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Southern Baptist panel to open legal records for abuse probe

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(Associated Press) — A top committee of the Southern Baptist Convention has agreed to open up legally protected records to investigators who will examine how it handled — or mishandled — cases of sexual abuse.

Tuesday's vote reverses two previous ones in recent weeks by the denomination's Executive Committee that would have maintained attorney-client privilege.

Waiving it is considered crucial to enabling the probe by an outside investigative firm being overseen by a separate task force. Survivors' advocates say it's the only way to ensure there is a transparent look into the crisis of abuse within the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.