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smac97

Church Loses "Emotional Distress Case"

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This is a travesty in that the man was not acting as a church officer when this abuse happened.

The "travesty" is the fact that molestation of children occurs. The second "travesty" is that big, strong, grown up adults either knew or had reasonable suspicion sufficient enough to warrant action. Some sort of action. Any sort of appropriate action --- and yet did nothing to help this child.

You may be able to argue that the non-church officer was not legally culpable, but good luck arguing that this Bishop should be free from moral culpability. Anyone who is aware that a child may possibly be molested must do something - period. Otherwise they are culpable. If not legally, then morally.

Supposedly, Jesus loves children VERY MUCH. He showed the CHILDREN His particular favor while on Earth. I doubt very much that Jesus' primary concerns would be "legal culpability" and jargon and technicalities in instances such as this. I personally think Jesus' WRATH will come down on those who abuse, molest and ruin innocent children. I'll bet Jesus isn't too happy with ANYONE who knows of such abuses and does nothing...or rationalizes their own inaction.

Perhaps President Hinckley should pray for inspiration regarding a possible 11th commandment against the abuse of innocent children. If there ever was an "unpardonable sin", raping and sexually abusing and ruing little kids is IT for darned sure.

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And yet this woman get's no jail time.....NONE. While I don't know the details of the case, my instincts tell me if this had been a male teacher abusing a 14 y.o. student the outcome would have been much different. It's confusing.

No Jail Time for Florida Teacher in Sex Case

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

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Incidently, will the parents of the 14 y.o. boy now sue the Tampa City Schools for millions? If not, I'm sure there are many lawyers ready and willing.

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CI:

Here Any actions a Bishop could take to remove the children would have to be on the permission of at least one of the parents. Bishops have no legal authority to do it. Here it could be considered kidnapping.

But at the very least trying to take the steps removes the Church and its representatives from legal liability. But that's not the major issue.

Moreover, I wasn't suggesting that the Bishop send over the Elder's quorum to snatch the kids and wisk them away to an undisclosed location. I was suggesting that he go to the mother/guardian and explain the situation and suggest possible courses of action.

C.I.

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Since approximately 1994, the Church has instituted policies that make it much clearer to Bishops and Stake Presidents what their duties are in these situations.

I wonder what events inspired these changes. Revelation or litigation?

A premonition about what the Catholics would go through a decade later?

Seriously folks, we're living amongst the first generation of humans living on planet earth that ever figured out this was a problem. It's not a mormon thing, it's a 1st world nations coming down a learning curve thing. Revelation or litigation aren't the only choices - there's also coming to grips with a problem that nobody had come to grips with before.

Of course folks will take potshots at the church. "If you're so inspired, how come you didn't do this back in the 1800's?" I believe that there are things God lets his children learn for themselves.

My heart goes out towards the victims. My confidence is with the church, who has instituted policies and practices to handle this sort of thing when it is made aware of it. My warning is to those who would consider this a mormon thing. Make sure you take a look in your own back yards as well - you're not immune.

HSR

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observer:

What would you have the Bishop do?

Ponder these things and ultimately convince himself that there is nothing he can do. :P What a sad world.

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Expecting that the bishop take immediate steps to remove the offending priesthood leader from the home is not "nonsense", USU78. His non-removal is tantamount to placement.

Neither is the suggestion that LDS bishops receive explicit, non-intuition based instructions for dealing with this ever-increasingly common situation "bigotry", as you suggest. Your suggestion that i "knock it off", however, could be interpreted thusly.

ys,

BMD.

You know BMD, just when I think you've said the dumbest thing ever...you keep talking.

C.I.

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Expecting that the bishop take immediate steps to remove the offending priesthood leader from the home is not "nonsense", USU78. His non-removal is tantamount to placement.

What authority does an LDS bishop have to remove an abused child or an abusive parent from a home? None at all. Your initial insistence that such authority exists was made in ignorance. Your refusal to give up your unsupportable position is bigotry.

