ARCHIVES: Boto suggests “no tolerance” policy on sexual abuse is “window dressing.”


The Mar. 1, 2007 edition of the Baylor Lariat contains a published letter to the editor written by the current interim president of the SBC Executive Committee, D. August Boto.  We found a copy in an old briefcase this morning. We reproduce it here unedited, apart from added emphasis.

SBC not conspirator in abuse
By D. August Boto, Alum 1974

I just received your Tuesday editorial titled “Bring all abusers to justice.” The title is good advice indeed. I was a little disappointed to see an editorial of my alma mater accept at face value assertions and questionable solutions suggested by those on only one side of the issue.

In fact, the editorial actually misstated an assertion, making what is thus far an unsubstantiated claim sound even worse.

You said, ‘In the last six months, there have been about 40 complaints of sex abuse in Southern Baptist churches.” If you intended to quote the AP story on the subject, you need to re-read what was reported.

In that story, the claim was made that ‘In the last six months, SNAP (Survivors of Network of those Abused by Priests)  has received reports of about 40 cases of sexual abuse by Southern Baptist ministers — with some of the incidents dating back many years.’ If not crafted to mislead, the statement certainly has that effect.

Sexual abuse of children is a horrible crime and the fact that it occurs in churches at all hugely compounds the shock.

Making hasty judgments about how to prevent or address it helps very little.

A good step would be to make sure suggested solutions are really possible. SNAP highly commended an investigatory review panel used by another denomination and suggested similar action be taken. Add to the fact that Southern Baptists disdain a hierarchical construct and it soon becomes obvious that the idea has little utility for Southern Baptists.

I have yet to understand what’s meant to be accomplished by declaring a ‘no-tolerance’ policy for something every Southern Baptist should have absolutely no tolerance for. While it may have some PR value, we should not be enamored with window dressing.

I appreciate the fact that you are concerned about the problem, but it deserves more thoughtful analysis than most people are giving it. Making the SBC out to be a co-conspirator, as SNAP implies, is completely unjustified.

Please pray for our churches and equip them with quality information. My having read your editorial is proof that you are much more than a campus paper. You are informing a wide readership and even those on campus won’t soon forget things they have read as they assume their occupations and take their places of service and ministry.”


One thought on “ARCHIVES: Boto suggests “no tolerance” policy on sexual abuse is “window dressing.”

  1. Questions. 1) What does Boto mean when he talks about assertions and solutions from “only one side” of the issue? There are two sides? What are they, exactly? Because if we are dividing up teams, I know which one I want to be on.

    2) If he is so concerned that the paper is presenting these “questionable solutions” from the wrong side, then why in the world doesn’t he offer *better* solutions from *his* side?

    It was 2007, though. So I shouldn’t be surprised that someone who was lamenting “hasty judgments” about preventing and addressing sexual abuse couldn’t or wouldn’t offer something better.

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