Leaders of the largest Protestant denomination in the US say the authorities have started an inquiry into sexual abuse by its clergy.
Lawyers for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) said they would co-operate with the investigation “fully and completely”.
A report in May said the SBC had covered up the abuse and vilified survivors.
The SBC has 13 million members and is heavily concentrated in the US south.
The department of justice has sent subpoenas to the Church’s executive committee, its lawyers said.
SBC leaders said the investigation centred on widespread sexual abuse problems highlighted by May’s report – a result of an investigation carried out for the SBC by an outside firm.
“Individually and collectively each SBC entity is resolved to fully and completely cooperate with the investigation,” they said in a statement.
“While we continue to grieve and lament past mistakes related to sexual abuse, current leaders across the SBC have demonstrated a firm conviction to…