Neither is the suggestion that LDS bishops receive explicit, non-intuition based instructions for dealing with this ever-increasingly common situation "bigotry", as you suggest. Your suggestion that i "knock it off", however, could be interpreted thusly.

Your bigotry is in your implicit assumption that the LDS Church, when the problem became known, has done nothing about this. Moreover, your bigotry is in your implicit slam at inspiration to which all persons are entitled within their various bailiwicks.

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Since approximately 1994, the Church has instituted policies that make it much clearer to Bishops and Stake Presidents what their duties are in these situations.

I wonder what events inspired these changes. Revelation or litigation?

A premonition about what the Catholics would go through a decade later?

Seriously folks, we're living amongst the first generation of humans living on planet earth that ever figured out this was a problem. It's not a mormon thing, it's a 1st world nations coming down a learning curve thing. Revelation or litigation aren't the only choices - there's also coming to grips with a problem that nobody had come to grips with before.

Of course folks will take potshots at the church. "If you're so inspired, how come you didn't do this back in the 1800's?" I believe that there are things God lets his children learn for themselves.

My heart goes out towards the victims. My confidence is with the church, who has instituted policies and practices to handle this sort of thing when it is made aware of it. My warning is to those who would consider this a mormon thing. Make sure you take a look in your own back yards as well - you're not immune.

HSR

Homestar is actually quite right. This case in particular came at a time when we, as a society, we just really beginning to grasp the depth and scope of the problem. In the Bishops defense (assuming the story we got is correct and not simply the representations of one side) to him, the notion of a father sexually abusing his kids may have been quite foreign and utterly unfathomable.

Of course, we know now this is not the case and it is actually far more common than we wish to admit, but there you have it.

Then again, Observer doesn't really care about any of this. He is more interested in scoring rhetorical points against the LDS Church and this simply makes a handy brickbat which can used to beat us over the head with. Basically, he's abusing this child again by making her his weapon of choice against the Church.

And THAT is pretty sad and pathetic also.

C.I.

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CI:

I don't believe that the church had any legal responsibilty here to begin with. Just a case of sympathic jury making sure "someone, anyone " pays. :P

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Since approximately 1994, the Church has instituted policies that make it much clearer to Bishops and Stake Presidents what their duties are in these situations.

I wonder what events inspired these changes. Revelation or litigation?

A premonition about what the Catholics would go through a decade later?

Seriously folks, we're living amongst the first generation of humans living on planet earth that ever figured out this was a problem. It's not a mormon thing, it's a 1st world nations coming down a learning curve thing. Revelation or litigation aren't the only choices - there's also coming to grips with a problem that nobody had come to grips with before.

Of course folks will take potshots at the church. "If you're so inspired, how come you didn't do this back in the 1800's?" I believe that there are things God lets his children learn for themselves.

My heart goes out towards the victims. My confidence is with the church, who has instituted policies and practices to handle this sort of thing when it is made aware of it. My warning is to those who would consider this a mormon thing. Make sure you take a look in your own back yards as well - you're not immune.

HSR

My point was more along the lines that many here demonize the lawyers and litigants, and yet it seems that these lawsuits are the only way and only reason large corporations or religious groups are prodded to do the right thing. It's a shame the church (or any church) couldn't come up with common sense policies in the first place, all on their own.... but don't be too quick to place all of the blame in these situations on the attorneys while arguing that most all organizations and religions function like this --- action and appropriate policies due to lawsuits...usually after the fact.

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This is a travesty in that the man was not acting as a church officer when this abuse happened.

The "travesty" is the fact that molestation of children occurs. The second "travesty" is that big, strong, grown up adults either knew or had reasonable suspicion sufficient enough to warrant action. Some sort of action. Any sort of appropriate action --- and yet did nothing to help this child.

How does one go about removing the possibility of true tragedy from the world?

"True" tragedy is the situation where one is prevented from taking actions he wishes to take because of forces outside his control.

In our instant case, the Bishop in question had the unenviable task of deciding whether, in the case of conflicting reports from various sources, to report only those whose proven veracity would be too horrible to contemplate. So he dragged his feet, unsure what to do.

