was a Mormon bishopric counselor, attorney and temple worker in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara County, California; convicted of sexually molesting boys

Case Summary

Michael Shean was a Mormon church member in California.

In 1975, Shean became a deputy district attorney in Santa Barbara County, California.

As of September 1977, Shean was a counselor in the bishopric of the Santa Maria First Ward of the LDS church.

The abuse in this case reportedly took place in 1980 in Santa Maria, California.

Michael Rex Shean “was an attorney and Mormon Church leader who used his position as coach, attorney, and religious teacher in order to molest young boys. The Stake President in the case was an FBI agent, Nolan Phillips, who should have been much more alert to the problem of a predatory pedophile in his flock.”

“The Mormon Church was found negligent and settled for an undisclosed amount.

Michael Shean in Santa Maria, Calif., and LDS seminary teacher convicted of sexually abusing young boys. Court records in a civil suit against the LDS Church allege gross negligence on the part of ward leaders who knew Shean had problems — in 1980 as a counselor in his ward bishopric, he had been excommunicated for abuse of two young boys that surfaced years later when they were on LDS missions. He was excommunicated; re- baptized and assigned to work with youths. He was charged with 14 counts of sexual abuse involving nine boys.”

The local Mormon stake president, Nolan Philips, allegedly covered up Shean’s sexual abuse for years.

Sources
  1. Michael Shean to Serve Church in South America
    view source details | 14 Oct 1966 | Santa Barbara News-Press
  2. Shean joins SM District Attorney staff
    view source details | 2 Aug 1975 | Santa Maria Times
  3. Obituaries | Heather L. Evans
    view source details | 6 Sep 1977 | Santa Maria Times
  4. Attorney Profile | Michael Rex Shean #62747
    view source details | 15 Mar 2024 | The State Bar of California
  5. Blame the Victim: Hushing Mormon Sexual Abuse
    view source details | 10 Apr 1996 | Marion Burrows Smith
Sources excerpts
  • Michael Shean to Serve Church in South America
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Santa Barbara News-Press
    Date published/accessed: 14 Oct 1966
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    Shean joins SM District Attorney staff
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Santa Maria Times
    Date published/accessed: 2 Aug 1975
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    Obituaries | Heather L. Evans
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Santa Maria Times
    Date published/accessed: 6 Sep 1977
    archive 1 | archive 2

    "President Michael Shean of the Santa Maria First Ward"

  • back to online sources list
    Attorney Profile | Michael Rex Shean #62747
    Source type: Website
    Publisher: The State Bar of California
    Date published/accessed: 15 Mar 2024
    archive 1 | archive 2

    CONSUMER ALERT

    This attorney has resigned from the practice of law with disciplinary charges pending. As a result, the attorney is ineligible to practice law in California. The State Bar posts consumer alerts online when attorneys resign with disciplinary charges pending. The decision(s) or order(s) are posted on the State Bar Court Smart Search. Anyone who believes they have been the victim of attorney misconduct is urged to file a complaint with the State Bar.

    [...]

    License Status, Disciplinary and Administrative History
    All changes of license status due to nondisciplinary administrative matters and disciplinary actions.
    Date License Status Discipline Administrative Action
    Present Resigned
    3/15/1996 Resigned Resignation with charges pending 95-Q-18426
    12/27/1995 Not eligible to practice law in CA Vol.inactive(tender of resign.w/charges) 95-Q-18426
    12/16/1974 Admitted to the State Bar of California

  • back to online sources list
    Blame the Victim: Hushing Mormon Sexual Abuse
    Source type: Other
    Publisher: Marion Burrows Smith
    Date published/accessed: 10 Apr 1996
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Blame the Victim: Hushing Mormon Sexual Abuse April 10, 1996 By Marion Smith."

    Marion Smith, founder of the Intermountain Specialized Abuse Treatment Center, and a longtime chronicler of child sexual abuse, in the shadow of the LDS Church Office Building. Answers to her questions about abuse cover-up are not forthcoming.."

    With terror, James Adams confessed sexually abusing his two young children to his LDS bishop, stake president and other men in his Beckley, W. V. ward. The children's mother was in Alaska; he had custody of the children. His bishop did not report Adams' abuse to law enforcement. Nothing was done to help or protect the children.."

    The abuse was sadistic and frequent, and it continued for five more years until the children's mother and state police learned of a 55-minute video tape that Adams made of his molestation of his own children.."

    A $750 million lawsuit was filed on Jan. 16, 1996 in West Virginia, charging the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with negligence in reporting child sexual abuse in this case. The lawsuit names as defendants five church officials in Salt Lake City, including President Gordon B. Hinckley. Adams pleaded guilty to 37 counts of child sexual abuse and was sentenced to serve 75 years in prison.."

    As the highest profile case of child sexual abuse and the largest claim for monetary damages brought against the LDS Church, the resulting court battle could have far reaching ramifications for church officials and for how such abusive situations are handled in the future. While abuse has recently been condemned from the pulpit by some church authorities, individual cases are often hushed up, as officials act instinctively to protect the church's reputation first and victims only as an after-thought, resulting in a new round of secondary abuse.."

    The case brings national focus to an issue that only recently has been acknowledged and previously minimized or dismissed among Mormons. Child advocates say that child sexual abuse exists in LDS congregations in Utah and across the country. A year and a half ago, Lisa Davis, a Phoenix newspaper reporter noted "at least thirty-five recent instances of molestation involving the Mormon Church," recorded in "national news and legal databases" ("Latter- day Sinners," New Times, December, 1994).."

    | Case Study in Coverup."

    A high profile incident in Oklahoma is a case study in cover-up. For Merradyth McCallister and Mary Plourde of Oklahoma City, Okla., their efforts to expose the child sexual abuse problem in their local Mormon congregation not only resulted in cover-up, they were ecclesiastically punished for their pains.."

    In September 1993, Merradyth and Jack McCallister and their son Scott of Yukon, Okla. told their stake president that Scott had been sexually abused by their bishop, Ronald Phelps. The stake president discounted and minimized Scott's abuse which had occurred over a two year period. Having learned from speaking with other families that Phelps had also abused other children in the ward, the McCallisters formed a support group for survivors of sexual abuse.."

    The McCallisters told "The Event" that the stake president then informed them they had "crucified an innocent man and destroyed his family," had "slandered Phelps," and that the children's word could not be believed over that of a priesthood leader." They were advised not to pursue the issue.."

    | Public Indecency."

    The McCallisters did a background check on Phelps and found that he had been arrested for indecent exposure prior to being called as bishop in 1980. He had also been charged with sexual abuse but not prosecuted; this charge was known to the stake leadership when Phelps was called to serve as bishop. On March 8, 1994, Phelps was again arrested in a men's rest room at Oklahoma University for investigation of public indecency and soliciting to commit an act of lewdness. The stake president then informed the McCallisters that the arrest had nothing to do with sexual abuse allegations. Phelps continued to serve in church positions.."

    The McCallisters continued to warn others that Phelps was a predator. They wrote to President Gordon B. Hinckley (a First Presidency counselor at that time), detailing these events and asking him to intervene. They heard nothing. When they went to the local media with the problem they were punished by their church leaders. In August 1994, Merradyth was excommunicated from the LDS Church for "conduct unbecoming a member of the Church" and for "actions which have not only affected the good name of the Church but also the good names, lives and testimonies of the members."."

