Chaos erupts over SBC legal filing in Louisville abuse lawsuit

by | Oct 26, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — Abuse survivors, along with some members of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee and the SBC’s abuse reform task force, have denounced a Kentucky court filing by Southern Baptist entities aimed at limiting their liability for sexual abuse claims.A brief filed earlier this year by lawyers for the Executive Committee, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Lifeway, an SBC publisher, argues that a Kentucky law that changed the statute of limitations for making civil claims over abuse — and allowing survivors to sue third parties such as churches or police — should not be applied retroactively.
“There are no mincing of words here. No holding back. This is disgusting,” abuse survivors Megan Lively, Jules Woodson and Tiffany Thigpen said in a statement released Wednesday (Oct. 25).

A group of Southern Baptist leaders working on abuse reforms also criticized the brief, saying the filing was “a choice to stand against every survivor in Kentucky.”
“This brief, and the policy arguments made in it, were made without our knowledge and without our approval,” the statement read. “Moreover, they do not represent our values and positions.”
Members of the Executive Committee, including Oklahoma pastor Mike Keahbone, expressed dismay at the brief, saying he and other members of the committee were blindsided by it. Keahbone, a member of a task force implementing abuse reforms in the SBC, said the brief undermined surviv …

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