The Mormon Church is officially known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. According to the Washington Post, the Church states that it currently has a global membership of about 15 million, with over 6.5 million members in the US.
Like some other religious institutions recently, for example, the Catholic Church, the Mormon Church had its share of sexual abuse scandals that have come to light in the last few years. While the Church itself states that it condemns all abusive behavior, including sexual, physical, and verbal abuse, families have recently spoken out about the Mormon Church’s unwillingness to face this issue.
Several plaintiffs alleged recently that the Church and a number of officials failed to protect their children from sexual abuse. While some civil trials against the Church have ended in settlements for undisclosed amounts, the Church’s leaders have consistently denied any wrongdoing in an effort to protect the Church rather than the victims of abuse.
If you or a loved one has suffered abuse while in the Mormon Church, you might have legal recourse and should consult with a Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer.
We understand how difficult it can feel to speak up and stand up against a powerful religious organization, and we can offer compassionate support and guidance. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free case evaluation at (800) 219-9622.
Who Can File a Sex Abuse Claim Against the Mormon Church?
Generally speaking, any person who suffered from sexual abuse can file a sex abuse claim as long as they are able to prove their case. If they win their lawsuit against an abuser, they could recover compensation for their injuries and damages. If the case goes to court, a jury or judge will decide the case and how much the abuser will have to pay. In some cases, the parties agree on an out-of-court settlement and the case does not go to trial.
It is important to note that there are some differences between civil and criminal sex abuse cases. In a criminal child abuse case, for example, the government will file the case and a public prosecutor will prove the case. In a civil claim, the abused or the parents (if a minor is involved) will typically hire a sex abuse lawyer to file the lawsuit.
If your abuse case lies many years back, you will have to find out whether you can still file a sex abuse claim as many states have time limits. These “statutes of limitations” set deadlines for filing certain civil lawsuits. A Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer can determine whether you can still file a sex abuse claim.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Sex Abuse Case Against the Mormon Church?
Generally, all personal injury lawsuits have a time limit. The time typically starts ticking on the day the injury or unlawful act occurred. Each state has a statute of limitations set for civil suits such as sex abuse claims. Depending on the state you reside in, the timeframe for a lawsuit can range from anywhere around one year to four years or more.
Recently, in an effort to enable victims of sexual abuse to fight for justice and compensation, there has been a development in several states. In an attempt to make it easier for victims of sexual abuse to file lawsuits even if it happened a long time ago, 15 states have extended or altogether suspended their statutes of limitations in sex abuse cases.
This means that even if your case dates back many years, or decades, you could still potentially hold the perpetrator to account for what they did to you, and you could receive compensation for your suffering. However, timely action can be of the essence. Since the laws differ from one state to another, you should speak to a Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer as soon as possible. They will be able to advise you on your legal options and any time limits that may apply.
How Long Has Sex Abuse Been Going on in the Mormon Church?
While most cases of sex abuse have only surfaced in recent years, it is safe to assume that sexual abuse has been happening in the Mormon Church, just like in other religious institutions, for many decades.
One high profile case that came to light recently is that of McKenna Denson, a woman who sued the Mormon Church for sexual abuse that reportedly happened during the early 1980s. The case against Joseph Bishop, while perhaps not the earliest case of sexual abuse within the Mormon Church, is one of the earliest recorded cases receiving press coverage.
Since the 1990s, many have spoken out and sought legal recourse, claiming that they suffered from sexual abuse by bishops or other Mormon Church officials. The victims allege that even though they reported the abuse to the Church, nothing was done to help them fight for justice. They further claim that the main interest of the Church’s officials was to preserve the reputation of the Mormon Church.
There are most likely many more cases of sexual abuse that may still come to light. If you or a loved one suffered from abuse in the Mormon Church, no matter how long ago, you have the right to demand justice. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm now for a free consultation at (800) 219-9622.
What Can a Sex Abuse Lawyer Do for Victims of the Mormon Church?
