We’re working on a timeline of Mormon sex abuse-related events, policies and responses.
Please tell us about anything you’ve found regarding the LDS church’s history of dealing with sex abuse allegations.
Chronology of events related to sexual abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
1985: The Church publishes Child Abuse: Help for Ecclesiastical Leaders. In a General Conference address, President Gordon B. Hinckley condemns “a plague of child abuse spreading across the world.”
1991: President Thomas S. Monson decries wife and child abuse during General Conference. A 1990 memo by Elder Glenn L. Pace on ritualistic sexual abuse is leaked to the press via Jerald and Sandra Tanner.
1992: The Ensign publishes a first-person account by a female survivor of sexual abuse. Deseret Book publishes Blaine M. Yorgason’s novel Secrets. April Daniels and Carol Scott publish Paperdolls: Healing from Sexual Abuse in Mormon Neighborhoods.
1993: Deseret Book releases an audiotape by Cheiko Okazaki, Healing from Sexual Abuse: Eight Messages for Survivors, Family, and Leaders. It also publishes Confronting Abuse: An LDS Perspective on Understanding and Healing Emotional, Physical, Sexual, Psychological, and Spiritual Abuse. The Church settles a civil suit in California for “millions of dollars.”
1994: Former General Authority George Lee pleads guilty to attempted sexual abuse of a child. President Hinckley speaks against physical and sexual abuse during the October General Conference. At a leadership meeting in Calgary, Alberta, President Hinckley says that sex abuse cases “are costing the Church millions of dollars in lawyers’ fees and settlements.”
1995: The Church produces Responding to Abuse: Help for
Ecclesiastical Leaders (a revised version of their 1985 guide) and sets up a telephone helpline for Church leaders faced with child abuse cases.
1996: “Adult Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse: The Case of Mormon Women” is published in Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work. The first volume of the Case Reports of the Mormon Alliance is published. Marion Smith publishes in the Event, a local Salt Lake weekly, an investigative report chronicling 16 cases of Mormon-related sexual abuse.
1998: A new Church Handbook of Instructions is published with updated policies for dealing with child abuse. One of the changes requires annotation of the abuser’s membership record. A Texas jury awards $4 million to a boy molested at age eight by Church member Charles Blome.
1999: The Church is named the 1999 “Child Advocate of the Year” by Prevent Child Abuse Utah. The Salt Lake Tribune re- ports that “more than forty plaintiffs have alleged church officials knew of molestations or ignored warning signs and failed to alert either victims’ families or authorities.”
2001: LDS leaders settle a child sexual abuse lawsuit for $3 million. A North Carolina grand jury indicts Matthew Nash on twenty felony sex offenses committed while he was an LDS missionary.
We got much of the chronological list above from research done and published by the Mormon Alliance.