Cordova pastor admits to not reporting abuse in light of SBC investigation
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Mid-South pastor is addressing abuse claims within his church following the year-long investigation into sexual abuse within the Southern Baptist Convention.
Pastor Steve Gaines, serving at Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, says in 2006 a staff member came to him to report abuse he committed 17 years prior. Gaines says though a thorough investigation was done at the time, he did not report it to the authorities.
Gaines says he did not know his obligation to report the incident but no other incidents of abuse have been reported at Bellevue since 2006.
Gaines says the church implemented training on how to identify and report suspected abuse. All staff and church leaders are required to take this training annually. It’s also available to all members.
Gaines shared a statement with the Action News 5 newsroom. He wrote in part:
“My desire is to lead and shepherd our congregation with grace and biblical integrity. We do not and will not tolerate abuse of any kind and desire complete transparency and accountability.
Bellevue is committed to supporting survivors, working to prevent abuse, and making our church a safe place for all people to experience salvation and Christian growth.
It is time for us as a Convention to move forward with great humility as we repent and seek the guidance of the Lord. Pray for our Convention, that we will act decisively on this report in June at the SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim.
May the Lord lead us forward in grace and humility.”
This comes after the SBC had its annual meeting in 2021 where a task force was commissioned to investigate sexual abuse within the convention. The task force released its findings this week reporting the convention mishandled sex abuse allegations.
Now, according to the Associated Press, the denomination is faced with a push to create a publicly accessible database of pastors and other church personnel known to be abusers.
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