    Jack resigned his Church membership in protest. Mary Plourde, a family friend who worked on this case with the McCallisters was also excommunicated that same month, for the same reasons. Plourde and Merradyth reported they were refused copies of their excommunication notices, after being allowed to briefly see them and hear them read aloud by the bishop. They said the documents were signed by Gordon B. Hinckley. They have since taken their crusade to Oklahoma City detectives and prosecutors.."

    | Pervasiveness of Abuse."

    Statistics from the Boy Scouts of America and the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse indicate one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they reach the age of 18. These statistics apply to all large populations. Despite public emphasis on family values, child abuse still invades Mormon families; one in four Mormon girls and one in six Mormon boys will be sexually abused by age 18.."

    Child abuse is disruptive to the individual and society. Its primary effect is shame and self-blame in the child's mind. A child is physically helpless and emotionally dependent. So the child's effort to gain control becomes a central issue. A child abuse victim seeks control in one of two ways: through self-blame, becoming a victim and re-enacting self abuse through multiple symptoms; or, by identifying with the abuser's power and reenacting the abuse upon someone else. There is no way to assess the full cost of child abuse to the individual and society.."

    It is typical for abuse survivors to be in their 30s or 40s before they finally are able to start to deal with past abuse. Usually a survivor requires therapy for four to five years. The costs of therapy vary greatly, but $75 per hour is an average fee.."

    Sometimes, one generation of abuse shows up in particularly egregious violence in the next. Among the most notorious historical villains of the 20th century, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and Romanian dictator Ceausescu were all brutally abused as children.."

    With the LDS Church awash in negative publicity regarding child sexual abuse in the past decade, church leaders have begun to speak publicly about the problem, General Conference speeches have condemned it, educational materials have been prepared, training sessions have been held, Boy Scout leaders are instructed now to send more than on adult chaperon with children on outings.."

    The "Bishop's Handbook" -- a resource available only to male leadership -- now states that a bishop must report abuse, unless the information came from a perpetrator during a confessional interview. Some bishops are more conscientious than others, child advocates observe. There are those willing to walk victims through the fallout of abuse. Others describe bishops who hinder the process.."

    | Survival & Betrayal."

    Fourteen years ago, when I began practicing as a therapist in the field of child sexual abuse, I met adult victims of abuse who literally might not have survived if it had not been for the extraordinary support of compassionate bishops. At its best, the church system can work to help heal and improve individuals. However, when support is not given, and victims are disbelieved, blamed or are counseled not to pursue the matter, the individual is betrayed by his or her extended religious family in whom trust has been invested as freely as protective and nurturing parents.."

    From clients whose identities remain anonymous, I listened to stories of how their abuse was intertwined with their religious life and church leaders. John, a young man in his 20s, says "I was abused by my scout leader when I was 10. I tried to tell the bishop about it once. He asked me if I was gay. I never approached him again. I am no longer active in the church."."

    Jane is in her mid-40s. While working in the travel industry for many years, she was in therapy for abuse she suffered from her father and grandfather for years when she was young. While her father was abusing her [he] was also her bishop and was widely respected in the ward. "I used to look up at him when he stood at the pulpit and I thought he was God. It's still hard for me not to associate God and my father as one person, even after all these years of therapy." A Provo woman, Elaine, reported that after years of struggling alone, telling no one about being sexually abused by her father, she finally went to the stake president, with whom her father had served on the regional high council. His response was that he did not see how he could possibly judge events between her and her father. He therefore had to assume that her father was "an honorable man" because he held a high church office. She must be wrong, she was told.."

    Jamie had suffered guilt and self-hatred all her life. Intensely religious, she says for years she tried to tell bishops and others in the church of her abuse but she was always told to forgive and get on with her life. "I would go to church and feel different from everyone else and totally unworthy. I couldn't ask for a temple recommend. I tried to fade into the background." Recently she has finally found ways to express and process her feelings about the abuse through the help of her current bishop whom she says is supportive and understanding of her needs.."

    Kate who grew up in Salt Lake City, was repeatedly abused by a ward member between ages 7 and 9. Her sisters were also abused by this man. No one came to their aid. Years later, Kate and her sisters entered therapy to deal with their abuse. One day when Kate's sister attended an LDS temple session, she was horrified to see their abuser serving as a temple worker.."

    She also learned that this man was serving as a volunteer with children at a local hospital. She called the hospital and reported him to personnel there. He was discontinued as a volunteer at the hospital. Kate and her sister wrote to this man's bishop and explained the situation. They were told that they should forgive and forget; the bishop took no action against the man.."

    | Blame the Victim."

    In spite of current instructions in the "Bishop's Handbook" telling bishops to report sexual abuse, many Mormon clergy do not appear to understand the legal imperative for reporting. A member of a 13-year-old Holladay girl's family told me that the girl was sexually abused by a ward member in his 30s.."

    A church disciplinary court was called against the girl, accusing her of sexual activity, describing it as an "affair" with this man. Subsequently, she behaved promiscuously with boys her own age. Called to church court, the girl made a serious suicide attempt. This did not deter the stake president from proceeding with her church discipline.."

    Only when the girl's grandfather intervened by contacting child advocates who threatened public exposure of the case, did the stake president drop the church action against the girl. Unfortunately, by then the girl had been deeply damaged by both sexual and ecclesiastical abuse. Without the threat of public exposure, the girl would possibly have been excommunicated while her abuser went unpunished.."

    | In Your Neighborhood."

    "From statistics available on child sexual abuse we know that it can and does happen in all neighborhoods, crossing all social, economic, ethnic and religious backgrounds," say Andrea Moore Emmett, Midvale, who encountered abuse in her neighborhood in the summer of 1993.."

    "If it hasn't already, it will happen in your neighborhood, to someone you know and care about; it may occur down the street or right under your own roof. Never mind the faceless statistics that say it's someone else's problem -- now it's yours."."

    A young man in Emmett's LDS ward sexually abused neighborhood children in his mother's unlicensed day care. Knowledge of this abuse emerged later while he was serving an LDS mission; he was sent home. Emmett's children did not visit the day care and escaped the abuse, but other children were not so lucky. More than 14 neighborhood children were interviewed by a detective and found to have been abused by the young man at the day care over a period of several years. Charges were filed, but plea bargaining lowered time served to two weeks in the county jail since his case was considered "a first offense." He was then placed on one year's probation by the court.."

    A friend living across the street from Emmett discovered that her child had been abused. When this mother pressed the bishop for help and therapy for her child, she was denied response or assistance from the church. She and her family soon moved from the neighborhood. "The bishop showed no concern for the children's plight; and he treated my friend as if she was a troublemaker," Emmett says. The young man was "disfellowshipped" (a punishment short of excommunication), but given support, therapy, a job and other assistance from the church.."

    Emmett resigned her church membership shortly afterward, saying "I was already disillusioned with the way the church treats women, but after this, I could no longer support the church as a member."."

    | Abuse Helpline."

    In May 1995, under pressure from increased publicity and mounting legal problems, the LDS Church announced a toll-free phone number for reporting child abuse directly to church headquarters, 1-800- 453-3860, ext. 1911. Some church members are encouraged by the helpline and express enthusiasm about having access to church headquarters for reporting child abuse problems. Others are less optimistic. The number is not for general use. Calls are accepted only from bishops or stake presidents.."

    "The impression [given from Mormon members here] is to refer problems to the bishop and let him call the 800 number," says an anonymous Midwest Mormon woman. "We have learned first hand that it is foolish to leave this matter to be dealt with internally -- more often than not the accused is afforded more concern and protection than the person abused.."