A sex abuse lawyer can help victims of the Mormon Church in several different ways, including:
Your lawyer can analyze your sex abuse claim and determine whether you have a case. They will be able to help you understand your options and to ascertain whether your case is within the statutes of limitations of your state. They can also calculate your damages correctly, aiming for a fair settlement.
Identify all Liable Parties
When it comes to institutional abuse, such as within the Mormon Church, it is likely that not only the perpetrator is at fault for your suffering, but also the institution, and other individuals. This is especially true in cases where there is evidence of a cover-up of sexual abuse. Your lawyer will be able to identify all liable parties, which also potentially provides various avenues for pursuing compensation.
Assess Your Damages
A Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer will know what your case is worth and can calculate your economic as well as non-economic damages adequately.
Fight for a Fair Settlement
Whether your case settles in or out of court, your lawyer can fight for an adequate settlement. They will negotiate with insurances and defendants if an out-of-court settlement is a possibility. If not, your lawyer will aim for a fair settlement in court, passionately fighting for justice on your behalf.
How Much Is a Mormon Church Sex Abuse Settlement Worth?
Since every sexual abuse case is different, it can be challenging to put a dollar value on any potential settlement. Ultimately, the amount of a settlement depends on the specifics of your individual case, and particularly the effect that the abuse has had on your life. The emotional scars left after sexual abuse can adversely impact a victim’s entire life and lead to mental conditions such as traumatic-stress disorder, anxiety, and others.
If you can prove that your Mormon Church sex abuse case had profound negative consequences on your life, you could potentially receive a considerable settlement. Standing up to the Mormon Church as a whole, as well as to an individual abuser, can also have an impact on the amount of your settlement. If several officials were involved in your abuse or in trying to cover up systemic abuse in the Church, you could potentially go after several parties in your lawsuit. This could increase the value of your final settlement.
If you would like to find out what types of damages you could receive, you should speak to a Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer. They will be able to look at your specific case and give you an indication about how much your case may be worth.
Who Are the Sexual Abusers in the Mormon Church?
The Mormon Church is organized in an all-male hierarchy in the following rough order:
- First Presidency, (including the president and two counselors)
- The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
- The First Quorum of the Seventy
- The Second Quorum of the Seventy
- The Presiding Bishop (together with two counselors)
- The General Auxiliaries
- The Primary
- The all-female Relief Society
- Sunday School
- Young Men and Young Women.
To date, there have been several sex abuse allegations and reports involving leaders of the Church, particularly bishops and other trusted officials. However, the abusers in the Mormon Church can range from missionaries all the way through to the top tiers. In recent years, a female missionary accused the former president of the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah of sexual abuse. She attended the center in the 1980s which is when the abuse allegedly took place.
Holding a responsible position does not stop sexual abusers from committing crimes. On the contrary, high ranking officials might think that they can get away with abuse as the Church might protect them in order to avoid a scandal. In some instances, this is exactly what happened and the Mormon Church is now having to defend itself from accusations alleging that it attempted to cover up abuse.
I Was Sexually Abused By the Mormon Church, Now What?
Suffering from sexual abuse in the Mormon Church, even if it happened many years ago, can be upsetting and cast a shadow over your entire life. Even though it may be difficult to open up about what happened to you, consider the alternative. Harboring an upsetting secret such as sexual abuse can make you emotionally and physically ill.
If you have someone close to you whom you can confide in, it will help to talk about it. However, you can also find help from various public resources, such as the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) which runs a hotline specifically for victims of sexual abuse. RAINN can help survivors of sexual abuse in all stages of recovery and has local volunteers that can help survivors all over the country.
If you suffered from sexual abuse in the Mormon Church, you might be aware that the individual who perpetrated the crime could face criminal charges. However, you may not know that you can also file a personal injury lawsuit and potentially recover compensation that can help you with your recovery.
Consider speaking with a Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer for help and advice. Whether the abuse happened decades ago, years ago, or yesterday, you could potentially hold the perpetrator and other responsible parties to account and recover compensation.
How Do I Know if I Was a Victim of Sexual Abuse by the Mormon Church?
