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Were You Sexually Abused by a Member or Leader of the Mormon Church?
Priests, rabbis, nuns, and other members of religious institutions have been accused of sexually abusing young children for decades.
Recently, many victims have spoken up about sex abuse at the hands of leaders and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as LDS or the Mormon Church. The Church is a vast global organization with more than 30,000 congregations and almost 16 million members around the world.
Those accused of sex abuse include Bishops of the Church who are laymen (unlike Catholic clergy or religious leaders of other denominations.) They are “go-to” leaders for members of the Church and are responsible for the spiritual wellbeing and progress of members.
Missionaries who spread the teachings of the Church in other states or countries have also come under fire. These missionaries, known as “elders” or “sisters”, may even be invited into homes to speak about the beliefs of the Mormon Church. The Church must be held responsible for enabling abusers within its community.
Reports of sexual abuse or misconduct by Mormon youth leaders are common in these communities. Youth leaders are meant to instill the teachings of the church in Mormon youth, and many predatory members take advantage of their role with youth and commit unspeakable acts of sexual violence against vulnerable children.
Reported Sex Abuse
Many innocent children have been victimized by Bishops, elders, and Mormon members in the recent past. Accusations against these individuals range from explicit messages and child pornography to molestation and rape. The Church has also been accused of covering up these instances of sex abuse.
The following are some cases reported by the press:
In 2001, the Church paid a $3 million settlement to Jeremiah Scott, for sexual abuse by church member Franklin Curtis when Scott was around 11 years old.
In 2010, former Bishop Lon Kennard, Sr. was charged with 43 felony counts of sex abuse and exploitation of a child.
In 2013, 16-year-old Michael Jensen was classified as a violent sexual predator and sentenced to 35 to 75 years in prison. The local bishop was reportedly aware of the complaints but did not alert law enforcement.
In 2017, former Bishop Erik Hughes was sentenced to prison for the sexual abuse of two teenage boys in Mapleton, Utah.
In August 2017, a 316-page document was released by MormonLeaks detailing instances of alleged and confirmed sex abuse dating back to 1959.
In 2017, Darran Scott was sentenced to 10 years in prison by an Australian court for the sexual abuse of young boys. He had met some of these boys while he was Mormon leader.
Trustworthy Interviews, also known as Worthiness Interviews, are conducted by the Bishop in every Mormon ward. According to the Church, the purpose of these interviews is to prepare children and teenagers spiritually and ensure they are obeying the commandments. These interviews start around the age of eight and are meant to be conducted annually into adulthood.
The dark reality is that these interviews can be the perfect opportunity for sexual predators to ask children inappropriate questions of a sexual nature. These children are alone in a room with the Bishop as he asks them questions about masturbation, sexual urges, or if they’ve acted on their urges.
These interviews have created an incredibly unsafe environment for children and have resulted in reports of misconduct to church leaders. Despite this, leaders actively covered up reported sexual abuse and did not contact local authorities.
If you were sexually abused by a Bishop or other Mormon church leader during one of these interviews, you have a right to submit a claim and seek compensation from the church.
Misuse of the 24-Hour Hotline
In 1995, the Mormon Church established a 24-hour hotline where Church leaders could call to report information about sexual abuse. The hotline is manned by a staffer for LDS Family Services, an agency of the Mormon Church.
However, a recent lawsuit alleges that the hotline was actually used to find out about complaints and prevent the Church from facing lawsuits. Evidence that came up during this trial revealed that bishops are never directed to report allegations to the police.
Not only did the Church potentially know about these sexual predators, it also created a system to prevent any sexual abuse from coming to light.
The Mormon Church Ties With Boy Scouts of America
According to news reports, around 20% of Boy Scouts members are also members of the LDS Church. The Boy Scouts of America is currently facing a record number of claims from men who were allegedly sexually abused by Scoutmasters during their childhood. Of these, many could also be members of the LDS Church.
Clergy Abuse Is a Widespread Problem
In recent times, tens of thousands have come forward with their stories of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy. A comprehensive ProPublica database lists 6,754 clergymen as “credibly accused” of sexual misconduct as of January 28, 2020.
Sexual abuse has no place in life, religion, or anywhere else. It has no place in our places of prayer and worship, yet there are thousands of sexual assault victims in religious spaces. The repeated lies, denials, cover-ups, and failures to investigate these crimes have also proved that the powerful religious institutions have not succeeded in resolving this sexual abuse crisis on their own.
You May Be Entitled to Significant Compensation
The pain and suffering from sexual abuse affects survivors long after the incident, especially when it is perpetrated by a well-respected member of one’s church. This type of incident is an adverse childhood experience (ACE) and can haunt a minor throughout their life. Sex abuse must be stopped, and sexual predators must be held responsible for their actions.
If you or a loved one were sexually abused by a leader or member of the LDS Church, you deserve justice, compensation, and peace.
Our firm works tirelessly to hold sexual predators accountable and provide relief and justice to survivors. We offer expertise, complete confidentiality, and compassionate representation to our clients. Join many others in the fight for justice against powerful sexual abusers in the Mormon Church and help prevent them from harming future generations.
You don’t have to suffer in silence or feel alone and unsupported. We are here for you.