LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The below statement was issued today responding to the release of the Southern Baptist Convention Sexual Abuse Task Force report on behalf of Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) Executive Director Dr. J.D. “Sonny” Tucker, ABSC Convention President Dr. Larry D. White, ABSC Executive Board President Dr. Jeff Paxton, and ABSC Sexual Abuse Task Force Chairman Rev. Brad Lewter:
“The content of the Southern Baptist Convention Sexual Abuse Task Force report is heartbreaking. We are thankful for the courage of survivors of abuse in coming forward with their stories. We grieve for anyone who suffers abuse and we desire that all our churches are safe places, where every person is respected and valued.
All of us, as Arkansas Baptists, need to continue moving forward with compassion and care for survivors of abuse, expanded abuse-prevention training, and implementation of safety practices, policies, and procedures.
We want to personally thank the almost 800 Arkansas Baptist churches that have participated in abuse prevention training. We are also thankful for the Living Well Counseling Ministry provided by Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries, which has provided hope and healing to so many survivors of abuse.
We, as Arkansas Baptists, ask God’s blessings as we strive to protect the innocent and minister to survivors of abuse.”