If you suffered from abuse as a young child, you may not necessarily remember what happened. Sometimes, when a child lives through a traumatic situation, their memory is suppressed and they may not recall what has happened to them.
However, some symptoms later in life can point to sexual abuse, including:
- Memory loss around the sexual abuse
- Being hyper-vigilant and more easily startled by noises than others
- Mood swings and emotional outbursts
- Feelings of guilt and shame.
In addition, many survivors of sexual abuse have problems forming healthy and lasting relationships with others due to trust issues, fear of intimacy, and anger issues. Sexual abuse can also severely impact your sex life in later years. If you recognize any unhealthy patterns in your sexual life, you might have experienced abuse as a child. In some cases, sexual abuse can lead to a number of emotional issues including:
- Depression and anxiety
- Sleep disorders
- Panic attacks
If you think that you may have suffered from sexual abuse during your time in the Mormon Church, consider seeking professional help from a mental health professional. They may be able to help you confirm your suspicions as well as help you process the events.
Once you feel in a position to confront any abuse and hold those responsible to account, you can take steps to get justice.
Where Can I File a Sexual Abuse Case Against the Mormon Church?
If you or a loved one suffered sexual abuse through the hands of a member of the Mormon Church, you do not have to suffer in silence and can take action to hold the perpetrator to account.
First of all, you would likely report the abuse to law enforcement after which you can typically make the decision to take a case forward and press criminal charges. Federal, as well as state courts, address sexual abuse cases, and you do have the opportunity to find justice beyond the criminal system by filing a civil lawsuit.
A civil lawsuit can help you recover compensation for your suffering and any damages you suffered as a result of the sexual abuse. Even if the sexual abuse happened many years ago, you might still be able to file suit. Recent changes to the statute of limitations allow victims to file a claim against the perpetrator of sexual abuse as well as the Mormon Church, even if the incident lies years back.
However, you should act quickly as the window of time to get justice may be short, depending on which state you reside in and how long ago the abuse happened. Your Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer can help you file suit and hold the abusers responsible for their reprehensible actions.
What Is Utah HB90 Law?
The Utah HB90 Law is a bill that seeks to modify certain reporting requirements for child abuse and neglect. Current law in Utah requires anyone who becomes aware of abuse or neglect of a child to report the alleged abuse immediately to law enforcement or another suitable agency. However, clergy are currently exempt while functioning in a ministerial capacity. The new bill sought to do away with the exemption of clergy and church officials under some circumstances.
The new bill sought to hold all individuals, including members of the Mormon Church, responsible for immediately reporting child abuse and neglect. The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City opposed the bill and called upon Catholics to ask legislators to oppose HB90 since it would infringe on the confidentiality of the confessional seal. The bill failed in the house in March 2020.
Unfortunately, the rejection of the bill has shown that religious institutions are still reluctant to report sexual abuse and hold abusers to account. The Utah HB90 law could have ensured speedy reporting of abuse and better protection of victims.
If you have experienced abuse in the Mormon Church, you can stand up for yourself and demand justice and compensation. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you. Call us today for a free case review at (800) 219-9622.
Why Didn’t the Mormon Church Investigate Sexual Abuse Claims?
According to ABC News, the Mormon Church has denied responsibilities for sexual abuse amongst its ranks, most notably in the case of Michael Jensen, a church member with a history of abuse dating back to 2008. In this case, four different families filed a lawsuit against the Church in 2013 after Church members allegedly ignored reports of abuse and did not follow up on or communicate allegations of abuse by Michael Jensen. On the contrary, despite the fact that abuse allegations against Michael Jensen were pending, the Church ordained him as an elder and approved him for a mission in Arizona in 2011.
Not only did the Mormon Church fail to investigate sexual abuse claims, it has also been reported that the Church funneled calls to a hotline intended for reporting sexual abuse to church lawyers instead of law enforcement. The Mormon Church set up a 24-hour helpline where church officials could report suspected abuse. However, calls are allegedly transferred to a law firm defending the church in any matters related to sexual abuse. Clergy should not report abuse directly to law enforcement, according to the Mormon Church. The Church has so far refused to provide any data regarding their victims’ hotline.
