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Victim reacts to investigation into Southern Baptist sex abuse

mySA logo mySA 2/10/2019 Alison Medley
a screenshot of a cell phone: Nassar victim, Rachael Denhollander's tweet responding to Southern Baptist church abuse investigation © Denhollander

Nassar victim, Rachael Denhollander's tweet responding to Southern Baptist church abuse investigation

"The worst part is that we have known for years," In 2016, Racheal Denhollander became the first person to publicly accuse Larry Nassar of sexually abusing his patients under the guise of medical treatment.  Now Denhollander is speaking out again after a Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News exclusive investigation revealed 700 victims of sex abuse in the Southern Baptist church.

Denhollander tweeted, "I have known most of this for years, and spoken out about it. No one wanted to listen. It did not matter enough to investigate and act. Grief and repentance and silence to learn is the only proper response."

Her husband, Jacob Denhollander also echoed her call to read one of the important stories about a devastating betrayal of trust.  "It was easier to shoot messengers for their "tone" than to deal with the problems and hide behind church autonomy."

a group of people posing for the camera: Rachael Denhollander who was victimized by former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar listens during the sentencing phase in Ingham County Circuit Court on January 24, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison on Wednesday for sexually abusing scores of young girls under the guise of medical treatment. "I've just signed your death warrant," Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said as she handed down the sentence after a week of gut-wrenching testimony by over 150 of Nassar's victims.  / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY        (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images) © JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images, Getty Images

Rachael Denhollander who was victimized by former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar listens during the sentencing phase in Ingham County Circuit Court on January 24, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison on Wednesday for sexually abusing scores of young girls under the guise of medical treatment. "I've just signed your death warrant," Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said as she handed down the sentence after a week of gut-wrenching testimony by over 150 of Nassar's victims. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

EXCLUSIVE: 700 victims of Southern Baptist sex abuse, revealed. 

The cases tracked by the newspapers affected more than 700 victims over 20 years. Their stories are heartbreaking. Victims of sexual abuse had pleaded for the SBC to act, saying it was allowing predators to move from church to church. But the SBC in 2008 rejected all proposals to produce such a registry, saying the organization could not tell its 47,000 member churches whom to hire or ordain.

Several other community leaders, activists and church leaders have also weighed in about the investigation, including pastor Mike Phillips who called it one of the most important news stories of a decade.  Michael Criner, Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church in Bellville, Texas also added that it was a significant investigation into the Southern Baptist church, and changes must be made.

a group of people standing next to a person: Michigan Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis(L) hugs Rachael Denhollander as former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar listens during impact statements during the sentencing phase in Ingham County Circuit Court on January 24, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. More than 100 women and girls accuse Nassar of a pattern of serial abuse dating back two decades, including the Olympic gold-medal winners Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney -- who have lashed out at top sporting officials for failing to stop him.    / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY        (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images) © JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images, Getty Images

Michigan Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis(L) hugs Rachael Denhollander as former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar listens during impact statements during the sentencing phase in Ingham County Circuit Court on January 24, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. More than 100 women and girls accuse Nassar of a pattern of serial abuse dating back two decades, including the Olympic gold-medal winners Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney -- who have lashed out at top sporting officials for failing to stop him. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

Criner said, "I've attended & ministered in #SBC churches my entire life. Reading this was was alarming & grieved my heart. May there be peace upon the victims & may we do our part to make necessary changes as a convention. "

Writer, Shannon Dingle tweeted a response to the investigation after her heartbreaking personal story of abuse at the hands of Southern Baptist church leader. Dingle tweeted, "I was 23, married a year, pregnant with our first child. I was being trained to lead a small group of middle schoolers at church summer camp. So was he. He is now serving time."

a group of people sitting posing for the camera: Rachael Denhollander speaks as former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar listens to impact statements during the sentencing phase in Ingham County Circuit Court on January 24, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. More than 100 women and girls accuse Nassar of a pattern of serial abuse dating back two decades, including the Olympic gold-medal winners Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney -- who have lashed out at top sporting officials for failing to stop him.    / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY        (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images) © JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images, Getty Images

Rachael Denhollander speaks as former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar listens to impact statements during the sentencing phase in Ingham County Circuit Court on January 24, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. More than 100 women and girls accuse Nassar of a pattern of serial abuse dating back two decades, including the Olympic gold-medal winners Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney -- who have lashed out at top sporting officials for failing to stop him. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

a group of people watching a person playing a video game: Kaylee Lorincz(R) hugs Rachael Denhollander as former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar listens to impact statements during the sentencing phase in Ingham County Circuit Court on January 24, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. More than 100 women and girls accuse Nassar of a pattern of serial abuse dating back two decades, including the Olympic gold-medal winners Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney -- who have lashed out at top sporting officials for failing to stop him.    / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY        (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images) © JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images, Getty Images

Kaylee Lorincz(R) hugs Rachael Denhollander as former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar listens to impact statements during the sentencing phase in Ingham County Circuit Court on January 24, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. More than 100 women and girls accuse Nassar of a pattern of serial abuse dating back two decades, including the Olympic gold-medal winners Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney -- who have lashed out at top sporting officials for failing to stop him. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

Russell Moore who is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention also weighed in on the sex abuse investigation, adding that "Nothing is worse than the use of the name of Jesus to prey on the vulnerable."

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