    "[Those of us] in stake Primary, Relief Society and Young Women's presidencies wanted to find aggressive ways to provide support for victims and others, beyond the 800 number. We got permission to put together a stake training meeting for women leaders of Primary, Young Women and Relief Society concerning child abuse. With many of the men in the ward and stake leadership, we must battle the assumption that the story ends when abuse is reported. We contend that the reporting (and the 800 number) is only one chapter in the middle of a very long book."."

    Some Utah Mormons assert that the helpline diverts information to church headquarters, where it is more effectively buried or covered-up.."

    | Speaking Out."

    When children are sexually abused by church members, then abused again with acts of denial and cover-up by their ecclesiastical leaders, it creates a double betrayal. Some Mormons who've experienced both sexual and ecclesiastical abuse have come to believe that only by speaking out and making their stories publicly known can such abuses be avoided in the future.."

    The Mormon Alliance -- an independent organization that identifies and documents cases of ecclesiastical abuse in the LDS Church -- will publish in May its "Case Reports" of abuse (including sexual). Ecclesiastical abuse is defined as any type of coercion, repression or silencing of church members by church leaders. The Alliance has collected dozens of child sexual abuse cases in which ecclesiastical leaders have been negligent in reporting abuse or punitive to those who point it out.."

    For example, a Calgary woman reported that in 1993, "An LDS psychologist specializing in treatment of LDS women who had experienced sexual abuse was excommunicated for "destroying families and disobeying the priesthood [i.e., taking his patients' stories seriously]. Several women under his care now no longer pursue church channels to have their cases dealt with."."

    Mormon Alliance trustee Lavina Fielding Anderson, editor of the forthcoming "Case Reports," documents 23 cases of criminal prosecution for child sexual abuse by Mormons. "Nothing in church policy or doctrine provides the slightest justification for child sexual abuse," she says. "That's why it is such a shattering betrayal of trust when an ecclesiastical officer chooses to put the well-being of the perpetrator ahead of the well-being of a child."."

    In addition to documenting abuses, "the Mormon Alliance works to promote healing and closure for abuse survivors, to build more sensitive church leadership, to empower LDS members, and to foster a healthier religious community," Anderson adds. The Alliance believes that when child sexual abuse occurs among members of a church congregation, the result is enormous personal and legal problems. It damages individuals, families, the institutional church, as well as the Mormon community and surrounding communities.."

    | More Hard Cases."

    Take the case of LDS attorney Michael Shean in Santa Maria, Calif., and LDS seminary teacher convicted of sexually abusing young boys. Court records in a civil suit against the LDS Church allege gross negligence on the part of ward leaders who knew Shean had problems -- as a counselor in his ward bishopric, he had been excommunicated for abuse of two young boys that surfaced years later when they were on LDS missions. He was excommunicated, re- baptized and assigned to work with youths.."

    Or the case in Magnolia, Texas, where Charles Hohn Blome, a 66- year old Mormon high priest, was charged and found guilty of aggravated sexual assault and indecency with a child. Legal charges allege that his church leaders knew of Blome's pedophilia and covered-up critical evidence about his sexual abuse of children in the ward.."

    In 1995, a Salt Lake child advocate reported to me that a 15-year old boy was sent by LDS Social Services to live in the home of a southern Utah bishop. Not long after moving in, the boy sexually abused the bishop's children. Social Services personnel knew that the boy had a history of sexually abusing children, but they did not warn the bishop of this problem. They simply said the boy was "troubled" and "needed a good environment." By accepting this call to care for a church member in need, the bishop and his family were devastated.."

    | Follow the Leader."

    Or take Kris Morton's story. Morton was raised in a devoted Mormon family with a strong pioneer heritage. Her father was a high priest and their lives were centered around the church. She was sexually abused at various times during her childhood by family members. One was her great uncle, who served as a branch president in Utah. At night he would come to her room and sexually abuse her, telling her that he was "helping her," doing her "a favor." She says, "I tried to defend myself but I was no match for him in that situation and he knew it." Morton suffered alone, never telling anyone.."

    "In church they told us young women to be morally pure; they warned us about young men our age trying to take sexual advantage of us, but they didn't warn us about our priesthood leaders or family members trying to do the same thing. They told us to honor male priesthood holders because they act for God on earth. They told us to follow our leaders and do what we were told and everything would be all right. Well, it wasn't all right, and I'm angry about that."."

    Finally, when Morton was 36 years old, she began to admit to herself the full realization of her abuse. She entered therapy and confronted her aunt with abuse by her uncle who had since died. Neither confirming nor denying the abuse, Morton's aunt said her uncle "was only human" and he "gave devoted service for so many years the Lord had forgiven him his sins." She blamed Morton for bringing the abuse upon herself, and she accused her of trying to tear apart the family.."

    "My aunt was so supportive of her husband, she was compromised into denying the impact of sexual abuse," Morton says. "I needed her support, not her blame."."

    | Loyalty vs. the Courts."

    The first lawsuit filed against an American clergyman for sexual abuse of a child occurred in 1984 ["Insurers Help Churches in Abuse Suits," Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 15, 1994]. Loyalty to leaders may prevent most Mormons from seeking legal redress for child abuse. But continued lack of response to abuse, followed by denial or cover-up, are forcing some to seek action in civil courts.."

    Sometimes a lawsuit may be the only way to create responsibility. "I think we will see the Church change over time, largely because the lawsuits have forced the issue," says Sue McMurray, a Texas Mormon. Lisa Davis' "New Times" piece reported that child sexual abuse "has cost the [LDS] church millions of dollars -- perhaps tens of millions -- in liability lawsuits across the nation." And these were just the cases "that made it into the legal system."."

    The problem of increasing legal action against the church was reportedly addressed at a September, 1994 LDS Regional Priesthood Leadership meeting in Calgary, Canada. Two men who attended the meeting but asked not to be identified reported that Pres. Hinckley responded to questions about child sexual abuse, warning leaders that if they had "the least inkling that people have a problem with this . . . then they should be left out of church positions."."

    Hinckley instructed leaders to watch for and take action on cases of sexual abuse since these cases were "costing the church millions of dollars in lawyer's fees and settlements." Hinckley said, "It costs the church time and money to fight these things," and added that "the church is being sued for millions . . . we have more lawyers than we know what to do with."."

    | The Catholic Model."

    Like the Catholic Church, the LDS Church may soon be up to its neck in negative publicity in mishandling of child sexual abuse in its congregations, and in responding to civil suits. The Catholic Church has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in settling such suites. One of the largest of these is the case of Father Porter who abused over 300 boys in his parish. Father Porter is now in jail after being criminally prosecuted in two states. Over 130 adults sued the Catholic church in several states for their childhood abuse by him.."

    In the Fall of 1995, the Catholic Church petitioned the Supreme Court of Texas to hold that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (guaranteeing freedom of religion) requires that the church be granted immunity against any civil suit involving the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests.."

    In December 1995, an Amicus Curiae Brief (Friend of the Court) was submitted in support of the Catholic petition in the Texas Supreme Court by nine other churches including the LDS Church. The Catholic Church in this case is denying any liability for abuse committed by its priests even if the abuse has been reported to church hierarchy and continues to occur. These churches claim that the First Amendment right to religious freedom exempts them from liability even though case law holds them and their agents responsible for criminal acts.."

    | Who's Responsible?."

    By attempting to avoid responsibility for their agents' actions, the LDS Church appears to disclaim responsibility for decisions made by bishops or stake presidents even when they are aware of abuse and are legally mandated to report it.."

    The protection of children from sexual abuse is of compelling state interest. In many cases, civil action is the only available legal recourse for abuse victims. Churches which preach family values send a highly contradictory message when they spend long hours and big bucks to hide a danger that destroys children.."