If I File a Sex Abuse Case Against the Mormon Church, Will I Be Kicked Out?
Mormon Church members are typically highly involved with their congregation. The Church can feel like one big family. Members of the Mormon Church dedicate a considerable amount of time, effort, and resources to their Church. In return, the Church will help members who are struggling financially or in other ways. The Mormon Church places great emphasis on family and community. Therefore, reporting any sexual abuse can be a significant source of worry for the victims. The prospect of losing Church membership, or being cast out, can stir up the fear of potentially having their entire life turned upside down.
However, if you suffered from abuse, you do not need to worry about getting kicked out of your Mormon Church. In fact, the Church has empathetically spoken out in support of victims and in support of reporting abuse. Victims of abuse are encouraged to find guidance and help from Church leaders. Church leaders are encouraged to “help those who have been abused and to protect those who may be vulnerable to future abuse”.
Fear of getting kicked out of the Church should therefore not hold you back from reporting abuse. Those responsible for abuse should be held to account so you get the justice you deserve and others are protected from sexual predators.
Who Qualifies for a Sex Abuse Claim Against the Mormon Church?
If you suffered from sexual abuse by a senior member of the Mormon Church, you may qualify for a sexual abuse claim against the Church. Sexual abuse is defined as any unwanted sexual activity where perpetrators use force, coercion, or make threats to force sexual interaction.
You could qualify for a sex abuse claim against the Mormon Church even if the abuse happened in the past. Federal and state laws are recognizing that sexual abuse can have a long-lasting detrimental effect on survivors, severely impacting their quality of life. Hence local governments in many states decided to lift statutes of limitations which formerly placed time limits on civil lawsuits.
A good way to find out whether you qualify for a sex abuse claim is to speak to a Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer who can advise you on your legal options in pursuing justice and compensation. Your lawyer fully understands that you are facing an agonizing and upsetting situation, and can provide compassionate assistance while helping you qualify for a claim.
Your sex abuse lawyer will help gather the necessary evidence to prove your case, including witness interviews. If it comes to a trial, your lawyer will passionately defend your best interests in court.
How Long Will a Mormon Church Sex Abuse Case Take to Settle?
It can be challenging to know how long it will take for a sex abuse claim to settle as this depends on your individual case. A sex abuse case, depending on complexity and on how many at-fault parties are involved in the suit, can take years to settle in some cases. However, some may take a considerably shorter amount of time.
The quickest time to achieve a settlement is typically agreeing on an out-of-court settlement with the at-fault party, which can be preferable. However, accepting an out-of-court settlement can come with its pitfalls. Having a Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer can help you navigate settlements and negotiate with the at-fault parties on your behalf.
While clients may prefer a quick settlement, your lawyer will want to protect your rights and help you get what you deserve. This is particularly important since accepting a settlement will prevent you from filing any future legal action against your abuser.
While filing a lawsuit and going to trial is generally more time-consuming, depending on your case you could receive a larger settlement in court. Your Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer can give you an indication of how long it could take to settle your case.
Can I File a Sex Abuse Claim Against the Mormon Church Anonymously?
We understand that victims of sexual abuse may wish to file abuse claims anonymously, especially when they are still members of the Mormon Church. However, in civil lawsuits, the parties generally must be named when filing a suit. Lawsuits are generally part of the public record. According to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10(a), “the title of the complaint must name all parties”.
However, there can be exceptions in some cases. A plaintiff may occasionally be allowed to proceed with a suit anonymously or under a pseudonym when there is a risk to their safety. A plaintiff may remain anonymous, for example, when this is necessary to protect them from harassment or ridicule. Plaintiffs can also, under some circumstances, remain anonymous if their mental health may be compromised otherwise.
One way to remain anonymous is to settle with the defendant out of court. When you settle out of court, the details will typically not become part of the public record which can assure privacy and anonymity.