No Bishop today would be unclear. This should please us all greatly.

As for the $4 Mill.

{ahem}

The doctrine that, in the absence of fault, he who can best afford to bear such a burden must bear it, is tyranny.

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I want to know what year the events in this case occurred? I notice it was neatly neglected in the initial report.

There are a couple of salient points here.

The Church has reaffirmed their policy that there is any report of abuse the local priesthood should call and get legal guidance from the Church on their abuse hotline. Their is no client privacy priveledge in most areas that will prevent the leader from reporting to legal authority if abuse occurs or is alleged.

In the case of this Bishop and Stake President was their inaction during or after this policy had been clarified by the Church? If so the Church has a good appeal, because they can prove that the training was done, the policy was to report, but the individuals in this case did not follow procedure. That places the responsibility on the negligent persons where it belongs, not on the Church.

Even then the responsibility is that of failure to report the abuse. Any talk that the Church somehow has authority to remove a father because we consider parenthood a calling is silly beyond reason.

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The "glass" is no longer dark, it is clearing by the moment! How tragic that some have to suffer abuse while we the lucky cannot even imagine the depth of their pain or the effects upon them attempting/pretending normalcy.

"The sins of the fathers visited upon ??? generations." Little did we imagine...

AUTEUR55:

It is hard for us to expect common men, who are volunteering there personal to fulfill a calling to always be smart enough to handle issues as heavy as sexual abuse.

You are absolutely correct! And the reason why THE church must advance to a more "Professional Ministry". Not that that will solve all problems, but it would at least make for a heightened degree of credibility and responsibility.

To depend upon part-time amateurs to attend to parishoners in the 21st century, as they did in the 19th, is unreasonable if not unconscionable when considered in our advancing state of social-emotional hygiene.

My personal 50+ years of LDS experience, in maaany "callings", has left me with sure knowledge that we have not always been well served by "leaders" attempting to administer out of a hand-book in subject areas they barely understood the terminology of. Or by "leaders" who would "spin" their way around details to avoid and deny the reality of serious offences to escape public ridicule.

Two cases in point: When an EQP was accused of molesting a 14 year old baby-sitter, the prime question of the GA who investigated, in my presence as the BRP, was, "... was there penetration?..." The EQP was disfellowshipped for several months and the girl wasn't even questioned, or comforted, to the best of my recollection.

As a verrry-mature student at BYUH, called as ExSec in my Ward, i was privy to goings-on in the area. It was a time of considerable attacks on women and B&Es. At a specially called meeting of municiple (Honolulu) and church officers, i was appalled by church officials not wanting municipal involvement in the remedy! Tax paying citizens were denied the benefit of tax paid for police protection giving way to volunteer street patrols by LDS Vigilante types organized under Stake Leader?ship!! It was a "revelation" that was an "awakening" very "disillusioning" and consequently "enlightening"!

I think this investigation and judgement should be cheered by responsible LDS. This is not something to lament or attempt to deny, under-rate or find excuses for. It is house-cleaning and a call for institution examination all too long in coming, IMSCO, that is.

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USU78, it was obviously the duty of the bishop to inform civil authorities, that the matter would be taken to the law of the land, both as common sense & as the D&C direct.

Intuition is absolutely fine (and even helpful) in some matters, but in others, such as the present, there are established procedural guidelines. If calling them to you attention makes me a "bigot" in your eyes, then that's an acrimoniously-intended epithet i'll most happily accomodate myself to :P .

ys,

BMD.

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It particularly stings we LDS when we find someone within the Church has been so reprehensible as to abuse a child, particularly with our emphasis on home, families and creating a loving, spiritual atmosphere for them to grow and mature. The truly sad thing is that we are now finding out as a society that this type of abuse crosses ALL, repeat ALL, economic, social and religious lines. The Church has taken steps to provide more guidance to bishops and other leaders on their responsibilities in such cases... I will say, however, that no Church -- Mormon or otherwise -- can be responsible for what individual members choose to do in their own homes, including the terrible act of abuse... spousal or child. In addition to providing better guidance to leaders, President Hinckley and the Quorum of the Twelve HAVE made a statement...