    Many victims of abuse have pleaded with their church leaders to use church resources for therapy of victims instead of using the money to fight legal battles against the victims. Some church claims for First Amendment exemption have been rejected in Minnesota, Colorado, Ohio and Pennsylvania.."

    | Gagging Public Disclosure."

    In most settlements of civil cases of child abuse involving religious organizations, a so-called "gag order" is invoked, which means that the parties in the settlement promise not to disclose publicly any of the terms of settlement.."

    Gag orders make it difficult to ascertain how many millions of dollars churches like the Catholic and LDS church have paid in civil settlements. Some victim rights' advocates are asserting that gag orders may not be legal and that eventually they will be tested in court. But so far, this has not occurred. Some states, however, are currently considering legislation which would ban gag orders in any civil actions, not only in cases of child abuse.."

    Another problem with gag orders is that churches use them to deflect public scrutiny of a specific case where the church has behaved negligently or in a way that is protective of abuse perpetrators. Gag orders suppress information about a suit that might discredit the public image of the church.."

    Such was the case of Richard Kenneth Ray of Mesa Ariz., who confessed to three separate Mormon bishops in 1968 that he was molesting children. They failed to report him for 16 years. In 1984, when the case came to court, the church was charged with failure to report to the police and with negligence in counseling Ray; he was sentenced to 61 years in prison for molesting five girls. A civil action suit was brought against the LDS Church which argued in vain for clergy confidentiality and lost; the Church then paid the victim an "undisclosed settlement" in 1990.."

    | Getting Abuse on the Record."

    State law requires citizens to report child abuse, but the reporting laws vary from state to state. Utah Law requires any person who is aware a child has been abused to notify the Division of Family Services or police.."

    Martha Pierce, an attorney for Utah's Guardian Ad Litem, which provides legal representation for children, says "We are legally obligated to report child abuse. There is only one exception and that is for clergy receiving a confession from a perpetrator."."

    The child abuse reporting law does not apply to clergy, if they meet five narrowly defined conditions: 1) Clergy must be acting in their professional capacity at the time they receive the information. 2) The information must be received during a confession. 3) The information must be obtained in the proper course of discipline set forth by the church to which that person belongs. 4) Information must come only from a perpetrator. (Thus if a witness or victim tells the bishop, the bishop must report it.) 5) The clergy has an official responsibility or duty to keep confessional information confidential.."

    If all five conditions aren't met, a religious leader must report the abuse. If later a victim or witness comes to the bishop and reports the abuse, then exemption is lost and the bishop must report it. A bishop can encourage an abuser to confess; he can also talk to the family and if any member reports the abuse, the bishop can then report it.."

    "This is the way it's supposed to work, but that's not necessarily what happens," Pierce says.."

    | Nurturing Naivete."

    Three women from different regions of the country have reported to me that in their LDS stakes, seminars for priesthood leaders actually discussed ways to avoid rather than comply with child abuse reporting laws. "I think that most Mormons are incredibly naive about the church's position on this issue -- which is to protect the church and its interests, even at the expense of the victims," Kristy Sumner told me.."

    "My father is a bishop and when mandatory [child abuse] reporting laws were passed in the state in which he resides, the church held seminars for all local leaders. The purpose of these seminars was to instruct bishops, stake presidents and other leaders on ways to get around the new reporting laws. There were no seminars instructing these same leaders on what to do for the victims of abuse."."

    Pierce says that often bishops assume the responsibility to "fix" behavior problems themselves instead of referring members to appropriate professionals. "Abuse cannot be solved in a simple interview -- it needs a multi-disciplinary approach. A bishop's calling does not train him to counsel members other than in spiritual matters," she notes.."

    "While many bishops do report child abuse, it is surprising how many bishops testify as character witnesses on behalf of the perpetrator. Bishops try to negotiate with attorneys to get lesser sentences and keep people's records clean so they can serve in church callings, go on missions, etc. In my experience, too often church leaders tend to align themselves with the abuser instead of the victim."."

    A California lawyer recently told me, "I had a stake president who wanted to testify in a sexual abuse case that had gone on for many years and involved many victims. He had been very careful not to talk to the perpetrator alone and not in a priest-penitent relationship and felt the privilege did not apply.."

    "The day he was going to sign the affidavit we had prepared together, he called and said that a "church attorney" told him he couldn't testify. He gave me the phone number and asked me to call the attorney.."

    "When I did, he said he believed the privilege belonged to the priest and the penitent. I disagreed and said that even if the privilege did apply in this case, the stake president/priest had waived the privilege. The church attorney said, No, I've instructed him not to do so.' I asked, You mean you have veto power over a stake president's inspiration and calling?' He said he didn't think of it quite that way. I replied, `I don't doubt that one bit.'"."

    | Backlash in Bountiful."

    During the mid-1980's, information emerged about a child sexual abuse and pornography ring run by two counselors in a Bountiful bishopric and other adults in the ward. Eight children independently told their parents, police investigators and therapists how they were sexually abused by these ward members. Only one of the ward members named by the children, Brett Bullock, was prosecuted and is now in prison. Police records show that other ward members were not prosecuted, largely due to the fact that some parents considered their children too young and vulnerable and refused to let them testify in court.."

    However, in private, the children independently named the same adults and same events. Later, one child who had been abused pulled every hair out of her head, her eyelashes and eyebrows.."

    Parents of abused children in the ward were horrified by the abuse and sought response from their ward and stake church leaders but nothing happened. A few parents went further, to LDS general authorities. One father went to two general authorities on two occasions to plead that something be done to protect other children from more abuse by the named perpetrators. But no action was take against the perpetrators who continued to hold church leadership positions.."

    "Their lack of response has been the most disillusioning and faith destroying experience of my life," this father told me.."

    | Disbelieving Children."

    The wife of one man who was a perpetrator of the abuse later told me, "When my children described the horrific sexual abuse by their own father, the bishop counseled me to believe my husband over my children because he holds the priesthood. I have not been active in the church since he told me that."."

    Another mother said, "We could not afford to move from the ward. I had to sit in church with adults who had sexually molested our children, and who had in no way been disciplined. I could not comprehend such betrayal." Several parents moved from the neighborhood.."

    The perpetrator in the bishopric, divorced by his wife, moved to another ward and acquired a new wife with new children. Others tried to warn both his new wife and his new bishop about his past abuses of children.."

    This man abused at least 30 children over many years -- from his teenage years into his forties. Nine children and four adult women independently reported to church leaders, their experience of sexual abuse by the man. No church or legal action was ever taken against him; instead, church leaders supported him and even paid his house mortgage.."

    | Ruined Lives."

    Parents of children he abused believe that he was protected because of his close association with the daughter and son-in-law of a church apostle. When his second wife discovered he was abusing their children, she divorced him and threatened to take him to court for abuse. She said, "My children would never have been abused if he had been excommunicated or the bishop had told me of his problems. I would never have married him. Now my children can't function and it feels like our lives are ruined."."

    One father in the ward, Mark Burton, approached LDS Church public relations, and then approached the regional representative of the church, pressing for action regarding safety of the children in the ward. He was advised they'd get back to him. They never did. Burton then talked to a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who promised to look into the matter. Burton never heard back from any church leader about any of the abuse in the ward. He speculates "This case was red-flagged by someone in the church hierarchy -- it was just too hot to handle."."

    | Hope for Change?."

    Can the LDS Church do better? I believe that it can and should. There are concrete ways of addressing abuse in any community and in the courts.."

