Lawyers for Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, filed an amicus brief in April in a Kentucky Supreme Court case opposing the expansion of the statute of limitations on sex-abuse lawsuits against “non-perpetrator” third parties, including religious organizations.
At the center of the case is a woman whose father, a police officer, was convicted in 2020 of sexually abusing her over a period of years when she was a child. The woman later sued several parties, including the Louisville Police Department, saying they knew about the abuse and had a duty to report it. Now, the state’s highest court is considering whether sex abuse victims can have more time to sue “non-perpetrators” — institutions or their leaders that are obligated to protect children from such abuse. The brief, first reported by The Louisville Courier-Journal last month and written about in the New York Times this week “landed like a bombshell in Southern Baptist circles,” reported Ruth Graham. “The brief, abuse survivors and those critical of the church say, offers the first clear look at the church’s true position on whether its leaders can be held accountable for abuse.”