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Abulafia

Mormon Leaks document on handling Child Abuse

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Just putting this in a separate thread to the Denson one. 

I haven't read it properly yet, but felt it needed it's own thread.

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6 hours ago, Abulafia said:

Just putting this in a separate thread to the Denson one. 

I haven't read it properly yet, but felt it needed it's own thread.

I'm assuming you are referring to these:

https://kutv.com/news/local/mormonleaks-leaked-document-sheds-light-on-lds-churchs-handling-of-seven-sex-abuse-cases

I'm reading through them now....

Here's a quote from the article:

Quote

 

The website MormonLeaks obtained a formerly confidential document that shows how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in 2012, handled allegations of sexual assault against missionaries and one stake president.

Ryan McKnight, founder of MormonLeaks, a website that often publishes documents leaked by people who want to remain anonymous, said the person who leaked the document to him is someone whose credibility is “beyond reproach.”

The document is titled Special Investigations and Projects. Kirton McKonkie, the name of a Utah law firm, appears in the heading.

 

 

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Here is a link to the release and here is a link  to local news coverage in Utah.  This seems to be reports from only 1 week in October 2012 so it's far from comprehensive in the details.  However this small snapshot seems to indicate a priority of protecting the church's image rather than the victims. Not a great image when you just excommunicated Sam Young for his Protect LDS Children advocacy. 

 

Phaedrus 

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10 minutes ago, phaedrus ut said:

Here is a link to the release and here is a link  to local news coverage in Utah.  This seems to be reports from only 1 week in October 2012 so it's far from comprehensive in the details.  However this small snapshot seems to indicate a priority of protecting the church's image rather than the victims. Not a great image when you just excommunicated Sam Young for his Protect LDS Children advocacy. 

 

Phaedrus 

it's for sure that Sam Young got exed?

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29 minutes ago, phaedrus ut said:

Here is a link to the release and here is a link  to local news coverage in Utah.  This seems to be reports from only 1 week in October 2012 so it's far from comprehensive in the details.  However this small snapshot seems to indicate a priority of protecting the church's image rather than the victims. Not a great image when you just excommunicated Sam Young for his Protect LDS Children advocacy. 

I tend to agree and wonder if there will be other leaks from this same person, since this is just a view of 1 week's cases.  Whoever leaked it is described as "someone whose credibility is 'beyond reproach'”.  Maybe he works at Kirton McConkie and still has access to more documents?  

ETA:

But on second thought, if he still worked there, wouldn't the document be more current?

Edited by ALarson

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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Here's a news story about it. https://kutv.com/news/local/mormonleaks-leaked-document-sheds-light-on-lds-churchs-handling-of-seven-sex-abuse-cases

The doc can be seen here. https://mormonleaks.io/wiki/index.php?title=File:2012-10-31-Special_Investigations_and_Products-Kirton_McConkie.pdf  but I haven't had time to look at it yet.

If true, the transferring of accused missionaries to different places, or simply sending them home strikes me as similar to how the catholic church moved priests around after accusations arose.

Wrong. Sending a missionary home entails his/her release from their calling. The only other discipline the Church has is disfellowshipping or excommunication, although apparently things like community service can be suggested instead if an accused is agreeable. In one case however, the DI said the accused could not perform the suggested community service with them. Nevertheless, the alleged offender would no longer be placed in the position of teaching minors. This is vastly different from the practice of the Catholic Church in moving priests around to continue to act in their full capacity as priests with authority over minor members of the Catholic Church.

I didn't see any recommendation of sending an accused LDS missionary to another mission. There were only two pages, but maybe I missed something. However, it does seem that the law firm is concerned with dealing with these cases with the least PR issues, which seems only natural for any organization. 

Edited by RevTestament
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3 minutes ago, phaedrus ut said:

To quote the document

So the missionary department doesn't want to send a Elder home because he faces a felony for unlawful sexual acts and the Stake President would have a duty to report because of the laws of that state.  Yet the missionary has also been practicing the same behavior in the mission field. Again this Elder is touching 15 year old girls in the mission field but the "missionary department" of the church is reluctant to send him home because he faces felony charges because of his sexual behavior with a different 15 year old girl.  I can reasonably infer there is a lack of concern for the current and future victims. 

Phaedrus

Yes, that one is the most troubling one (they all are, of course....but this one was mishandled, IMO).  Send the missionary home to face the consequences of his actions, don't leave him in the field where he may repeat his abuse on other young girls.  Of course, there may be more to the story and maybe he was sent home after this document was written.

Edited by ALarson
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56 minutes ago, Duncan said:

it's for sure that Sam Young got exed?

In discussing this story Sam said the church was "Kicking me out for standing up for the children". I was basing my statement on his words but it may not be official yet. 

Phaedrus

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Also, I expect the Church to scramble to incorporate massive changes to approaching handling each potential case.  One issue is, the Church is scrambling to repair something they knew was an issue for years and their approach is rather disgusting to the majority of the western world.  To try to run this all back is going to look disingenuous as if the Church wouldn't have changed the approach if they didn't get caught.

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Just now, phaedrus ut said:

To quote the document

Quote

"The missionary department is reluctant to send this Elder home to XXXX where he may face prosecution for a felony. His conduct is clearly unlawful in XXXX, and his Stake President would also have a duty to report. The Elder also recently confessed to kissing and some touching with a 15 year old girl in the mission field" 

To further quote the document: "Elder ___________ confessed to sexting with a 15 year old girl in _____________ prior to his mission.  The girl sent him nude photos."

