Updated: March 6, 2023
If in the event, you are contacting Guidepost to report a current incident involving sexual abuse, child abuse or any other ongoing and potentially violent behavior by someone, please also contact your local law enforcement agency for immediate help. Please dial 911 if you or someone else is in need of immediate assistance.
Calls to the SBC hotline will initially go to our hotline voicemail. Please leave your name and number along with any information about your availability for further discussion, if you are willing. Every attempt will be made to respond to each caller within 24 hours. Thank you.
If you are calling to report any abuse allegation either current or historic involving a minor, depending on the circumstances, the timeframe and the jurisdiction, Guidepost or the SBC Executive Committee may be required by law to report such allegation to state law enforcement, child protective services or other agencies. Please dial 911 if you know of anyone under the age of 18 that is in immediate danger or currently being abused.
Guidepost Solutions LLC (“Guidepost”) Guidepost is an independent, third party that was hired by the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee (“SBC EC”) on May 25, 2022, to collect reports, whether anonymous or attributed, regarding current and historic allegations of sexual abuse within SBC churches and SBC entities. Guidepost has set up the SBC Hotline as a means to gather information from reporters and refer submissions to the SBC Credentials Committee for their consideration and action as the SBC Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force deems appropriate. All calls/emails are handled exclusively by Guidepost team members. Guidepost continues to maintain this hotline.
The goal of the SBC Hotline is to gather reports of current or former allegations of sexual abuse in a trauma-informed, safe atmosphere for survivors so as to inform the SBC about any past or current issues and allegations which demand action. While Guidepost conducts interviews of reporters of abuse who contact the hotline, we are not currently engaged by the SBC to undertake investigations of any allegation.
A small number of trauma-informed Guidepost team members receive hotline emails/calls and engage with reporters. Once Guidepost receives a report through the hotline, one of our trauma-informed team members contacts and speaks to the reporter to gather additional information relative to the allegation. All calls/emails are handled exclusively by Guidepost team members.
No. Guidepost welcomes all reports of sexual abuse, whether current or historic. We refer all allegations relevant to SBC churches even if the accused is deceased to the SBC Credentials Committee for their consideration and whatever action they deem appropriate.
As stated in a prior FAQ, Guidepost does not independently investigate allegations reported through the SBC Hotline. Based on information received, Guidepost prepares two reports as described below.
Guidepost provides the summaries of the allegations gathered in the course of interviews to the SBC Credentials Committee (“CC”) if it concerns an SBC church affiliated individual. Information from these interviews is provided to the CC through a bi-weekly report (the “CC Report”) which includes the names of alleged abusers, the names and locations of the respective churches, the names of leaders potentially involved, and other details of the allegations. Guidepost does not provide identifying information about the individual who reports the information to the CC, unless specifically approved and directed to do so by the reporter.
In addition to the CC Report, Guidepost provides the Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force (“ARITF”) and the SBC EC executive leadership a second report on a monthly basis. This report summarizes the various statistics of calls/emails through the hotline. No information relative to the allegation or the name of any individual is provided to the ARITF.
Depending on the information reported, the CC will determine if it is appropriate to contact the relevant SBC church for inquiry. For details on the structure and purpose of the Credentials Committee, and their responsibility in regards to reports of abuse, please refer to their website: https://www.sbc.net/about/what-we-do/sbc-governance/credentials-committee/
Currently, Guidepost is serving as an information provider to the SBC. Guidepost is not authorized to independently investigate any reported allegation. Whether or not the Credentials Committee contacts a reporter is solely at the discretion of the Committee. At some point, Guidepost might contact you if further information is needed from you or if there is an initiation of a separate investigation by Guidepost or another entity. Additionally, the SBC’s Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force (ARITF) has been charged with undertaking reforms relative to sexual abuse claims. Additional information relative to the role of the ARITF can be found at https://www.sataskforce.net/faqs.
Guidepost understands the importance of confidentiality to reporters and survivors of sexual abuse. Accordingly, only a small number of trauma-informed Guidepost team members work on the hotline and engage with reporters. As noted in a prior FAQ, no reporter or survivor information is provided to the Credentials Committee unless specifically approved and directed to do so by the reporter.
In addition, with the exception of two possible scenarios, the confidential, private, detailed information reported to the hotline is not shared with anyone outside of the Guidepost team without the express consent of the survivor/reporter. The two exceptions are as follows:
If Guidepost receives an allegation of any abuse by an SBC church affiliated individual, we provide that information to the SBC Credentials Committee, including any current or historical allegation regarding abuse of a minor. Guidepost complies with federal and state mandatory child abuse reporting statutes and regulations. As noted on our website, “If in the event, you are contacting Guidepost to report a current incident involving sexual abuse, child abuse or any other ongoing and potentially violent behavior by someone, please also contact your local law enforcement agency for immediate help. Please dial 911 if you or someone else is in need of immediate assistance.”
As Guidepost was setting up the SBC Hotline, we contemplated that reporters might need additional help or assistance, including counseling or in some cases mental health resources. Guidepost does not serve in this capacity; however, we did compile a list of contact information for online and local sexual abuse resources to provide to reporters as needed. If the reporter requests resources, then Guidepost provides the information, and the reporter can utilize that information at their convenience.
In the eight months Guidepost has operated the hotline, out of the hundreds of reports received, in only two instances, before the creation of the ARITF, and only after reporters expressed a potential need for additional assistance, was a survivor advocate contacted.
Guidepost’s engagement with the SBC currently allows for the collection of information relative to any allegation of sexual abuse by an SBC church or affiliated individuals associated with an SBC church.
Initial SBC Hotline FAQs (effective May 25, 2022 through January 8, 2023)
On September 9, 2021, the Task Force announced that Guidepost Solutions was retained to conduct the independent assessment and investigation regarding the Executive Committee of the SBC, as commissioned by the Messengers of the Convention at the 2021 SBC annual meeting. Pursuant to the Letter of Engagement, Guidepost’s mandate is as follows:
Specifically, and as directed by the SBC Motion, Guidepost investigated:
In addition, Guidepost performed an audit of the procedures and actions of the Credentials Committee after its formation in mid-June 2019, using best standards and practices designed to ensure accountability, transparency, and care for the wellbeing of survivors of sexual abuse.
Additional information regarding the Task Force and the scope of the investigation can be found here.
A press release announcing the retention of Guidepost can be found here.