Was Gary Ladell Smitherman Named in Southern Baptist List of Abusers?
Gary Ladell Smitherman served as the youth minister at Friendship Baptist Church in Clanton, Alabama. In August 2018, he was found guilty of one count of child sexual abuse and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Southern Baptist Convention News
According to the Washington Post, a 300-page report was released on Sunday, May 22, 2022. The report contains horrible brand-new specifics concerning specific abuse circumstances and clarify how denominational authorities actively hindered abuse prevention and change for decades.
Southern Baptist Convention leaders have announced a substantial and independent third-party examination that discovered that abusers were often ignored, forgotten, and even denounced by high-level church authorities from within this religious denomination of more than 16 million individuals. Furthermore, it exposed these leaders typically lied to their own members to stop them from knowing the flagrant sexual misbehavior.
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A Record of Dismissed Abuse
Nearly all of these reported occurrences fell outside of the statutes of limitations, making it unclear how many predators were in fact charged. According to the report, an in-house list of predators was kept.
One victim talked about being treated with hostility as she claimed she was sexually abused by a youth pastor. The accused pastor served in numerous Southern Baptist churches in several states. At a conference with the SBC leaders in 2007, a member of the Executive Committee “turned his back to her during her speech and another chortled.”
Responsibility in the SBC
Russell Moore, the former head of the SBC’s policy branch, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, specified ‘this is not all Southern Baptists, look at all the good we do.’ The report shows a trend of stonewalling, coverup, intimidation, and retaliation.” He anticipates this report will bring much-needed change and hold those accountable for their actions.
The document states that a leading Southern Baptist official was credibly implicated of sexual assault no more than one month after finishing his two-year spell as the convention’s president. The report likewise names 3 previous presidents of the convention, a former vice president, and the previous head of the SBC’s administrative arm as renoun SBC leaders who assisted in covering up and actually encouraged presumed sexual predators.
He wishes this report will be the catalyst for much-needed change and hold those accountable for their horrific acts of abuse.
For more information about resources available to survivors in Alabama, visit our page: https://abuseguardian.com/sexual-assault-lawyer/alabama/sex-trafficking-lawyer-al/
Abuse Guardian for Alabama & Mississippi