If you are looking to hold an abuser to account for their actions and would like to remain anonymous, we can potentially help you. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for your free, no-obligation consultation with one of our team members at (800) 219-9622.
Has the Mormon Church Sexually Abused Children?
There have been several lawsuits regarding child sexual abuse in the Mormon Church, starting in the 1980s. ABC News recently reported on a child abuse case in the Mormon Church. Several families filed a lawsuit against a well-respected missionary who had abused their children, in some instances over several years.
However, for many years, the child abuse cases did not come to light due to Mormon Church officials handling reports of sexual abuse internally in an attempt to protect the Church. Unfortunately, this has done nothing to protect the innocent children that suffered abuse at the hands of known Mormon Church members.
In some instances, the children that suffered abuse then are now adults and may not come forward due to fears of retaliation from the Church. They may also believe that it is too late for justice and their cases of abuse cannot be litigated anymore.
However, victims of sexual predators deserve justice, and the offenders deserve punishment. You do not have to perpetuate the Mormon Church’s culture of secrecy and can stand up for your rights. If you suffered abuse at the hands of a Mormon Church member while a child, you could potentially recover compensation now. Speak to a Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer to find out whether you have a case.
Has the Mormon Church Sexually Abused Men?
Over the years, there have been reports from men, women, and children who have suffered abuse by leaders or elders in the Mormon Church. The Church, instead of addressing the issue, has allegedly tried to cover up instances of sexual abuse.
It is likely that boys and young men, just like girls, suffered from sexual abuse in the Mormon Church. In recent years, a former Mormon Church bishop admitted to abusing two teenage boys from his congregation in Utah in 2014 during his tenure.
Abusers in a position of power, such as Church leaders, will typically use their position to groom their victims before the sexual abuse takes place. Religious institutions foster a sense of secrecy around sexual abuse, and the perpetrators take advantage of this. They may threaten children that reporting the abuse will bring their sinful behavior to light, thus blaming the victim for the abuse.
This can also be one reason why to date few men have come forward to hold their abusers in the Mormon Church to account. Shame and embarrassment, as well as the wish not to “ruffle any feathers” of church leaders, keeps many sex abuse victims from reporting the crime and fighting for justice.
How Can I Protect My Rights in a Mormon Church Sex Abuse Case?
There are several ways in which you can protect your rights in a Mormon Church sex abuse case. If your sexual abuse happened some time ago, you can reach out to a sex abuse lawyer to find out whether you are still within the time limit for filing a lawsuit. The sooner you act, the better for your case.
Also consider collecting any evidence you might have of the abuse, such as medical records or the contact details of witnesses who can provide statements to help prove your case.
If your abuser or their attorney approaches you with the wish to talk to you or to negotiate a settlement, you should consult with a lawyer. Do not agree to anything verbally or in writing. In fact, it can be important for your claim that you do not give any statements or communicate in any way with the other parties. Let your lawyer handle all communication and negotiation.
Sexual abuse cases can be tough to prove, especially if the abuse happened years ago. However, your Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer knows how to protect your rights, prove your case, and defend your best interests. They will be able to assess and calculate your damages and fight for a fair settlement.
Will I Have to Go to Court for a Sex Abuse Claim Against the Mormon Church?
Filing a court case against the Mormon Church does not necessarily mean that you have to go to court. In fact, most civil cases are settled outside of court, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).
While every case is different, a civil suit such as a sexual abuse claim typically goes through several stages including:
Filing the Complaint
The plaintiff filing a complaint is typically the first stage of initiating legal action against a defendant.
Discovery is a fact-finding phase where the lawyers for both sides will examine the evidence. Depositions of the parties and any witnesses also occur during discovery.
Trial Preparation and Trial
Your case will only advance to trial if your lawyer and the other parties could not agree to an out-of-court settlement.
A judge may order a settlement conference before trial to see if it is possible to resolve the case with an out-of-court settlement. A trial will only occur in some instances where the parties cannot agree on a settlement. It is in many ways unlikely that you will have to attend a trial in your sexual abuse case. However, if it is not possible to resolve your case beforehand, you should be prepared to go to court.
Is Sexual Questioning Considered Sexual Abuse?
Generally, any unwanted behavior of a sexual nature that happens without consent could be sexual abuse. In some instances, this includes not only physical acts but also psychological or verbal abuse whether in person or online. If any behavior of a sexual nature causes a victim distress, it could qualify as sexual abuse, especially when it involves minors.
The Mormon Church regards sexual purity as a crucial part of their faith and teachings. In an effort to ensure sexual purity from an early age, the Church has been accused of conducting “sexual interviews” with children as young as eight years old. These sexual interviews are typically carried out by an older man all alone with the child, allegedly without the knowledge or consent of the parents.
In recent years, concerned citizens launched a petition against the practice, seeking to ban sexual questioning. The initiators of the petition stated sexual questioning can lead to harm including sexual abuse by Mormon Church officials. While sexual questioning in itself may not be unlawful, it is certainly highly inappropriate. If you or your child had to endure sexual questioning by a Mormon Church official, you can talk to your Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer to find out whether you have any legal options. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for help today at (800) 219-9622.
How Can I Help a Mormon Church Sex Abuse Victim?
If a loved one or friend suffered from sex abuse in the Mormon Church, they need one thing most of all: an open ear and the support of their loved ones. Sexual abuse can have devastating consequences for a victim, including psychological as well as physical effects. While this can be hard to deal with, having the support of friends and family can help a victim immensely. Steps you can take to help include:
- Listen if they want to talk about what happened but do not push them to talk
- Let your loved one feel their feelings and do not tell them to “lighten up” or “think positively”
- Encourage your loved one to find support such as therapy
Since the Mormon Church is such a close-knit community, a survivor of sex abuse may fear speaking out, concerned that they could lose the support of their community. They may even think that they have done something wrong to “deserve” the abuse. You can assure them that they can count on the support of their friends and community. Help your loved one to speak out so the perpetrator can be held to account and does not go on abusing others in the community. You can also suggest getting justice with help of a Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer.
Did Sex Abuse Happen in Mormon Schools?
Stories of abuse within the Mormon Church and its institutions are continuing to come to light. Undoubtedly, we will hear more in the future as victims of sexual abuse are starting to speak up.
The Mormon Church is affiliated with several institutions, including schools and colleges, most notably Brigham Young University. Recently, sexual abuse cases have come to light at Brigham Young University, particularly through a survey conducted by the University itself. In this survey, almost 4 percent of students reported that they had experienced some form of unwanted contact of a sexual nature during the previous year. Earlier in 2020, a former Brigham Young professor was charged with two counts of forcible sexual abuse of a student.
Brigham Young previously came under fire for allegedly victim-shaming students who had reported sexual abuse to the school. Apparently, students who reported the crime were investigated for violations of the strict code of conduct that prohibits drinking as well as pre-marital sex.
Federal and state officials subsequently investigated the school for the way it handled the sexual assault reports. Mormon-owned Brigham Young has since announced that it has dropped the practice of punishing victims of sexual abuse for reporting the crime.
What Evidence Do You Need to File a Sex Abuse Claim Against the Mormon Church?
It can be hard to obtain the evidence you need to file a sex abuse claim against the Mormon Church, particularly when the abuse happened many years ago. The burden of proof will be on the victim, the plaintiff in a court case.
The amount of evidence and proof required in a criminal case may be considerably higher than if you are intending to file a civil suit for recovering compensation. While you may still struggle to find sufficient evidence with a historic abuse case, you can potentially file a claim based on your memory and testimony of the events. In fact, there may be no other evidence except your word as there will most likely be no witnesses. However, your abuser will probably fight your testimony vigorously, trying to discredit your version of events.
Since your only evidence may be your testimony, the court will have to examine the credibility and reliability of both you and your abuser in order to come to a decision. Having a dedicated Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer by your side can help you build a case against a sex abuser. Your lawyer will investigate your case thoroughly to find any evidence. If your memory is the only evidence you have, your lawyer can represent you strongly and fight for you in court.
Is Sexual Abuse Common in the Mormon Church?
It is almost impossible to know whether sexual abuse is common in the Mormon Church since we have no way of knowing how many victims have not yet come forward. What we do know, however, is that the Mormon Church might have been trying to conceal sexual abuse within its congregation for many years.
The Church set up a 24-hour sexual abuse helpline as a tool for bishops and other Church leaders to report any incidences of abuse within the Mormon Church’s congregation. Allegedly, however, calls to the helpline are diverted to law firms in an effort to protect the Church from allegations of abuse, potential lawsuits, and the resulting monetary damages.
While it may be tough to ascertain just how prevalent sexual abuse was and is within the Mormon Church, victims are continuously coming forward. Some accounts of sexual abuse within the Church date back many years and even decades. If you suffered harm and sexual abuse by a Church leader or bishop, help is available and you could hold your perpetrators to account for their crimes. A Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer can determine whether you have a claim and can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
What Is the Mormon Church Saying About Sex Abuse Claims?
The Mormon Church generally maintains the stance that they take any reports of sexual abuse from within its congregation seriously. The Church typically points to recent measures, such as the 24-hour helpline, supposed to help victims of sexual abuse.
The Church states on its website that any abuse is intolerable, whether physical, emotional, or sexual. It further mentions that reports of abuse should not be dismissed and that bishops and other Church leaders should report abuse immediately.
When the 24-hour helpline came under fire for diverting calls to report sexual abuse to law firms, the Church responded that abuse is not tolerated and that the Church has invested heavily in training and resources to prevent and fight abuse.
The Mormon Church also maintains that it provides certain guidelines for handling and reporting abuse in a handbook intended for Church leaders. The handbook, also known as “Handbook 1,” describes the duties as well as the responsibilities of Church officials when it comes to allegations and reports of sexual abuse within the community.
If you or someone you love have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a Mormon bishop or other official, you could potentially recover compensation. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for a free evaluation of your case at (800) 219-9622.
What Resources Are Available for Mormon Church Sex Abuse Survivors?
The Mormon Church itself launched a website providing a wealth of resources for those who have suffered from sex abuse as well as their family and friends. The website covers important topics, including how to identify sex abuse, where to find support, and how to protect children and young people from abuse. The website also has a section where victims can find counseling resources to help them come to terms with the abuse.
Victims of abuse in the Mormon Church can find support elsewhere, too. RAINN offers resources to those who have suffered from sexual abuse as well as their families and friends. The organization also maintains a helpline, the National Sexual Assault Hotline, that connects victims to help and resources in their local area by connecting them to their nearest sexual assault service provider.
The National Child Abuse Hotline can also provide local referrals to access any available resources in your area. If you have suffered from sexual abuse at a Mormon school, you can find help and resources at End Rape on Campus.
You can also consult with a Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer who can help you find local resources and advise you on any legal recourse you might have.
Why Is the Mormon Church Protecting Sex Abuse Offenders?
Protecting sex abuse offenders is not only wrong and immoral, sheltering those committing egregious acts can also potentially lead to more abuse and repeat offending. When an institution such as the Mormon Church protects abusers, the Church becomes responsible for turning a blind eye or even tolerating sexual abuse. Therefore, it can be difficult to understand why religious organizations such as the Mormon Church would go through considerable efforts to protect sex abuse offenders.
Perpetrators of abuse can include respected members, leaders, and bishops of the Mormon Church, whose exposure might cause nothing short of a scandal, tainting the mission of the Church. Chastity and morality play a particularly large role in the Mormon Church. Violations of the strict code of morality, such as adultery and masturbation, are a serious offense in the eyes of the Church. Therefore, admitting that senior members of the Mormon Church may have committed sexual abuse would cause the institution to potentially lose credibility.
While the Mormon Church has historically protected sex abuse offenders and made it difficult for victims to get justice, there have been some changes and an effort to deal with sexual abuse and help victims. However, the efforts of the Mormon Church to help victims and expose abusers arguably do not go far enough.
Is There Sexual Abuse in Mormon Missionaries?
Mormon missionaries leave their homes for a period of time to spread the word of the Church in other states or foreign countries. Missionaries typically travel in pairs and volunteer in communities, mixing with the locals.
There have been instances of sexual abuse in Mormon missionaries and by Mormon missionaries. In recent years, it has come to light that the former head of the Missionary Training Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah molested at least one female missionary years ago. The man, now in his 80s, admitted sexual misconduct.
In another high-profile sexual abuse case within the Mormon Church, several families spoke out against a former Mormon missionary who sexually abused their children systematically over several years. The perpetrator was convicted and is serving time in prison. The families also filed a civil lawsuit against the Mormon Church. The family accuses the Church of protecting the missionary and failing to protect their children from harm.
There may be many more incidences of abuse in Mormon missionaries that have not reached the public domain yet. If you suffered from abuse as a missionary or by a missionary, you can consult with a Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer to protect your rights.
Who Can Be Sued in a Mormon Church Sex Abuse Case?
If you suffered harm by a Mormon Church member and are looking to find legal recourse, you might be wondering whom exactly you can sue. In actual fact, there could be several defendants in your lawsuit, including the perpetrator of abuse and the Church.
The Mormon Church has been accused of covering up sexual abuse cases and sheltering the perpetrators. As such you may not just want to go after the person who committed the abuse but also the institution as a whole. You could argue that the Mormon Church allowed abusers to commit their egregious crimes and perpetuated a culture of secrecy to your detriment and the detriment of other victims.
You could potentially also sue third parties for what has happened to you, including:
- Other senior members of the Church who sheltered the abuser
- Church leaders who oversaw missionaries and other officials
However, without looking at your specific case it can be challenging to know who you could hold responsible for your suffering and damages. If you are thinking of initiating a lawsuit against a sex abuser, you should speak to your Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to determine all responsible parties and potential avenues for recovering compensation.
What Damages Can I Collect in a Mormon Church Sex Abuse Settlement?
Without knowing the details of your sexual abuse case, it can be challenging to know exactly what your case may be worth and the damages you could collect. The size of your settlement will depend on the circumstances of your sexual abuse case, for example, whether the offense took place repeatedly and over many years. A court will also examine the potential detrimental impact that sexual abuse had on your life as a whole.
If your abuse happened years back, it may be tough to claim any compensation for physical injuries unless you have evidence such as medical reports. However, you could recover any financial costs that are a direct result of your sexual abuse such as psychological counseling.
In many cases, sexual abuse causes emotional scars and trauma that may never fully heal. Courts now recognize this and understand the devastating impact that abuse can have on the lives of victims. Therefore, you could potentially recover so-called non-economic damages, for example for emotional pain and suffering, and loss of life quality.
The best way to find out what damages you might be able to collect in your specific case is to speak to a Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer.
We Can Help You Fight for Justice
Sexual abuse is a sensitive and upsetting subject. Sufferers might shy away from coming forward and holding their perpetrators accountable due to fears of retaliation from the Church, or worrying about losing the support of their community.
Unfortunately, this can mean that abusers might commit these despicable acts for many years without being brought to justice for the suffering they cause. Instead, it is often the victim that suffers the detrimental lifelong consequences of sexual abuse which can include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Social withdrawal
- Problems forming relationships
Feelings of shame, guilt, and hopelessness that can impact abuse victims can amplify when an institution such as the Mormon Church will not help victims get justice and instead shields the abuser.
If you have suffered abuse at the hands of a Church leader or bishop, it is they who have committed the crime and not you. You have the right to stand up for yourself and other victims of abuse. We can be by your side and support you compassionately, fighting for the compensation and justice that you deserve.
We understand that it can feel overwhelming to stand up against an abuser and a powerful Church. However, once you take the first step and contact us, we can take charge and help you every step of the way. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for help with your claim today at (800) 219-9622.