Lawsuits Filed Against the LDS Church

Posted by: Andee / Category: , , ,

My Mom dropped off the paper this morning at my apartment.

Front page? All emphasis is mine:

Lawsuits filed Against LDS Church.
Men allege church ignored sex abuse by scout leaders.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The LDS Church and Boy Scouts of America were named as defendants in lawsuits Monday claiming childhood sexual abuse by youth leaders decades ago.

Alleged victims filed suits against both organizations in San Francisco and Seattle, and against the church alone in Portland, Ore.

The plaintiffs are all represented by Portland attorney Kelly Clark who has brought similar suits against the Boy Scouts in the past.

In the suit filed in San Francisco superior court, three brothers claim the church ignored their complaints about being molested by their Silicon Valley Boy Scout and Latter-day Saint youth leader in the 1970's and 1980's.

"These are men who believe in the best of these institutions and believe that this kind of lawsuit can help improve these institutions and prevent child abuse," Clark said. "The is not a lawsuit they brought lightly, but it is one they intend to see through."

The plaintiffs, identified only as John Does, claim they were molested hundreds of times by 65-year-old William Eugene Knox, who married their mother while the abuse was taking place in Sunnyvale, Calif.

A law firm in Canton, Ga., contacted by the Associated Press said it was no longer representing Knox, a Georgia resident. His phone number could not be located.

Clark said the suit was filed weeks ago, but the defendants were only named Monday after a San Francisco judge certified evidence allowing them to be identified publicly. He said a jury would determine the specific amount of any possible damages.

One of the plaintiffs was still a devout member of the church, and two have served as Scoutmasters. Clark said one was a former FBI agent.

San Jose attorney Allen Ruby, representing the church in Northern California, said he was not aware of a case in which courts have found a church liable for abuse committed by a family member.

"The allegations in this case are the plaintiffs were abused by their stepfather," Ruby said. The church will defend itself against the suit, he said.

Kent Downing, chief executive of the Boy Scouts' Pacific Skyline Council, said he could not comment because he had not seen the lawsuit.

In the Seattle case, a man now in his early 40's claims he and other boys were abused in the late 1970's by Dustin Hall, an assistant Scoutmaster chosen by the church's Shelton Ward near Olympia.

The plaintiff said in a statement released through his lawyer that the abuse- and his failure to protect the others- haunts him.

Hall could not immediately be reached for comment. It was not clear if he still lives in the area or whether he has an attorney. The Pacific Harbors Council of the Boy Scouts did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Chuck Gordon, a Seattle-based lawyer for the church, said it would investigate the complaint and act accordingly.

"While we do sympathize with all victims of abuse, the church will defend itself against any accusation it deems to be false," Gordon said.

The lawsuit filed in Portland on behalf of a man who is now 46 claims a Latter-day Saint youth leader abused him between 1974 and 1977. The suit claims the abuse was reported to a church bishop but was never communicated to law enforcement.

A lawyer for the church, Steve English, said the church "Absolutely and unequivocally" condemns sex abuse and will investigate.

The lawsuit identified the youth leader as Michael Simms and seeks nearly $5 million in damages. Efforts to locate Simms were not successful.

Clark said the plaintiffs were filing civil lawsuits in part because the statute of limitations for bringing criminal charges had expired.
Forgive any minor errors in that. I had to type it all out from the newspaper because the online edition of the Herald Journal doesn't have the article.

I find that interesting.

First, let me say that this isn't the first time lawsuits like this have been filed against the church and it certainly won't be the last. What makes these cases unique is that the Mormon Church claims all men chosen for callings are done so by God.

Why would God call these abusers to lead boy scout troops?

This comment, made by one of the church's attorneys really pissed me off:
"...not aware of a case in which courts have found a church liable for abuse committed by a family member.

"The allegations in this case are the plaintiffs were abused by their stepfather," Ruby said. The church will defend itself against the suit, he said.
Guess what?

The reason these men are now suing is because they went to their bishops and complained about the abuse. They went to those in charge asking for help!

The church didn't contact authorities.

They didn't do the right thing.

Instead, they covered up for one of their fellow priesthood members and let everything continue.
I can't even begin to tell you how many personal accounts I have read of members going to the bishop for one kind of abuse or another and nothing coming of it. Here are a couple examples:
January 23, 2007

Two brothers filed a $6.5 million lawsuit against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America on Monday, alleging they were sexually abused as children in the 1980s by a Mormon "home teacher" who was also a Boy Scout leader.

The lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court alleges the church and the Boy Scouts were responsible because Timur Dykes was an authorized representative of the groups. It also claims the church failed to report an abuse allegation against a third brother that could have led authorities to other victims -- a claim the church denied.
Feb. 28, 2008

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A man has filed a $5 million lawsuit against the Boy Scouts and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, claiming the two entities didn't do enough to stop the sexual abuse of children by troop leaders.

The lawsuit was filed in Oregon State Court in eastern Oregon's Malheur County on Thursday by a man identified only as Tom Doe.

Doe alleges that the leader of his Nampa, Idaho Boy Scout troop sexually abused him for about three years, starting in 1967, and that the abuse left him with debilitating physical, emotional and mental injuries.

I could keep posting these articles and links but it would take all day.


All fucking day.

The lawyer who handles these cases against the Mormon Church, Kelly Clark, has his own website called

If you have a few moments, go to the website and count the number of similar lawsuits brought up against the Mormon Church for not going to the proper authorities when told of abuse.

Not only is it ridiculous to assume that all men in the church are called by God to certain positions, it's ridiculous to not hold the church accountable for the decisions to not contact authorities in these cases.

It's not just the Boy Scouts, either...

Young women have gone to their bishops asking for help after being sexually abused, wives have gone to bishops for sexual and physical abuse help. Little kids have told their leaders that Mommy or Daddy hits them.

Not going to the proper authorities and getting these children out of harms way is inexcusable.

Instead of helping the people who reported this abuse to their bishops or other leaders, the church abused them all over again. They sat back and pretended not to know. People who survive abuse like this go through so much mental and emotional pain to begin with... it changes who they are and all of their relationships for the rest of their lives. They can get help, they can get counseling, but it's always there.

I hope these men get millions. They deserve it.