SBOM, TAB, ABHC increase protections

The leaders of The Alabama Baptist (TAB) newspaper and Alabama Baptist Historical Commission (ABHC) decided in early October to consider background checks on staff and board members (known as commissioners for the ABHC).

The TAB and ABHC boards both affirmed the decisions and the ABHC commissioners will vote on the exact plan in February.

The background checks will likely include running names by the national sex offender registry. 

TAB will run checks on all new staff and board members who are being considered after Jan. 1, 2020. 

ABHC plans to check all existing staff and board members at one time if the plan is approved.

The groups’ leaders Jennifer Davis Rash, TAB, and Lonette Berg, ABHC, made the announcements to their boards following the lead of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM).

In August the SBOM trustees voted to authorize background checks and national sex offender registry checks on all current and future full- and part-time employees as well as all new trustees beginning in 2020.

“We want to make sure our State Board is a safer place,” said SBOM Executive Director Rick Lance. “Everyone on our staff was vetted very well but in this climate we need to hit the reset button.”

SBOM associate executive director Bobby DuBois confirmed Oct. 10 that all employee background checks have been completed and all received clean reports. The three convention-elected officers also have requested those same checks be run on them, he added. 

Other Alabama Baptist entities already have varying levels of checks in place based on their vulnerabilities and/or are considering updates to their policies. (TAB)