was an LDS church member; accused of sexual abuse

About Darrell Howe

Darrell Howe Mormon Sex Crime Case Summary

The case of Darrell Howe arose in 1999 in Washington.

LDS Darrell Howe abused a child and the following appeal to their lawsuit was decided by
the court. “At issue in this case is whether any of the defendants owed the plaintiffs a duty.
Jeffrey Pearson argues that Bishop McRae, the church, and other church officials (“Bishop
McRae,” collectively) had a duty to protect him from the actions of fellow church member
Darrell Howe.” The court affirmed the summary judgment order requested by the
defendants. The following are excerpts from Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 1 .

Kimberlee Rae FLANIGAN; Jane MacLean as Guardian Ad Litem of Jeffrey David
Pearson, a minor; and John Does 1-10, Appellants, v. John Doe McCRAE and Jane
Doe McCrae, husband and wife; John Doe, Marysville State President and Jane Doe,
Marysville State President, husband and wife; John Doe, Regional Representative
and Jane Doe, Regional Representative, husband and wife; and The Church Of Jesus
Christ Of Latter Day Saints, a Corporation, Respondents.

No. 41345-7-1.

“Feb. 8, 1999.

Appeal from Superior Court of Snohomish County, Docket No 95-2-08382-8, judgment or
order under review, date filed 08/19/1997; Ronald L. Castleberry , Judge.

Attorneys and Law Firms

Jerald D. Pearson , The Pearson Law Firm, Kirkland, WA, for Appellant(s).

Thomas D. Frey , Stafford Frey Cooper, Seattle, WA, Marcus B. Nash , Stafford Frey &
Cooper, Seattle, WA, for Respondent(s).


“*1 At issue in this case is whether any of the defendants owed the plaintiffs a duty. Jeffrey
Pearson argues that Bishop McRae, the church, and other church officials (“Bishop
McRae,” collectively) had a duty to protect him from the actions of fellow church member
Darrell Howe. Kimberlee Flanigan claims that Bishop McRae owed her a duty of care
arising out of their relationship as bishop and church member. We hold there was no duty
and affirm the

summary dismissal of all claims. Vernon McRae served as a bishop in the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormon Church. Darrell Howe, a
member of Bishop McRae’s parish or “ward,” sought his advice in the spring of 1989. Howe
told the bishop that he had recently been in a fight with two teenage boys and that they had
falsely accused him of inappropriate touching. Bishop McRae advised Howe to be honest
with the authorities and to seek the help of an attorney if criminal charges were filed.
Several months later, Howe met with Bishop McRae again, telling him that he had pleaded
guilty to misdemeanor assault. At Howe’s request, Bishop McRae agreed to help him find
community service opportunities, as well as to monitor his progress in completing the
required community service hours. Bishop McRae then arranged for Howe to help another
ward member, Debbie Pearson, build a log house. Howe worked diligently on the Pearson
home. After several months, Bishop McRae informed the court that Howe had completed
his community service hours, and the court entered an order terminating his community
supervision. While Howe worked on the Pearson property, he became friends with Ms.
Pearson and her family and began dating Pearson’s 17-year-old daughter, Kimberlee
Flanigan. Several months later, on Flanigan’s 18th birthday, they got engaged. The couple
hoped to be married in the temple. A “temple marriage” is a sacred ceremony that would
allow their marriage to continue not just for the duration of their lives, but for “time and
eternity.” According to Mormon doctrine, Howe and Flanigan had to be deemed worthy by
both the ward bishop and another church official to qualify for a temple marriage. During this
temple recommend process, Howe and Flanigan met with Bishop McRae, both individually
and as a couple. At Bishop McRae’s prompting, Howe revealed to Flanigan that a young
man had falsely accused him of sexual assault.

Howe told her that it was this accusation that led to his pleading guilty to misdemeanor
assault. Flanigan believed Howe when he said that he had not sexually assaulted or abused
his accuser.

Within two and one-half months of their engagement, Howe and Flanigan received their
temple-recommends and were married in the temple. Shortly after their wedding, they
moved to Montana. Debbie and her son, Jeffrey Pearson, later moved to Montana as well.
About two years after moving to Montana, Howe was arrested for sexual contact with a
teenage boy. Following Howe’s arrest, Jeffrey Pearson disclosed that Howe sexually
abused him while their family was living in Montana.

*2 Thereafter, Flanigan and Jeffrey Pearson commenced this action. Flanigan and Pearson
appeal from the trial court’s summary dismissal of their claims.”

Flanigan v. McCrea, Not Reported in P.2d (1999) 93 Wash.App. 1085 ( Flanigan v. McCrea,
93 Wash.App. 1085, 1999 WL 58767 (Wash.App. Div. 1 1999)

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