    Gag orders in civil suits should be discontinued. Bishops and stake presidents should be required to report child abuse in compliance with the law. Prevention and education programs could [be] offered in church settings.."

    Bishops and stake presidents should realize that the needs of victims are equally important and take precedence over the needs of the offender. Victims should not be told to "forgive and forget" until it is in their therapeutic interest and capacity to do so.."

    The pervasive system of denial that says child abuse does not occur in good Mormon families must be radically changed. Perpetrators cannot be assumed innocent simply because they are "good members" of the church.."

    | A Personal Dilemma."

    If child abuse is truly the scourge that the experts report it to be -- a main cause of broken homes, drug and alcohol abuse, crime, mental and physical illness, sexual dysfunction, eating disorders and more -- then it is as important a social problem as any facing us today. If the statistics on child abuse are correct, on average there are 80 victims and five perpetrators sitting with you on church benches on any given Sunday morning.."

    Rather than appearing as fanged monsters hiding in the parking lot, perpetrators may be your neighbor, your ward clerk, your visiting teacher, your dentist or your attorney. This explains why all the documented stories in this article are representative of many Mormon wards and in a variety of churches and social institutions.."

    In every case of child abuse, someone is faced with the dilemma to speak out or not to speak. If we minimize abuse or try to justify it we only make matters worse. If we confront or name abusers there are risks. We will always be faced with the cost of speaking out, or the cost of not speaking out, but either way there is a price.."

    The bishop and stake president in West Virginia made a choice not to report James Adams' abuse of his children. Those two children's lives have been destroyed by this abuse. Hopefully, the tragedy of this West Virginia case will not be repeated again and again.."

    | The LDS Church Replies."

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was asked to comment on the failure of bishops, stake presidents and other church officials to report and take action on egregious cases of child sexual abuse detailed in this story. In addition, "The Event" sought comment or response to the charges against the church in the $750 million lawsuit filed in West Virginia in January.."

    Don LeFevre of the Public Affairs Department of the church did not respond to either request, but faxed the following statement:."

    "Children are precious in the sight of the Lord and the Church. For this reason and also because child abuse is increasing in frequency and intensity in today's permissive society, the Church in recent years has been among those in the forefront of the battle against such vile conduct.."

    "The Church produces public affairs radio programs on the subject and distributes them widely. Members of the Church are taught to obey the laws of the land wherever they reside. This, of course applies to child abuse reporting laws. If local leaders of the Church have any questions about local reporting requirements, they are encouraged to call the Church's 800-number "Help Line" for counsel."."

    | © Copyright 1996, The Event [March 20 - April 10, 1996], Salt Lake City, UT. [ Source: http://affirmation.org/news/1996_05.asp ]."

    | (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)."

    ____________________________________________________________."

    | HERE FOLLOWS THE DETAILS OF A SINGLE CASE as reported by Mormon Alliance trustee Lavina Fielding Anderson, editor of "Case Reports" that documents 23 cases of criminal prosecution for child sexual abuse by Mormons, as mentioned in the above article:."

    | RAPE AND SODOMIZATION BY DIAGNOSED PEDOPHILE IGNORED BY CHURCH -- AFTERMATH (The story begins further down!)."

    Writing under the pseudonyms of April Daniels and Carol Scott, two women a generation apart recorded their devastating discovery of the havoc abuse had wreaked in their families. Their story appeared in Paperdolls: Healing from Sexual Abuse in Mormon Neighborhoods (Salt Lake City: Palingenesia Press, 1990). All of the names in this account are pseudonyms. Since its publication, there have been additional developments, which are we will begin with:."

    In the summer of 1992, Carol's two youngest daughters and one of their husbands met with Hank's current bishop and his stake president. They sought this meeting with these ecclesiastical leaders as part of their own healing. They pled with Hank's priesthood leaders to take action to right the wrong that had been done and to protect children to whom Hank still had access. Carol reports: "These authorities told us they were worried Hank might kill himself if they took action against him, but they said they believed us. They said they would have to check with their legal department and get back to us. We heard no further response from them." Carol's son-in-law wrote to the stake president later:."

    We met with you, as spiritual leaders, with the hope that something could be done to protect against more abuse, to better facilitate the long and difficult healing process, and to appeal to your sense of morality that [Hank] finally might be called to repentance. No thanks to you or any other Church leader and as you can see by the enclosed Verified Complaint; our objectives will no longer be ignored.."

    President, I cannot begin to tell you how crushed I felt to look you, a fellow priesthood holder, in the eye and tell you that a diagnosed pedophile, who had returned from a mission and who had married in the temple, raped and sodomized my wife and many others when they were but small and innocent children, only to have you tell me that you would have to check with your legal department and get back to me, which you have not bothered to do. I do not believe that Christ would care more about a lawsuit from one that is "better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea:" than he would care about the lives of God's children. Because we cannot get any support from our Church, we are forced to resort to a civil court of law.."

    I realize that no person or courtroom in the world can render anything close to justice for what [Hank] has done to so many children and their loved ones. I firmly believe, however, that despite your ineffectiveness and inaction, [Hank] will some day be called to a just repentance and [my wife] will be healed by a power much greater than yours. In many ways I am grateful that I do not have the holy calling that you have. I pray for you, as well as the children.[5]."

    [ ENDNOTE 5: Photocopy in my possession. ]."

    A copy went to Elder Loren C. Dunn, then area president. Two of the women initiated a civil suit against Hank for damages from his abuse when they were children. Criminal action was not possible because the statute of limitation had run out. Even though Hank was an attorney and a member of the Utah Bar, he did not contest the suit, and the women were awarded a default judgment for $5 million. Their "damages" consisted of a token $100 a month, as Hank had sought protection from previous creditors by declaring bankruptcy. He also had never paid any child support for his four children.."

    In 1992 an adult woman who had read Paperdolls called Carol and said, "I know who Hank is. I lived in that same East Bench neighborhood in Salt Lake. He abused me for four years when I was a child, right up until he left on his mission." She had gone to Hank's current bishop and stake president and told her own story of Hank's abuse of her, hoping they might warn families in his present ward. But nothing ever happened.."

    In fall 1993, Hank was fired from his position with the State Tax Commission, allegedly for sexually harassing a teenage female employee. Carol and her daughters were amazed to be told later that Hank's mortgage was paid from ward welfare funds for many months, a payment authorized by Hank's bishop, who apparently felt that Hank's financial needs took precedence over his victims' claims.."

    After the agony of years, Carol, reported to me in the spring of 1996 the ending of this story for Hank -- though not the end of his bitter legacy for his victims. She had learned these details when Hank's second wife, Elaine, called her. A year before in the spring of 1995, Hank and Elaine separated, due to a number of stresses on their marriage. Hank left the state for another job. When Elaine told her two daughters by her first marriage and the son she had borne to Hank that she planned to divorce him, the three children told their mother of their years of sexual and physical abuse at his hands. "He did it to us when we were bad," they said. "He wasn't always mean, just sometimes. He said he was teaching us to mind and be good." Elaine called Hank, told him that the children were in therapy, and that she was going to see him "rot in jail for what he'd done."."

    Hank disappeared from his job. Elaine later learned that he had returned to his mother's home in Salt Lake City. The morning after his return, his mother found him dead from an overdose of prescription and nonprescription drugs. A suicide note addressed to his stepdaughters said he loved them and would never do anything to hurt them but also said that he knew God would forgive and understand his death because he could not continue the destruction of more lives. Carol comments, "Like the rest of his life, it was a double and confusing message." The ultimate irony for Carol is that he died in a bed in his mother's house, where his own abuse had begun.."

