Mormon Church sued again regarding child sexual abuse

July 5, 2002
By Rick Ross

Late last month another child sexual abuse victim filed a lawsuit for unspecified damages against The Mormon Church, claiming its leaders knowingly harbored a pedophile.

The plaintiff, stated that Mitchell Blake Young sexually abused him between 1987 and 1992, when he was 6 to 12 years old. Young was convicted in 1993 of sexually abusing the boy and is now serving a 15 year prison sentence in Utah. The lawsuit also names Gordon Young, the convicted felon's father.

The suit claims that Gordon Young encouraged the victim's mother to entrust her children to Young for religious instruction, despite the fact that he knew his son was on probation for molesting children in Arizona.

The suit also alleges that church leaders knew Young had sexually abused children for more than a decade, when he began abusing the boy, now an adult living in Utah. But despite this they did nothing to protect the plaintiff and/or his family.

This latest lawsuit is just one more in an increasing list, which claims that the Mormon Church failed to report child molesters to law enforcement.

The suit states that both Gordon Young and Mormon officials knew of about Young as early as 1975. That year, the suit says, Gordon Young was aware his son sexually abused neighborhood children in the Butler 20th Ward in Salt Lake County.

Once again in 1980, church officials received complaints from the Whitefish Bay area of Canada, after sending Young there for a mission. He was sexually abusing children from an Indian tribe in the are. Mormon officials recalled Young, but did not report him to the police. Instead, they opted for counseling and therapy and believed he was somehow "cured."

But in 1985 that belief was proven false when Young was arrested in Arizona and convicted for sex crimes with two boys ages 4 and 7. He was then sentenced to 5 years probation. Mormon Bishop James H. Woodward wrote a letter to the judge pleading for Young's probation rather than a prison sentence and volunteering himself to monitor and supervise Young. That letter did not admit that church officials knew about Young's predatory sexual behavior.

In 1986, Young met the plaintiff's mother, a single woman in the Butler 20th Ward. Gordon Young told the mother that his son was a "religion instructor." Young was then often left alone in his father's home with her children, and it was then according to the suit that he sexually molested the plaintiff.

Despite the fact that Church leaders knew Young's unsupervised contact with minors was a violation of the terms of his Arizona probation, they did nothing to report it.

Ultimately, in 1988, Young plead guilty to new criminal charges of sexual misconduct with four boys in the locker room of a Salt Lake City youth center. That information was once again kept from the mother of the plaintiff, by both Young's father and church leaders. Because of this lack of information, the mother allowed her son to continue to see Young and the sexual abuse continued.

Note: This article was largely based upon "Victim Sues LDS Church, Sex Abuser" By Elizabeth Neff, The Salt Lake City Tribune, Tuesday, July 2, 2002

Copyright © 2002 Rick Ross.

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