New state law hailed in fight against sex abuse in churches

Odessa American

Nov. 2, 2019

By Bob Campbell

In its annual meeting that concluded here this week, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention passed a resolution thanking the state Legislature for a new law protecting churches from civil liability when disclosing information about sexual predators.

Convention Communications Director Gary Ledbetter of Grapevine said House Bill 4345 lets churches and their staff members and volunteers provide much more than just the dates of employment when answering inquiries about former employees. That information will help in the fight against sex abuse in churches.

“It will keep somebody who was accused of child abuse or sexual abuse from going from church to church,” Ledbetter said.

The resolution says God “abhors violence against the weak and defenseless and calls his people to defend the hurt and oppressed, to stand for justice and to deliver victims of abuse from the hands of their oppressors.”

Attended by 772 messengers, or delegates, and 257 guests, the three-day event featured prominent ministers, including a video address by Paul Chitwood, president of the Richmond, Virginia,-based International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Adam Greenway, new president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, among others.

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