JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – An independent investigation alleged that the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) covered up cases of abuse for almost two decades.

The report, commissioned by SBC, showed how survivors of abuse were met with “resistance, stonewalling and outright hostility” from the convention.

According to the report, an internal list of accused abusers was kept secret from the public, survivors were ignored or intimidated when reporting abuse and internal investigations were rejected by SBC leadership.

Among the cases in the investigation was that of a former Clinton music minister, John Langworthy.

According to the report, former SBC President Jack Graham quietly dismissed Langworthy in 1989 after rumors of inappropriate behavior.

Langworthy pled guilty to five counts of abuse in Jackson 22 years later.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) Communication Manager Mike McDonnell shared his reaction to the report.

“It’s not shocking. It’s not surprising to us at all. In fact, the numbers looked low to me. I believe that there are going to be more victims that come forward,” said McDonnell.

The report mentioned interviews with 25 survivors. Approximately 330 total individuals were interviewed in the report.

On moving forward, McDonnell emphasized the need for the list of abusers to be made public.

“There’s only one way to get through this. That’s to clean up the wreckage of your past and to admit and demonstrate that these are the faults. These are our failures. We need to be transparent and accountable for every single one of those,” said McDonnell.

The Mississippi Baptist Convention Board released a statement to WJTV 12 News about the report.

Mississippi Baptists grieve the reality of sexual abuse in any setting, but especially abuse that occurs in the context of the church. We affirm that sexual abuse must not be tolerated in any form, and every measure available should be utilized to prevent individuals from abusing those who are vulnerable. We also offer our deepest concerns and prayers for those who have experienced abuse of any sort, and we are committed to ministering with Christ’s love to the needs of these individuals.

Although it is difficult and heartbreaking to receive the Guidepost Solutions report, we are thankful that Southern Baptists have taken action to expose and deal with abuse that has occurred within our denomination. Mississippi Baptists have been and continue to be committed to give this issue the needed attention it demands as we support the work of our churches in fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

Dr. Shawn Parker, Executive Director-Treasurer of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board