BGCT posts registered sex offenders
serving in Texas Baptist churches
By John Hall
Texas Baptist Communications
DALLAS—The Baptist General Convention of Texas is providing a list registered sex offenders who were or are on staff at its affiliated churches.
The convention will post online at www.bgct.org/brokentrust the eight names of people in its file of sexual misconduct incidents who are convicted sex offenders and will begin reviewing the list of ministers at each of its more than 5,600-affiliated congregations to see if any other registered sex offenders are serving across the state. If any offenders are discovered, they also will be listed on the BGCT’s website.
The BGCT continuously will keep this list updated, and will mail the list of registered sex offenders to all of its churches periodically beginning this fall.
The move is part of a convention emphasis to protect children and churches, said Emily Prevost, associate coordinator of leader research & product development with the BGCT congregational leadership team. The convention is increasing efforts to educate churches on how to do nationwide background checks on potential staff members and how to create safe children’s and youth ministry programs.
The BGCT also has a team of people who can help churches prevent clergy sexual misconduct and respond appropriately if it does.
Prevost believes publishing the list of registered sex offenders online will help churches make informed decisions in calling and retaining staff members while protecting children and members.
“The BGCT is concerned about the problem of clergy sexual misconduct, and we care deeply about its victims,” Prevost said.
Registered sex offenders have been convicted of rape, child molestation or sexual battery.
The BGCT’s file of minister sexual misconduct incidents also includes ministers who committed adultery, became addicted to pornography or were involved in homosexual behavior. Fewer than 100 names are on file. Files are created when a minister is convicted or confesses to sexual misconduct or congregational leaders report an incident. Ministers with BGCT incident files who were not convicted of criminal activity will not be posted online.
Elected leaders of search committees across the country can send a notarized form to the convention to discover if a specific candidate’s name is in the file. Convention officials reveal if the person in the file.
“We make available upon request information regarding whether a person has an incident listed in the file,” Prevost said. “This information is available to duly elected officers of any church, Baptist or not.”
The BGCT’s clergy sexual misconduct review team also is considering establishing a hotline that would allow victims to report allegations of sexual abuse directly if they are uncomfortable talking about it with leaders of their church or if they feel their concerns are not being heard, she added. The proposed hotline still is in the discussion phase, and no implementation process is in place yet, she noted.