Sexual abuse of children in the Mormon Church

May 17, 2002
By Rick Ross

According to one national estimate 4 percent of all churches have experienced an allegation of sexual abuse.

And Utah is no exception, where Mormons account for about 70 percent of the population. The rate of such abuse remains consistent amongst Mormons, paralleling the rest of society.

The Mormon Church established an educational program for its leaders regarding child sexual abuse in 1989. However, law enforcement authorities say that church leaders still often chose clergy confidentiality, rather than reporting sex offenders to the police.

And Mormon leadership training has certainly not stopped the rise of lawsuits against the church, which claim that Mormon all-male lay clergy, often mishandle allegations concerning sexual abuse.

The church has frequently chosen to pay plaintiffs quietly through settlements, rather than face them in court. One West Virginia family claiming sexual abuse, sued the Mormon Church for $750 million.

Notes: This article was based upon "Bringing Abuse to Light," Salt Lake Tribune, October 17, 1999

Copyright © 2002 Rick Ross.

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