A task force created to oversee an independent investigation into the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee issued its second official update today (Sept. 9).
The review was initiated during this year’s annual meeting following allegations that Executive Committee members defamed sex abuse survivors, bullied advocates and resisted reform efforts.
The task force also published email correspondence with SBC Executive Committee chairman Rolland Slade about ongoing requests for the committee, its members and other related parties to waive attorney-client privilege during the inquiry to ensure a full and transparent investigation.
The full text of the press release is provided below.
The Task Force of the Southern Baptist Convention has unanimously retained Guidepost Solutions to conduct the independent assessment and investigation regarding the Executive Committee of the SBC, as commissioned by the Messengers of the Convention at this year’s annual meeting.
Per the mandate of the Messengers, the Task Force underwent an independent process of receiving and vetting proposals submitted by investigative and law firms through August 12 of 2021. After extensive reviews by the Task Force, the Guidepost Solutions team was selected based on the following criteria:
- Extensive background in abuse, trauma, and abusive dynamics, with considerable background involving abuse in religious contexts.
- Significant experience with corporate and legal dynamics which contribute to the mishandling of or proper responses to, sexual abuse, survivor care and abuse prevention.
- Robust understanding of and focus on the impact of leadership, with significant skill assessing and reporting on cultural dynamics of an institution and their impact on abuse and abuse prevention.
- Team members with strong background in SBC culture and polity.
- A firm commitment to survivor care, trauma-informed practices, and importance of survivor trust.
- A highly skilled multi-disciplinary team with expertise in a wide-range of areas who are individually and jointly equipped to investigate, assess, and report on the full scope commissioned in the resolution.
- Extensive experience with reform and compliance, enabling the firm to not only obtain and accurately report on information, but provide recommendations that are effective, creative and match best-standards practices with SBC structure.
- An in-depth understanding of best-standards practices for investigations and assessments with the ability to provide clear guidance and input to the Task Force on best methods for pursuing transparency, accountability, and reform in the investigative process.
The goal of this assessment and investigation is to pursue the best interests of survivors and the SBC at large by prioritizing transparency, accountability and the highest ethical standards and practices. Selecting a firm with significant expertise and credibility in this sphere provides assurance that the processes will prioritize accuracy in the counsel, assessment and report provided.
To that end, Guidepost has assembled a team of experts who are skilled in areas vital to conducting a thorough and transparent investigation according to the mandate of the Messengers. Specifically, the members of the team are experts in conducting sensitive investigations in a trauma-informed manner, providing unbiased and reasonable recommendations for meaningful and sustainable change, and are understanding and appreciative of the Baptist faith and biblical principles.
Key members of the team include:
- Julie Myers Wood – Chief Executive Officer, Guidepost Solutions
- Samantha Kilpatrick – Subject Matter Expert, Kilpatrick Law Group
- Krista Tongring – Managing Director, Guidepost Solutions
- Courtney Bullard – Subject Matter Expert, Founder of Institutional Compliance Solutions Bradley Dizik – Senior Managing Director, Guidepost Solutions
- Asha Muldro, Deputy General Counsel/Senior Managing Director, Guidepost Solutions
Additional information regarding the team members can be found here.
Survivors, witnesses, and other members of the public who wish to communicate with the Guidepost team can do so through the following email address: [email protected].
Persons reporting information to this email address can do so anonymously. Names and other personally identifying information of survivors and witnesses who choose to report information to this email address will remain private so long as permitted by law. Only Guidepost will have access to the information submitted to this email address; it is not accessible to the Task Force or the SBC.
Broad information on the firm is available at guidepostsolutions.com, and Task Force updates will continue to provide information and further details on the team and process.
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