Sexual abuse is not only a problem in the Catholic Church but it also affects other religions like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists and the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church.
Victims of sexual abuse by a leader of the LDS church, and victims who believe the church facilitated abuse or tried to cover it up need to bring their abusers, and the church that shielded them, to justice.
Sexual Abuse in the Mormon Church
Sexual predators know there will be vulnerable children in a congregation upon which they can prey. These predators worm their way into positions of power, then begin to groom their victims. This behavior is reprehensible, and unfortunately, it is widespread.
When sexual abuse is discovered, it should be immediately reported to local law enforcement officials. Unfortunately, there has been a problem in the Mormon Church of the failure to report to law enforcement. Instead what sometimes occurs is that the abuse is reported to a leader who is apt to treat the abuse as a sin to be atoned for and forgiven rather than a crime to be reported.
Attempting to address allegations of abuse by church leaders or members without alerting the police is a mistake. Covering up problems instead of properly reporting them makes the church just as guilty as the abusers it shelters through its behavior.
Abuse Can Occur Anywhere
It is important to note that sexual abuse at the hands of a religious leader, or at a religious institution can occur at any time, and in nearly any location. Abuse that occurs during an after school program, or at a religious camp is still abuse that the leaders of the organization should have prevented.
Even if the sexual abuse of a child occurs in a private home, the church may bear some responsibility for it. If church leaders were alerted to the abuse and chose not to contact law enforcement officials, they are just as guilty as the abuser they chose to value more than the victim.
You Are Not Alone
One of the most heart-breaking things we hear from our clients who were sexually abused by leaders of the Mormon church, or whose abuse was covered up by church leaders, is that they thought they were alone. They thought they were the only one who went through what they did.
Until they saw a story on the news about others who were abused, or talking to a loved one or therapist made them realize what they experienced was not right, they had tried to normalize or rationalize the abuse they endured.
They spent years thinking they did something wrong instead of blaming the predator that hurt them, or the church that failed them.
We are here to say that nobody is alone. We are here to stand with you. We are here to spread the word that victims are not to blame.
It is time to break the silence that surrounds sexual abuse in the Mormon church. Sexual abuse is not an isolated problem that only occurs rarely; it is widespread, and it has been going on for years.
New Statute of Limitations Law Opens a Window of Opportunity for Sexual Abuse Victims in the Mormon Church
Scientific research has revealed that victims of childhood sexual abuse often need years or decades to come to terms with what happened to them, and our laws are finally recognizing this. On October 13, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 218 into law. This new law gives past victims of sexual abuse more time to pursue justice, even if their claims were previously time-barred.
California victim-survivors, including those abused in the Mormon Church in California, whose cases were previously time-barred are being given a three-year period in which they may file suit. From January 1, 2020 until December 31, 2022, any victim who was sexually abused in the Mormon Church or any church for that matter, has the opportunity to file a lawsuit and see justice served. No matter when the abuse occurred, even if it was decades ago, those responsible deserve to be held accountable.
The Just Compensation You Deserve
Having your story heard, and bringing an abuser and the organization that sheltered them to justice is just one part of the healing process. You may need therapy, or realize that the abuse radically altered the course of your life. That is where monetary compensation comes in.
Seeking compensation for the abuse that you endured can help you move on in ways you never anticipated. It can also send a message that sexual abuse will no longer be quietly swept under the rug. The Mormon Church needs to be held accountable for the sexual abuse that occurred on its watch, and learn to treat allegations of abuse as a crime, not just a sin.
Paul Mones has over 30 years of experience representing victims of sexual abuse. He has helped many of them seek compensation and expose the hypocrisy at the heart of organizations that are supposed to be dedicated to the greater good.
Contact Our Mormon Sexual Abuse Attorney Today
Attorney Paul Mones urges anyone who was abused while participating in a LDS-sponsored activity, or whose abuse was facilitated or ignored by the church, to contact our office and share their story with him and his team. Paul Mones is one of the most experienced and respected sexual abuse attorneys in the country, and he and his team may be able to help you.