SAN ANTONIO (AP) Two newspapers are reporting that about 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and workers have been accused of sexual misconduct since 1998, leaving more than 700 victims.
The San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle reported Sunday that their six-month joint investigation found that many of the victims were shunned by their churches.
They reported that at least 35 church pastors, employees and volunteers who exhibited predatory behavior were still able to find jobs at churches.
Some registered sex offenders returned to the pulpit.
Several past presidents and prominent Southern Baptist Convention were among those that victims criticized for concealing or mishandling abuse complaints within their churches or seminaries.
Rev. J.D. Greear, who was elected the SBC's president last June, said in a series of tweets that the abuses “are pure evil.”
"I join with countless others who are currently 'weeping with those who weep,'" Greear tweeted, vowing to mobilize the Southern Baptist Convention in "stopping predators in our midst."
"The voices in this article should be heard as a warning sent from God, calling the church to repent," Greear tweeted.
"As Christians, we are called to expose everything sinful to the light. The survivors in this article have done that -- at a personal cost few of us can fathom."
"There can simply be no ambiguity about the church's responsibility to protect the abused and be a safe place for the vulnerable. The safety of the victims matters more than the reputation of Southern Baptists,” he tweeted.