Plug-In: How the SBC sex abuse scandal turned a city hall reporter into a religion writer

Get Religion (blog)

January 27, 2020

By Bobby Ross Jr.

Robert Downen almost burned out on newspapers and went into the insurance business.

Instead, the talented journalist, now 28, stuck it out and spearheaded what the Religion News Association chose as the No. 1 religion story of 2019.

I’m talking about the Houston Chronicle’s bombshell investigation that revealed more than 700 victims of sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention and spurred reforms by the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

Come April, Downen’s work on the “Abuse of Faith” project could earn him and his colleagues a Pulitzer Prize. For now, it has resulted in a new gig for the former City Hall reporter. As of last week, he’s covering religion full time for the Houston newspaper. This is wonderful news for Downen and Chronicle readers.

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