"We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God..."

Those of our critics who are now chortling over this "Mormon" comeuppance best be careful of their darts... do they really believe there are not abusers within their own ranks? This is a problem that we ALL should make every effort to address for the sake of the abused. GG

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Dear Mee:

Many many religions have a professional ministry/clergy and that still hasn't prevented the allegations of abuse. Your quip about 19th Century Amatuers is at best a Red-Herring, and at worst an ad-Hominem.

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To depend upon part-time amateurs to attend to parishoners in the 21st century, as they did in the 19th, is unreasonable if not unconscionable when considered in our advancing state of social-emotional hygiene.

And the fact that the ultimate example of "full-time professional" clergy in the RCC having actual clergy involved in examples of child abuse too numerous to count, as well as a "velvet underground" just now being looked at (as far as we know) is not sufficient evidence to make one wonder whether the issue is really professional vs. nonprofessional, part-time vs. full-time?

I myself, with Alma Sr. and Gideon, am suspicious of Nehors.

But I imagine there appeared to be good and sufficient reasons for Nehor, Amlici and the rest to promote professional clergy. It's just that those "good and sufficient reasons" were and are more than counterbalanced by the evils of priestcraft.

No thenkyewverymuch.

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Wholly missing the point, BMD said:

USU78, it was obviously the duty of the bishop to inform civil authorities, that the matter would be taken to the law of the land, both as common sense & as the D&C direct.

Given the history of jurisdictional fights over the right of the state to compel the church and its agents to do x, y or z, I think it unwise to jumpt to such conclusions as "obviously." It wasn't obvious at all. Just because a legislature thinks something is a good idea doesn't mean it is.

Then, missing the point again, BMD said:

Intuition is absolutely fine (and even helpful) in some matters, but in others, such as the present, there are established procedural guidelines. If calling them to you attention makes me a "bigot" in your eyes, then that's an acrimoniously-intended epithet i'll most happily accomodate myself to.

Once again, you imply there are not presently procedural guidelines in place, notwithstanding you should have been disabused of the notion given the substance of prior posts. Do you hold that those posters were lying?

Then there's the implicit slam on gifts of the Spirit in your insistence that they constitute "intuition" and nothing more.

Nobody here has slammed your beliefs.

Please do not slam ours.

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I love it when the "I-was-so-much-more-enlightened-back-then" crowd joins the discussion.

You are absolutely correct! And the reason why THE church must advance to a more "Professional Ministry". Not that that will solve all problems, but it would at least make for a heightened degree of credibility and responsibility.

Actually, I think the lay ministry does just fine. The only need is for additional training and resources and the Bishops now have that. They have 24/7 access to legal/psychological/social counseling. The Church has instituted all kinds of programs to makes its bishops aware of their responsibilities when dealing w/ issues of abuse. That's why the vast majority of the cases you see these days, including this one under discussion, occured pre-1994.

To depend upon part-time amateurs to attend to parishoners in the 21st century, as they did in the 19th, is unreasonable if not unconscionable when considered in our advancing state of social-emotional hygiene.

I'm curious as to what role you think the Bishops should be playing here.

My personal 50+ years of LDS experience, in maaany "callings", has left me with sure knowledge that we have not always been well served by "leaders" attempting to administer out of a hand-book in subject areas they barely understood the terminology of. Or by "leaders" who would "spin" their way around details to avoid and deny the reality of serious offences to escape public ridicule. 

Well gee, there's a revelation: Mormon leaders aren't perfect. Go figure. Never heard that one before. :P

As a verrry-mature student at BYUH, called as ExSec in my Ward, i was privy to goings-on in the area. It was a time of considerable attacks on women and B&Es. At a specially called meeting of municiple (Honolulu) and church officers, i was appalled by church officials not wanting municipal involvement in the remedy! Tax paying citizens were denied the benefit of tax paid for police protection giving way to volunteer street patrols by LDS Vigilante types organized under Stake Leader?ship!! It was a "revelation" that was an "awakening" very "disillusioning" and consequently "enlightening"!

