Frequently Asked Questions about Examination Update

Q: What should I do if someone tells me they are a victim of child abuse or sexual harassment (including sexual assault)?

We encourage anyone who has been a victim of abuse by IMB personnel to report it to authorities. In addition, we invite any victims to contact us on our confidential hotline at (866) 292-0181 or email advocate@imb.org so that we can provide compassionate care to that victim and take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of others.

 

Q: What should I do if someone asks for a reference on a former IMB personnel? / What should I do if I hear someone is considering hiring a former IMB personnel?

We are committed to providing accurate, informed references on every former IMB employee. IMB strongly encourages any church, entity, or other employer who is considering working or partnering with a former IMB personnel to contact IMB to obtain a reference on that individual. You can email us at references@imb.org so that we can do our part to help you make wise and informed hiring decisions.

 

Q: Why is IMB conducting an examination?

Last July, then-IMB President David Platt called for a “thorough, outside, independent examination” of IMB’s handling of past allegations regarding child abuse and sexual harassment (including sexual assault), as well as a review of IMB’s policies and practices.

 

Q: Why did IMB hire Gray Plant Mooty?

IMB trustee officers interviewed numerous potential outside investigators for the external examination and selected Gray Plant Mooty, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to conduct the examination. “With experience conducting hundreds of investigations and policy reviews regarding issues and allegations of sexual abuse, misconduct, harassment, and similar matters for organizations across the United States, Gray Plant Mooty is highly qualified to conduct the independent examination.” —Lisa Lovell, an IMB trustee officer and a member of the examination task force

 

Q: Who is Kathryn Nash?

Kathryn Nash is lead counsel of the Gray Plant Mooty examination team and chairs Gray Plant Mooty’s Labor, Employment, and Higher Education practice group. Kathryn has extensive experience conducting independent compliance reviews for organizations across the United States, including reviews involving issues of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. Kathryn also regularly provides trainings on these topics, including trauma-informed investigator and adjudicator training.

 

Q: What does Paul Chitwood think about the examination?

After his election in November 2018, IMB President Paul Chitwood affirmed his commitment to the independent examination. He stated his unwavering commitment to lead IMB, in partnership with the board of trustees, in a way that provides a safe and healthy place for people to work and, in the case of international missionaries, a safe place to live and grow as they, their families and their ministry partners work to share the gospel. He also has stated his commitment to trauma-informed care of victims.

 

Q: Will the full report from Gray Plant Mooty be made public?

In December, trustee officer Lisa Lovell said the examination task force plans to report the findings of the independent investigation to the full board of trustees when the work is completed. She said an update also would be shared with the public in a manner respectful of the highly confidential nature of the information involved following the conclusion of the examination. Gray Plant Mooty presented recommendations from the examination to IMB trustees on Wednesday, May 22, during a plenary session of their regularly scheduled meeting.

 

Q: The statement from Gray Plant Mooty said the examination revealed “significant concerns” to the handling of past cases — what are those, specifically?

In respect of the privacy of those involved, IMB is not going to speak publicly about individual cases.

 

Q: The statement from Gray Plant Mooty said the examination revealed “much room for improvement” if IMB is to meet its goal of adopting best practices — what are those, specifically?

The recommendations made by Gray Plant Mooty in the same statement correlate with the areas for improvement they identified during the external examination.

 

Q: What is IMB’s response to the examination findings?

After Gray Plant Mooty presented recommendations from the examination to IMB trustees on Wednesday, May 22, Dr. Paul Chitwood responded immediately with IMB’s apology to abuse and harassment victims; an affirmation of the examination; and IMB’s commitment to institute all recommendations from Gray Plant Mooty. Chitwood stated IMB’s desire is to lead the Southern Baptist Convention in excelling in best practices regarding prevention and response regarding child abuse and sexual harassment (including sexual assault).

 

Q: How will this impact churches working with / partnering with IMB?

Partnering with churches continues to be essential to the work of the IMB. We are committed to implementing a consistent, centralized process for screening and training volunteers in partnership with local churches with oversight from the IMB. We will communicate with churches as these processes are established.

 

Q: Will IMB report allegations of abuse to government authorities?

IMB is committed to an expansive approach to reporting allegations of child abuse to government authorities that goes beyond legal reporting duties. Not only do we agree with this expansive approach, we have already begun to report every known incident of alleged child abuse by IMB personnel or others affiliated with IMB that has not been previously reported.

 

Q: Who will take the lead in implementing these recommendations at IMB?

IMB is committed to creating a full-time position to oversee prevention and response efforts of the IMB in relation to child abuse and sexual harassment (including sexual assault). We agree that we need this specific expertise, and we plan to hire a senior staff member to lead us toward excellence in this area.

 

Q: What does a “trauma-informed approach” mean?

A trauma-informed approach begins with understanding the physical, social, and emotional impact of trauma on the individual as we develop our policies and practices for prevention and response.

 

Q: Will IMB continue to conduct its own investigations in response to allegations of abuse?

When IMB receives a report of child abuse and sexual harassment (including sexual assault), we are committed to involving outside legal counsel with expertise in this area to provide advice throughout the process. We are committed to continue the current practice of using a forensic psychologist with expertise in interviewing children to conduct investigation interviews of children.