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You are here News Domestic (USA) A Southern Baptist panel has voted to open legal records to investigators of abuse

A Southern Baptist panel has voted to open legal records to investigators of abuse

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Southern Baptist panel votes to open records of abuseA top committee of the Southern Baptist Convention agreed Tuesday to open up legally protected records to investigators who will look into how it handled, or mishandled, cases of sexual abuse within the nation's largest Protestant denomination over the past two decades.

The third vote on the matter in less than three weeks by the evangelical denomination's Executive Committee, it reversed two previous ones that would have maintained attorney-client privilege. Waiving that privilege is considered crucial to enabling a transparent reckoning into how the denomination's leaders responded to abuse and abusers in its churches and institutions.

The 44-31 vote followed unsuccessful efforts to negotiate a compromise and the resignation of several board members who had previously opposed the waiver.

Proponents said the Executive Committee really had no choice because it was directed to waive privilege by the ultimate authority in Southern Baptist government: the church representatives, or messengers, who voted at the convention's annual meeting in Nashville in June to authorize an investigation of the committee.

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