Huh? This makes no sense.

At any rate, here is what annoys me. People who experience abuse go to their bishop and tell him, and then get angry when he counsels forgiveness and love for the offender despite that fact that this is exactly what his calling requires of him.

If the victim wants legal help, go to the cops. If the victim was spiritual help, go to the bishop, but stop mixing the two up as if they are interchangable.

I think this investigation and judgement should be cheered by responsible LDS.

So some moron abuses his kids and my Church is somehow responsible? That's just flat out dumb.

This is not something to lament or attempt to deny, under-rate or find excuses for. It is house-cleaning and a call for institution examination all too long in coming, IMSCO, that is.

But you keep missing the point: the clean was already done. It happened in 1994. Since that time things have changed drastically, and they continue to do so. The Church already recognized the issues and dealt w/ the problems. Such occurances are now relatively rare (though not unheard of).

Your post is just another example of the "I'm-so-much-more-advanced-than-you" mentality of many of our critics.

C.I.

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You are absolutely correct! And the reason why THE church must advance to a more "Professional Ministry". Not that that will solve all problems, but it would at least make for a heightened degree of credibility and responsibility. 
Actually, I think the lay ministry does just fine.

I think it does too. All that really needs to happen is for the law to protect the privacy of the confessor and confessee.

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The thing that really sucks about these situations is if the bishop reports abuse, HE can't press charges. If the victim and witnesses of the abuse refuse to press charges, then nothing happens to the abuser. Until victims have the courage to report the abuse themselves, this crap will continue. What about their mothers that knew about the abuse for years? Are they going to be sued too? Oh that's right. The mothers don't usually have millions of dollars, so let's sue the church even though the mothers have the greatest ability to get their children out of the situation in the first place. :P

In our Primary, we have two people teaching the classes now - usually husbands and wives. No one is allowed to teach the children alone anymore. Is this just our ward, or is this going on throughout the church now?

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In the Bishops defense (assuming the story we got is correct and not simply the representations of one side) to him, the notion of a father sexually abusing his kids may have been quite foreign and utterly unfathomable.

Well thank goodness something can give this Bishop a deep sigh of relief. We too can all breathe easy now that CI has explained a perfect scenario where we might all identify with the 'every-body's human' actions of the Bishop (not wanting to act on "quite foreign and utterly unfathomable" things).

I find it unfathomable that your primary concern here is in what ways the Bishop's actions (inaction) can be adequately explained. Should we also attempt an adequate explanation for the actions of the abusive father? If I had personal knowledge or even suspicion of ongoing child sexual abuse and reasoned myself into doing nothing...oh what a heavy, guilt ridden burden that would be (and for good reason).

The adult portion of society that rationalizes or attempts to minimize the repulsive actions of child sexual abusers with psycho-babble and 'nurture the criminal' type of concerns is truly a strong ally to pedophiles and child molesters everywhere.

Ditto for the adult portion of society that rationalizes and defends inaction, where action is always (even the slightest) warranted. Law abiding adults who convince themselves that actions to protect children from their sexual abusers are just too complicated or difficult are literally in alliance with the sexual abusers themselves. Responsible adults are usually a fearful child's only hope. Maybe society in general will understand this in another couple of generations. :P

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In our Primary, we have two people teaching the classes now - usually husbands and wives. No one is allowed to teach the children alone anymore. Is this just our ward, or is this going on throughout the church now?

Same thing in my ward.

A brief aside: Some 20 years ago a friend of mine was bishop of a Salt Lake City ward that had a lot of "transient members" coming and going. With one fellow's membership paperwork came a report of his serial pedophilia. They kept the matter quiet, as they should, as the man had "done his time" in prison. They also took the extraordinary step of having a member assigned to "shadow" this particular man whenever he left a classroom or the chapel, to ensure he had no opportunity to be alone with children. Only the bishopric knew why, as the assigned "shadow" was never informed the reason for his assignment. He probably had a good idea, however.

What a horrible thing that we must take such extraordinary measures when our individual duties are so very clear.

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