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Southern Baptist Convention nearing final ‘real-time database’ of accused sex predators | Criminal Justice | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

The Southern Baptist Convention plans officially to create a real-time database of accused sex predators with a set of criteria for inclusion on the list, according to Pastor Mike Keahbone (a minister at the First Baptist Church in Lawton).

Rev. Keahbone serves on the task force developing the system, which will come with a background check system.

The criteria for placing people in the database would be those “credibly accused.”

Keahbone said the criteria is:

* Confessing in a non-privileged setting

* Convicted of a crime

* Having a civil judgment rendered against them

We don’t want to put somebody on the list that shouldn’t be on there,” said Keahbone.

He explained that SBC leadership will vet submissions from members to make sure they meet criteria. The database could keep convicted or accused people out of ministry positions in the SBC or even lead to a form of what could be deemed “excommunication” — but more details await formal unveiling of the system.

A year ago, a list of accused sexual predators was released.

Church leaders then moved to develop these plans, for a more systematic approach to gain knowledge of those seeking or in ministerial positions who have broken the ministerial trust, and who can be considered a threat to the values and moral obligations a person of faith has based on biblical principles.

Baptist leaders have cited Exodus 18:21, relating the story of Moses, who was told by God to select capable men from all the people — trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain — and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.

Leaders of the SBC (also known as Great Commission Baptists) believe this new data base is a direct means to act responsibly in vetting the moral character of people who are church members or those seeking leadership roles whom SBC would like to keep at bay.

A fourth category or criterion is being considered, but Keahbone thinks it might be redundant.

“It is a determination by an independent third party that is based on a preponderance of evidence, which what people don’t understand a lot of times is that the same standard — a preponderance of evidence — is the same standard used in civil litigation and civil judgments,” as Keahbone was quoted in several news reports.

At face value, the SBC is setting up its own system to deal with internal problems first widely revealed a year ago. The results of someone in violation of moral and ethical strictures could be prevention or removal from the church leadership or membership.

News reports in the Houston Chronicle and then in other news stories documented the extent of the problem.

For more than a decade, Wade Burleson (a former President of the Baptist Convention of Oklahoma) pressed for accountability in such matters.

Burleson and was unsuccessful in pressing for a database and other methods for a reckoning.

His efforts began in 2007, when he first called for creation of what one reporter called a “preacher predator” listing.

Last year, Southern Baptists learned that while SBC leaders had pushed against such a system, just such an internal data base of predators and those accused of such behavior had been compiled and withheld from members of the congregation.

(https://www.city-sentinel.com/government/in-the-midst-of-a-church-scandal-wade-burleson-channels-mike-schwartz-and-tom-coburn/article_82dc9dc4-e9ac-11ec-bfb2-9fe53624924b.html )

Gratified with the steps taken to address the challenge, Burleson has reflected on not tossing the whole “barrel” because of the “bad apples.” Rev. Burleson – now president of Istoria Ministries — said, “for years church leaders turned a blind eye to the problem.”

As Keahbone says, “every single one of those families’ lives were changed forever…and it happened on our watch.”

Keahbone and his colleagues believe the new database will lead to renewed trust and confidence in SBC leadership and policies.

Note: Pat McGuigan, editor emeritus for The City Sentinel newspaper, contributed to this report.

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