    Although Elaine had earlier rejected attempts to warn her that her children would be in danger if she married Hank, she now told Carol, "I know I never listened to all of you," she said. "But if a church leader had told me what they knew about him, I would have listened. And if he had been excommunicated when his other children first told, I never would have married him." She added, "The bishop and others in the ward have helped me a lot, but I wish I could have been directly warned."

    Carol summarizes bleakly, "I know of at least thirty people Hank molested when they were children. There were many adults along his path who knew of his behavior. One of us should have been able to stop him and maybe to help him. Hank was never called to a disciplinary council, and we have never been given an explanation for this lack of Church action against him. We believe that Church officers shielded Hank from ecclesiastical action and even paid his bills because of his connection to an apostle's family."[6]."

    [ ENDNOTE 6: Carol Daniels statement to Lavina Fielding Anderson on April 16, 1996. ]."

    | THE STORY BEGINS HERE. THE ABOVE IS THE AFTERMATH:."

    | PAPERDOLLS: APRIL DANIELS AND CAROL SCOTT."

    Writing under the pseudonyms of April Daniels and Carol Scott, two women a generation apart recorded their devastating discovery of the havoc abuse had wreaked in their families. Their story appears in Paperdolls: Healing from Sexual Abuse in Mormon Neighborhoods (Salt Lake City: Palingenesia Press, 1990). All of the names in this account are pseudonyms. Since its publication, there have been additional developments, which are prepended to this summary.."

    The story begins with April, who as a child between the ages of about five and her early teens, was fondled, sodomized, vaginally penetrated with fingers, lighted candles, and other objects, including a loaded pistol. The perpetrators were teenage boys in her Salt Lake City neighborhood, including her older brother, Tom, her father, cousins, and at least two adult men in the neighborhood, at least three college-age men, and neighborhood teenagers. "Counting my brothers and their friends, there are close to twenty. We didn't count kids my age. The others were about seven years older." (65). They also urinated on her, forced her to clean their penises with her tongue after their ejaculation, locked her naked in a rabbit cage, and posed her for nude pornography drawings with other children. One of them anally raped her just after her baptism, despite her pleas that she didn't want to be "nasty" any more. He told her, "`We can do it because I'm a priest."' Another brother, Byron, witnessed the abuse and was also sodomized; he later married a woman who had been sexually abused as a child and was a rageaholic.."

    April's family was, on the surface, impeccably Mormon. The parents were almost compulsively religious, temple-goers, active, and pillars of the ward. Both brothers went on fulltime proselytizing missions and married in the temple. April's oldest sister also married in the temple. Her parents had an equally solid social position as owners of a financial institution in which she had a responsible position as an adult. But beneath the surface brightness was sickness. April's parents were secret alcoholics who took pornographic photographs of each other with the family Polaroid. When April was seven, her father, whom she suspects was also abused as a child, orally raped her so hard that her front teeth were loose for six months. Her mother had a nervous breakdown when April was born. She never commented on the smell of urine on April's clothes, never noticed the blood and semen on her panties, and never heard her when she sobbed for hours at night. She made jokes about how April wasn't a "morning person" because she was always exhausted in the mornings and couldn't eat without getting sick. April developed at least one multiple personality, fantasized that she could become a boy, became a compulsive runner, finally went into therapy for her bulimia, and began recovering memories of her abuse when she was in her early thirties.."

    April's and Carol's families were linked by friendship. Carol Scott, April's co-author, whose children grew up in April's neighborhood, commented that of the children in April's peer group, six are dead, three by suicide. "Three in and out of institutions. Five with eating disorders or drug abuse. Every single one of those kids was involved in the atrocity April is remembering" (52).."

    Carol Scott was close to the age of April's mother. April was good friends with Carol's younger daughters. An older daughter, Loraine, married Tom's best friend, Hank, a returned missionary, in the temple. They had four children: Timothy, age eight, Isabel, five, Courtney, three, and a new baby. Carol's son Jake and his wife, Sara, lived in the same ward as Loraine and Hank. Jake and Sara had two children: five-year-old Cynthia and three-year-old Claire.."

    Carol wrote:."

    It is February 14, 1986.... A few months ago a psychologist in Loraine's LDS ward gave a lesson to the Relief Society about symptoms of child sexual abuse. Afterwards a mother of a little boy who plays with Timothy took her child to the psychologist because she caught him sticking marbles up his little sister's bottom.... One victim led to another -- and another -- and another. To an older teenage sister, to another teenager, to a father, etc. More children were taken to therapists. More babysitters were named . . . . The bishop of the ward said he didn't know what to do. These were good and righteous families being named. Hank's in the bishopric with him. Hank said the bishop was calling in higher authorities.."

    Every day Loraine called me and cried. Two of the girls were in her Young Women's church class. Then one of the children named Loraine's baby sitter, Geraldine.... Jake and Sara have used Geraldine too . . . . Therapists... have interviewed my five oldest grandchildren ranging in age from three to seven.... Separately, with no knowledge of what their siblings and cousins were saying, they told what Geraldine and her boy friend did to them.."

    . . . When Sara had her gallbladder out the mother of the family [two houses down] volunteered to tend her children all day for three days. We couldn't believe how nice she was. It meant I didn't have to take time off work. The mother has two little girls of her own, and she said they all had so much fun playing together that they weren't any trouble at all. This mother, this neighbor of Loraine's, is a daughter of... one of the Twelve Apostles. Her husband is in the bishopric with Hank.."

    Our children told about the "touching parties" at her house. About what the dad did to his two little girls and ours while the mom gave out Popsicle's and cookies and took videos. About how she used some of the [Primary -- the auxiliary for children ages three to twelve] visual aids for backgrounds in the videos. She's [Primary] chorister. She got double use out of the Easter bunnies and posters she made.."

    At first I wanted desperately to believe my grandchildren were making it up, but none of them have had access to the sexual information they're giving. Their mothers don't even let them watch TV except on Sesame Street level, and no TV show contains the things they are describing.."

    The detail from each matched what the others have said. Cynthia said, "He showed us deer antlers and said he'd poke them up us if we told." Isabel said, "We were scared he'd hurt us with the deer horns." There is no way they are not telling the truth, and there is no way my mind can believe it.."

    . . . We had a Heroes' Party: Norton [Carol's husband], and I, Loraine and Hank, Jake and Sara, the five children, and the baby asleep in my bedroom. We all drew pictures of ugly baby sitters hurting children and tore them up and burned them in our fireplace. We gave the children Hero Medals and told them they were protecting other children by talking. Hank pounded an old slipper and said he was pretending it was Geraldine....."

    Loraine and Sara looked dreadful. They weren't sleeping, their houses were in chaos, their children had started waking with screaming dreams....."

    Yesterday the kids were getting ice cream cones for the good work they'd done in therapy, and Isabel casually asked her mother, "Why are the things the baby sitters and the bad people do to us bad and the lessons Daddy gives us are okay?" . . .."

    The therapist and I are sitting on the floor with Isabel.... The therapist asks Isabel about the lessons Daddy gave . . . . . (She] asks her two or three times.."

    "We learn how our bodies are made. Where babies come from and stuff like that"."

    Of course, I think. Loraine and Hank have always believed in being open about sex education. She's just all mixed up because everything has been so confusing. Of course. Dear God, please.."

    . . . For two hours we listen to Isabel. She is tired. She's crying. The therapist quietly says, "Isabel,... you've done so well. You've worked so hard and told us lots of important things...."."

