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church and state

Justice Department investigating Southern Baptist Convention over handling of sex abuse

The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, announced Friday that the Justice Department is conducting an investigation into the convention's handling of sex abuse cases, The New York Times and Washington Post reported.

"The SBC Executive Committee recently became aware that the Department of Justice has initiated an investigation into the Southern Baptist Convention, and that the investigation will include multiple SBC entities," a statement from 14 SBC leaders read. "Individually and collectively each SBC entity is resolved to fully and completely cooperate with the investigation."

This announcement comes after an internal report released in May revealed the widespread suppression of reports of sexual abuse within the SBC. The Post explained that the report led to "a recommendation to create a database to track sex abusers and a formal group to handle sex abuse accusations going forward."

The SBC has nearly 14 million members across more than 47,000 churches.