SBC President JD Greear’s Church is opening an investigation into Bryan Loritts’ earlier actions
(RNS) – A mega-church led by the President of the Southern Baptist Convention is about to review allegations that a staff pastor mistreated a sexual abuse case in its previous church.
Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina, where SBC President JD Greear is senior pastor, announced this week that it has engaged Guidepost Solutions, an international investigative firm, to review the previous actions of Rev. Bryan Loritts, Summit’s senior pastor to review teaching and development.
While Loritts was pastoring the Fellowship Memphis Church in Tennessee in 2010, the Church discovered that Church worship leader Rick Trotter and Loritt’s brother-in-law had placed a hidden video camera in a women’s bathroom and recorded Church members. the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.
The Church later admitted that it fired Trotter after he confessed and sent him for counseling and financial assistance for three months. The church did not report him to the police. The church said in 2016 that counseling had also been offered to the women and girls who were filmed and that no one had chosen to bring charges, despite at least one claiming they had been deterred.
In 2011, Trotter, who also announced the National Basketball Association’s Memphis Grizzlies, was hired part-time at Downtown Church in Memphis – after that church contacted Fellowship and discussed his past. Trotter was later arrested after a Downtown Church member said she caught him “upskirting” – videos and photos were shot over the skirts of women in church during prayer.
Trotter eventually pleaded guilty to “photographing or videotaping someone without their consent,” according to local news. He was imprisoned for 60 days and then given parole. He was also fired from the Grizzlies.
Greear has been told that the churches must take allegations of abuse seriously. In 2019, he called on the SBC to investigate churches covering up abuse. He also set up an advisory board to lead the Denomination on Abuse Dealing, and in 2019 helped lead a litany of the sexual abuse lawsuit in the Church.
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When Loritts was hired by Summit in June, the Church said it had done a background check and looked into his handling of the incident.
“I was devastated when I learned a few years later that the perpetrator had repeated these crimes in another church, Downtown Church,” Loritts said in a statement distributed to The Summit Church earlier this year.
Summit leaders said this week that their initial process was incomplete as there was no “open, secure channel” for victims to communicate with the Church.
Summit posted a copy of its agreement with Guidepost on the Church’s website and included an email link to the company. Under the agreement, Guidepost will report for the summit, which is not covered by attorney and client law.
The report will be made public, the church said in its announcement.
Church leaders hope that this process will “be a healthy example of how churches treat abuse allegations with integrity”.
“The courage of current victims to come forward will be strengthened when they see the churches take the appropriate steps,” said the church’s statement. “Past victims deserve to know the truth about how their case was handled. Taking private steps does not help past or present victims. Until the churches begin to take this step, the public trust that the church has lost will not be regained. “
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