    Isabel . . . runs around the room throwing toys everywhere. She kicks the dollhouse over, and then she stamps and stamps on the anatomical doll that is the Daddy. I hold her on the floor and rock her for a long, long time....."

    Norton brought Hank into the office.... I told Hank what Isabel and Timothy had said. I couldn't concentrate on Hank's words, but he kept saying he couldn't remember any of it. He also said his children didn't lie. He was shaking.... Loraine had bitten her hands, and they were bleeding. (55-59)."

    The abuse had no Satanic elements, Carol believes, but the "touching parties" followed a ritualized format: first they would show pornographic videos of children, the children would undress, masturbate each other, have oral sex and anal sex with everyone by turns."

    as though they were performing at a recital. This part would be filmed and then played back. Then everyone would dress, and they would have refreshments. The whole `party' took less than an hour. Usually about seven children, a couple of teenagers, and three or four adults were there. Sometimes there were costumes and props, and sometimes the children were given injections, "especially if it was going to hurt." We gathered this meant if partial penetration was attempted.."

    Hank would "dance" wearing only the top half of his garments. Geraldine would hold the girls' vaginas open while "`the boys put something tickly up there."' The children were forced to drink urine mixed with feces. "Treats" would be taped to the baby's penis "so the kids would like to suck them off." (108)."

    The abuse took other forms as well. They put ice cubes in three-year-old Courtney's vagina, told Isabel they were going to put an ice pick in her vagina "to see how far it could go without bleeding." (88)."

    At Hank's mother's house."

    a couple of her lady friends and sometimes some of the cousins . . . would all sit in a circle on the floor and go around, and they'd tell us what to do . . . .The ladies liked us to suck on their boobs..... They liked us to tickle each other. Then Daddy would do things to the ladies, especially Grandma. Sometimes he would lie on her and put his big thing up her. Mostly the ladies kept their clothes on, but we were naked. They always had good treats. On the way home, Daddy would say, "Wasn't that fun? You did real good. You're learning the lessons real well, but you mustn't tell Mommy."."

    Loraine took the sobbing Timothy into her bedroom, and I called Isabel into mine.... Same story, same details. Identical. Even three-year-old Courtney told it, uncoached, described her Daddy having sex with his mother. (90-91)."

    Once these horrors had spilled out, Timothy came sobbing into Carol's room in the middle of the same night. Something else had happened, something too awful to tell, something they had made him do. Carol had to promise not to tell his mother. Finally he could write it down in his second-grade printing: "`They made us drink kofey."'."

    Then he started to cry.... "They said if we told anyone about the parties, they'd tell how we drank coffee." While I held Timothy and tried to explain about coffee, something way deep and from way long ago inside me snapped. It has still not come back together. My old, old issues about hypocrisy, priorities, and claims to exclusive truth. I wanted to burn every Primary manual I'd ever taught from about evil coffee-drinking people.... I think of all the horrors the children told, that one broke my heart the most. (92)."

    All this information was immediately given to the police, the bishop, and the stake president. The children also alleged that two teenaged boys performed sexual acts on the children in their own homes, as girlfriends of these boys were tending them. Although these boys did not live in the ward and the children did not know their names, Timothy and Courtney identified the same boys when the police showed them yearbook pictures. Each of these identifications occurred in two isolated interviews.."

    Five-year-old Cynthia also identified the two teenage boys from a high school yearbook. "Sure enough they were friends of Geraldine. The police apparently were not impressed" (107). Cynthia said the apostle's son-in-law strangled a kitten and made the children help bury it. "We can do this to [three-year-old] Claire," they told Cynthia. "We'll bury her right here by the kitty if you ever tell." The apostle's daughter threatened to drop Claire in the road so she'd be run over.."

    The bishop told Loraine that she should believe Hank, not her children, because he was a "worthy priesthood holder." The stake president said he believed the children and he would try to initiate Church action. He later told the family that he could not get approval from higher Church authorities.."

    Meanwhile, in 1986, Hank voluntarily entered the sexual offenders' treatment program at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He acknowledged to medical personnel there that he remembered abusing his children, his nieces, and other neighborhood children, reported details of the "sex parties" at the home of the apostle's daughter and son-in-law, and remembered his mother sexually abusing him during his own childhood. His intent was to plea bargain upon release from Johns Hopkins. When he learned that his former wife would not let the children appear in court,[4] he recanted on all of these admissions but he relinquished all visitation rights when the divorce became final in the summer of 1986. Loraine applied to the First Presidency for a cancellation of sealing. It was granted.."

    [ ENDNOTE 4: Carol, a therapist, advised her daughter not to have the children testify in court, because of the retraumatization of the children during a case in Lehi, Utah, in which a number of children named several men prominent in the community, including their bishop, as perpetrators. The children were discredited as witnesses. ]."

    The reaction of Church officials ranged from noncommittal to cold. In early spring 1987, at the stake president's invitation, Loraine wrote:."

    Dear President ____:."

    You have asked me to advise you of my current circumstances surrounding my divorce...."

    I married Hank ___ in the Salt Lake City Temple in 1976. I believed at that time that Hank was a righteous man and for ten years I tried to make a celestial marriage. I had four children, who, after virtually living in true hell, finally "told", in January and February 1986, the actual nightmare that our "perfect;" temple-going, family-night; daily family-prayers family was living: their father was a child abuser who had been sexually molesting them for years. The case was immediately reported to the police who eventually said they could not prosecute without my children's in-person testimony. A major reason for the inaction of the criminal system has been my unwillingness to make media celebrities of my children.."

    Ecclesiastical inaction is more difficult to understand in view of the Lord's teachings on sexual morality and His clear warning to those who teach evil to the innocent. My children remain available to you for questioning as do other child witnesses, including my brother's children, if corroboration of these facts is necessary.."

    There is not a way to describe the agony my children and I have traversed.... My children have seen five doctors, who have all said they would be willing to testify . . . .There is evidence of scarring on the hymen on one child and vaginal stretching of the hymen on another child.."

    My children have told how Hank took them and one of my nieces to his mother's home and let her and other relatives molest these little children in many obscene ways. They forced them to have oral sex with each other and to watch as Hank had sexual intercourse with others including his own mother.."

    Hank also networked with a child abuse ring in our neighborhood. They had orgies of abuse, which they videotaped. I assume the tapes were traded to other pedophiles or sold for money.."

    In addition to incest Hank stands accused of cunnilingus, fondling, digital penetration of vagina and anus, sodomy, object rape, enforced fellatio, and the making and showing of pornographic children's videos of his own children and others.."

    The abusers tortured and killed animals in front of children and told them this would happen to them if they told. They gave them injections of drugs (the children say so it wouldn't hurt so much and to make them sleepy), showed them films of all sorts of sadism. Finally my children reached the point where what they actually were experiencing became as frightening as the threats of what would happen if they told.."

    Hank has been examined by several therapists and admitted himself to an out-of-state sexual offenders' program, He was in this residential program for approximately six weeks. The records of this hospital can only be obtained at the request of Hank, as can the results of psychological and polygraph evaluation performed... in Salt Lake. If Hank is not a pedophile and is not a threat to children, he should volunteer these unedited records to clear his name.."

    Hank mailed an invitation to my children for his remarriage, which took place last month. The children have not seen him since February 1986. He originally voluntarily agreed to no visitation with them unless their psychiatrist deemed it to be in their best interests. As soon as he realized he wasn't being prosecuted, he initiated legal action requesting not only visitation, but joint custody. It has taken incredible effort and legal costs to keep my children safe from him. When the children were told of his marriage and the fact that he now has two little step-daughters, they cried and told me I had to stop him now or he would have more kids to abuse. The fact that he is active in the Church may have been a factor in his ability to find another wife. They were married in the temple. The purity of unborn children, and for that matter any available children, is in the hands of those of us who know the truth. If we are silent we betray them. I hope for Hank's excommunication, mainly as a warning to others Hank may contact but also because my children's souls are in a fragile place.."

