC community to contact the investigative team directly by emailing .

“Guidepost created a secure file serve for people to upload documents directly,” the task force said. “Guidepost can offer confidentiality to witnesses if desired. All survivor information will remain anonymous unless Guidepost is otherwise instructed by the survivor. No one except the Guidepost team has access to the information that is provided during the investigation.”

 

 

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