Editor’s note: This story will be updated as new information becomes available.
By Scott Barkley
NASHVILLE — A marathon afternoon session that stretched past three hours Tuesday (Sept. 21) ended with Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee members approving a motion to fund a contractual agreement with Guidepost Solutions for investigating claims of mishandling sexual abuse accusations.
EC member Melissa Golden’s motion that replaced the original one submitted by officers authorizes a budget up to $1.6 million – funded through the Cooperative Program – for the investigation and requests the Sex Abuse Task Force and EC officers agree on a contract with Guidepost within seven days “without waiving attorney-client privilege at this time.”
The motion continued in urging the Executive Committee toward “negotiating legal means of accomplishing the goal of a public internal investigation” and submitting that agreement to the EC, Task Force and Guidepost by Sept. 28. A final stipulation of the motion determined that “at this point, attorney-client privilege is not yet being waived but is being fleshed out through negotiation.”
Attorney-client privilege – namely, the subject’s absence from the officers’ motion – led to immediate questioning by EC members and a vote to allow Bruce Frank, chair of the Sexual Abuse Task Force, to give his input. [Read more…]