    When our new Primary president told the story of Daniel ... [and stated that] God would help them when they were in trouble, my eight-year-old raised his hand and angrily informed the sister that this was not true. My seven-year-old refuses to pray. She describes . . . how she'd pray and pray, begging that if the abuse had to continue that at least Heavenly Father would make it so it didn't hurt so bad. But it always hurt just as bad. My four-year-old is still confused over right and wrong. She was consistently told Jesus wanted her to do these things and that I wanted her to have these "marriage lessons." For weeks after she'd told, she kept expressing her astonishment; "They didn't kill me yet, Mommy. But Heavenly Father wants me to be killed for telling."."

    When Hank left the hospital, his therapist told my mother and myself in Hank's presence that his prognosis was entirely up to him.... He was aware of the results of the sodium penathal interview and the lie detector test as well as hypnosis administered at the hospital; . . . These tests would give him objective evidence to remember what he has done. Since that time Hank has recanted on his past statements and is now asserting his complete innocence. There is no reason to believe that his old patterns will not reassert themselves entirely.."

    The Church records should reflect that Hank is a pedophile. If allowed access to children in the Church, not only will further lives be destroyed but the Church may be held morally and legally responsible for its failure to take action to protect innocent victims from an extremely disturbed child abuser.... (84, 86)."

    Carol continues:."

    Nothing ever happened... The bishop did come and talk to Loraine one night. He said that if his own wife had to choose between believing him or their children, he knew she would believe him. The bishop advised Loraine that she should think very carefully before breaking up her family. Loraine moved. She did not see him again.."

    No one interviewed the children or asked more questions, except the stake president who talked with one of the children's therapists. The stake president told us he believed it. There has never been an excommunication trial. We think we know why, but there is no way to be sure. Loraine's neighbors, the ones who had the "touching parties," are the daughter and son-in-law of an apostle in the Mormon Church. (87)...."

    No neighborhood could be a better setup for a child abuser than the LDS one, where everyone is and has to be perfect and no one who attends church diligently has admissible problems. I can't blame the Church. I totally bought into the perfectionism and denial. I do blame Church leaders now if they don't deal with problems when they know about them. The bishop told Loraine she should believe Hank because he held the priesthood. Just as the [sixteen-year-old] priest had told April [that she should comply with his demands]. (110)."

    As Loraine's letter indicates, Hank's remarriage was another blow. Elaine (pseudonym), his new wife, had two small daughters. When Hank sued for visitation rights with his children, Elaine attended the hearing at which the children's therapists gave detailed reports and at which Hank's records from Johns Hopkins were reviewed. The court denied all visitation. Elaine heard all of the testimony but told Carol that she did not believe these "lies" and that her place was with her husband.."

    Norton, the children's grandfather, became deeply depressed in the fall of 1986 and took his pistol to the safety deposit box to eliminate one means of committing suicide. As a businessman, as someone with Church connections,."

    he was always effective; at the least he could have impact; he could be heard. Now he had to face a legal system in which all of us seemed to have no credibility. Nothing happened. When he suggested the police search homes for pornographic videos, they called the alleged perpetrators and made appointments, explaining why they were coming....."

    Then there was the Church. Norton had his share of disagreement with Church policies, but he was a fervent believer and totally loyal. He had given and given to the Church -- time, money, energy, thought; love. We had talked about what it might be like for him to be a mission president or some equivalent. Now no one in the Church would listen to him. After Loraine moved, Norton and I went to the new bishop of her old ward. We thought that since he had moved into the neighborhood recently, he needed information. We told him everything we knew.... He said he believed us and would pray for us. I suggested ways he could warn his ward without implicating or hurting anyone, ways he could help the children who had been named and had never seen a therapist. His response was, "I don't see that there is anything I can do it is really not within the parameters of my office. It's in the hands of the stake president"."

    . . . Little innocent children were to go on being sacrificed, and it was not within his jurisdiction.... The apostle's son-in-law would continue to sit next to the bishop on the stand in Church, looking down on all the faces of the children he had molested.."

    Norton went to his friend, a young and very effective General Authority. For thirty years, he and his wife had been two of our best friends. When the children told, almost the first thing Loraine, Jake, and Sara did was take their children to him for blessings. Our friend, the authority, had met with Hank then too and tried to help him. He had urged Jake and Loraine to keep in touch with him. He is a brilliant, spiritual, unselfish person, totally devoted to his calling in the Church and to his fellow human beings. When the names of the apostle's daughter and son-in-law came up, however, all contact with him about our particular situation ceased almost overnight. He assured us he could do nothing. After a couple of months, he invited us to dinner at his home, but he made a point of saying that this particular subject could not be discussed. His wife was not supposed to know anything about it. Norton... felt betrayed . . . We don't see them anymore.."

    Unlike me, [Norton] had always assumed if he tried to do what he should and if he trusted in God, he and his would be protected. For the first time in his life, he faced the simplistic quality of his faith. He had to come to grips with evil. For a long time, he could not pray. He went to church and wept during the hymns. He watched the "falling away" of his children as they struggled with the Church. (144-45)."

    When April, visiting a friend, attended the Young Women's class she co-taught, she walked out during the other teacher's lesson on chastity and demanded of her friend, "`What about the incest victims? . . . There were over twenty girls in that class. I'm certain that a couple of them just had their hearts wrung through a wringer.' Laurel just stared at me. She commented that she had never thought of it that way before" (79). At Carol's request, April talked to Hank's stake president. He arranged for her to meet with two General Authorities:."

    They seemed to be very caring, compassionate men. I told them everything. I told them about my family, the neighbors, and Hank . . . about the children from my neighborhood. The deaths, the suicides, and psychiatric hospitalization . . .."

    We all came from well-educated, upper-class righteous homes. We grew up in a nice neighborhood. Over half of us have had incomprehensible pain throughout our lives because of the sexual abuse that happened to us as children . . . .."

    I think the General Authorities believed me. They asked me if I would be willing to speak at a [disciplinary] council.."

    I told them I believe that the support of the Church could help the perpetrators get into professional counseling.."

    One of the General Authorities said, "This council might help push them into therapy." (191)."

    April was never called as a witness. There were no disciplinary councils.."

    The story continued after the publication of Paperdolls. [Skip back to RAPE AND SODOMIZATION BY DIAGNOSED PEDOPHILE IGNORED BY CHURCH -- AFTERMATH, for this continuation!]."

    | [Statements By Parents And Others About Ecclesiastical Reluctance To Act On Reported Abuse, Case Reports Of The Mormon Alliance, Volume 1, 1995, Chapter 5, section 2; ``A summary of the bi-generational abuse inflicted in the families of April Daniels and Carol Scott, the pseudonyms of two women who wrote their stories in Paperdolls: Healing from Sexual Abuse in Mormon Neighborhoods (Salt Lake City: Palingenesia Press, 1990). Ecclesiastical inaction and actual support for one perpetrator was an unexpected and bitter source of pain for those already suffering.'' http://mormonalliance.org/casereports/volume1/part1/v1p1c05.htm ]."

Mormon Sexual Abuse Map

International map of locations where active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints perpetrated or allegedly perpetrated sexual abuse or other sex crimes, or where LDS leaders failed or allegedly failed to help abuse survivors.