SBC International Mission Board Hires Somer Nowak to Head New Position Aimed at Preventing and Responding to Sexual Abuse

Counselor and educational consultant Somer Nowak. In January 2020, Nowak was selected to fill the new position of prevention and response administrator at the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board. | IMB

The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention has created a new position aimed at preventing and responding to sexual abuse.

IMB President Paul Chitwood announced at a plenary session of IMB trustee meetings in Riverside, California, on Jan. 30 that the Richmond, Virginia-based missionary body had selected educational consultant and forensic counselor Somer Nowak for the position.

Nowak told The Christian Post on Monday that she first became aware of the Prevention and Abuse Administrator last year and she wanted to help the IMB combat abuse.

“I love the IMB and what it stands for, and when I learned that this was an area IMB was passionate about pursuing excellence in, I knew that I wanted to lend a hand in that effort,” said Nowak.

“I have always been passionate about the safety and well-being of children and families, and this position was not only an opportunity to do just that, but also an opportunity to serve the people of this company.”

Nowak is taking her first weeks as an administrator to meet with staff connected to her work and to review earlier recommendations on how to improve the IMB’s handling of sexual abuse allegations.

“I want to come into this job informed and with a good rapport with all those I will be working closely with to ensure the safety and security of our staff, field workers and their families,” she explained.

Nowak previously worked as a counselor with the Cherokee County Board of Education and as an educational consultant for Children’s Advocacy of Cherokee County, both in Centre, Alabama.

In July 2018, then IMB President David Platt announced the launch of two investigations regarding the handling of past sexual abuse allegations within the missions organization.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski