According to the Idaho News in 2017 and Courthouse News Service in 2013, several former Boy Scouts have filed lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church. These cases highlighted allegations that there was a coverup regarding child molesters who were also Boy Scout volunteers and leaders. The victims alleged that deliberately concealing this information allowed abuse to continue and led their parents to believe that their children were in the presence of trusted individuals. Apart from this, various testimonies have revealed that Mormon Church members sexually abused children, yet the Church failed to file a report with authorities.
If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual abuse, do not hesitate to seek assistance from an Idaho Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer. Taking legal action may not only let you collect compensation, but it could also send a message to other institutions that reprehensible actions should not be tolerated among their ranks. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 219-9622 and set up a free legal consultation.
Understanding the Organizational Structure of the Mormon Church
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is distinctive regarding its culture and organizational structure. Adult male Church members can become ordained as local religious leaders when they have a good standing with the Church. This means they receive callings to lead others within the Church and gain a level of authority. A bishop is a presiding high priest of a local community called a ward, and the position is voluntary and unpaid. When untrained volunteers receive reports of sex abuse incidents, coverups may happen if they do not know how to manage these issues properly as a spiritual counselor.
When there is an allegation of improper sexual conduct, the Church’s response may be to take away the offender’s calling without revealing the reason to the congregation. Based on past cases, some Church bishops and presidents have asked outside authorities not to intervene with their sex abuse allegations and instead allow the Church to handle these issues internally. Unfortunately, these actions may enable predators to victimize the innocent and vulnerable in society. It also becomes more challenging to make a recovery through legal action. As a result, those who suffered abuse may become less inclined to report incidents because they believe it is futile to do so.
For years, many male and female victims have brought their painful stories into the open. Sadly, the Mormon Church leaders they believed would aid them instead chose not to contact authorities or take appropriate disciplinary actions. Even if you do not believe now that you can bring those responsible for your suffering to justice, you have nothing to lose when you speak with a legal professional who has experience in sex abuse cases. Your legal representative will listen to your story and offer compassionate advice to help your healing.
Sexual Abuse Victims Have the Right to Obtain Compensation
Filing a lawsuit can have positive outcomes for Idaho sexual abuse victims. If a Mormon Church member took advantage of your vulnerability, you may seek damages for the trauma you went through and other negative impacts the abuse had on your life. The religious institution itself may also be held accountable for improperly handling your report.
Mormon Church bishops tend to rely on their authority to handle sex-abuse complaints, and they may choose to forgive offenders who have supposedly repented. Sometimes, the Church excommunicates them instead of turning them over to the authorities. It may be up to you to see that the crime does not go unpunished.
Understandably, it will not be easy reporting the crime and pursuing justice. Embarrassing and hurtful experiences may become known, and you may think that the legal process is overwhelming. However, bringing to light illegal and inappropriate acts can be empowering. Remember that as long as you have the legal right to bring a case, you have the opportunity to somehow right the wrong that happened. An Idaho Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer may be able to advocate for you and represent your best interests in negotiations or in court.
What to Expect When Filing a Sex Abuse Lawsuit in Idaho
Once you decide to bring a suit, you need to keep in mind several important things, such as the statute of limitations, the cost of filing, and confidentiality concerns. You do not have to worry about speaking to a legal professional in detail regarding your situation because case evaluations are confidential. You may also inquire right away about the contingency fee and terms of payment.
If you prevail in your litigation, you may obtain significant compensation to cover your pain and suffering and other related losses. Although no amount of financial recovery can undo what has occurred, you can use compensation to pay for any medical or therapy expenses you incurred because of the abuse. A legal claim can bring a small measure of comfort when you want to meet your agonizing experience head-on.
Your Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer understands that what you or your loved one went through is hard to quantify. Nevertheless, filing a suit can make responsible parties acknowledge the harm they inflicted on you and other victims and hopefully encourage them to enact changes that rightfully address existing problems with their system.
Statutes of Limitations
Idaho Code §6-1704 caps the statute of limitations for child sex abuse lawsuits at 23 years of age, five years after the age of majority. However, a discovery rule allows victims to bring a case up to five years following the discovery of an injury or condition that an abuser caused. Be aware that the criminal statutes of limitations are different for sexual abuse of children and adults, according to Idaho Code §19-401 and Child USA.
The separate legal deadlines can be confusing, with multiple limitations possibly applicable to your case. It is best to consult with the team for an Idaho Mormon Church sex abuse attorney to learn more about the time limit you have.
Do Not Wait to Protect Your Rights
If a member of your Church’s unlawful and improper actions have harmed you, act now. You may not have long to file a claim, but an Idaho Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer may be able to guide you through all the complex laws and procedures. Let us use our years of commitment and experience to build your case and aim to ease the suffering you had to endure. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 219-9622 to hear more about available legal options and other ways we may be able to assist you.