So the misconduct likely involved two minors.  But no physical abuse or contact is alleged.  And we don't know the jurisdiction in question, or what the punishment he faces.  Moreover, all we have reported here is reluctance by the Missionary Department, but no actual decision on how to proceed - except that the law firm unequivocally states that "{i}t is clear that the Elder needs to go home."

Just now, phaedrus ut said:

So the missionary department doesn't want to send a Elder home because he faces a felony for unlawful sexual acts and the Stake President would have a duty to report because of the laws of that state. 

We don't know if the elder was from the U.S.

Just now, phaedrus ut said:

Yet the missionary has also been practicing the same behavior in the mission field. Again this Elder is touching 15 year old girls in the mission field but the "missionary department" of the church is reluctant to send him home because he faces felony charges because of his sexual behavior with a different 15 year old girl. 

And again, the law firm unequivocally states that "{i}t is clear that the Elder needs to go home."

Just now, phaedrus ut said:

I can reasonably infer there is a lack of concern for the current and future victims. 

Phaedrus

No, I don't think you can.  All we have here is a few words made prior to any decision as to what needs to happen, coupled with an unequivocal statement that "what needs to happen" is for the elder to return home.

Again, a law firm spreadsheet is not likely to go into detail about the counseling / pastoral care of the victim.  That's not really the lawyer's bailiwick.

Thanks,

-Smac

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9 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Yes, that one is the most troubling one (they all are, of course....but this one was mishandled, IMO). 

How was this one mishandled?

9 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Send the missionary home to face the consequences of his actions, don't leave him in the field where he may repeat his abuse on other young girls. 

From the document: "It is clear that the Elder needs to go home."

9 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Of course, there may be more to the story and maybe he was sent home after this document was written.

"The story" given in the document is 91 words long, four of which are redacted.  And yet your assessment is that there "may be more to the story?"

Thanks,

-Smac

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7 minutes ago, smac97 said:

To further quote the document: "Elder ___________ confessed to sexting with a 15 year old girl in _____________ prior to his mission.  The girl sent him nude photos."

So the misconduct likely involved two minors.  But no physical abuse or contact is alleged.  And we don't know the jurisdiction in question, or what the punishment he faces.  Moreover, all we have reported here is reluctance by the Missionary Department, but no actual decision on how to proceed - except that the law firm unequivocally states that "{i}t is clear that the Elder needs to go home."

-Smac

If the conduct involved two minors why would be facing felony charges when returning home? 

Quote

And again, the law firm unequivocally states that "{i}t is clear that the Elder needs to go home."

Yes the law firm holds the opinion the missionary needs to return home but it's the actual church that is reluctant to do so.  Should Kirton McConkie really need to be the moral voice is such matters? 

 

Phaedrus

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15 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

Clearly this spreadsheet is about KM's investigations and legal recommendations, but the ecclesiastical response seems to be wrapped up in it as well, as most of the cases mention how things were handled by church leaders. 

Not in any meaningful sense.  

15 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

Interesting that in one case the missionary department was reluctant to send a missionary home, where he would face prosecution, but KM says he should be sent home.

I suppose.  This strikes me as an interim note.  No decision had been made at the time the document was generated, but it was headed toward sending the elder home.

15 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

Wouldn't he be going home, eventually, anyway? Would a stake president be required to report the abuse at that time?

The conduct (both prior to and during his missionary service) seems to disqualify him from continued service as a missionary.  Moreover, legal constraints must be observed.

15 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

What's depressing is the case of the missionary who sexually abused an 8-year-old. No disciplinary action was taken, and it appears no legal action was taken, either.

The document doesn't say that.  It says: "Elder ____________ accused of sexually abusing 8-year-old __________."

Surely you appreciate and respect the difference between an accusation and a determination of guilt?

Or is an accusation alone sufficient to condemn, in your view?

15 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I wonder what they were thinking.

Perhaps they had access to information that we do not.  Perhaps they acted in accordance with that information.

You are making hostile guesses and inferences based almost entirely on ignorance of the situation.  

15 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

This is pretty much what happened with a relative of my wife's, who was known for years by church leaders to be a child molester, yet each time he was caught (heaven knows how many times he wasn't), church leaders took no action and didn't report it to the police, leaving him free to continue to abuse children. He pretty much kept it up until the end of his life. 

Sorry, not buying this.  We can't say "what happened" with this issue.  We don't know.  We are ignorant of the facts.

Thanks,

-Smac

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Protect the name of the church. All else is secondary.

Why can't the church simply do the right thing and turn these abusers over to the authorities? The bad P.R. from finding out about a cover-up is always worse than the momentary P.R. hit if the organization simply came clean. Also, in cases like these I think the public would understand the occasional bad apple and if the barrell is suffering from rot, the public would welcome a clean-up instead of a cover-up. However, cover-ups work all too often and I predict more of the same from the church.

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7 minutes ago, smac97 said:

How was this one mishandled?

From the document: "It is clear that the Elder needs to go home."

"The story" given in the document is 91 words long, four of which are redacted.  And yet your assessment is that there "may be more to the story?"

Thanks,

-Smac

I hear you saying that we really don't have enough info from this leak to make a conclusion about whether or not the church handled this well/correctly. Am I reading you right?

If that's the case, at what point does the church have a responsibility to address these issues to the membership? Do they have a responsibility to church membership to explain the process and the decision for how these cases were handled? It's possible they could be exonerated, but it's also possible they could be seen as mishandling abuse accusations. Is there a point at which you would expect to have it addressed by the church in greater detail or are you comfortable with the "we don't know enough to judge" approach indefinitely?

It seems they could address without breaking confidences or naming names.

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2 minutes ago, phaedrus ut said:

If the conduct involved two minors why would be facing felony charges when returning home? 

Laws vary from state to state.  Production of child pornography, however, is criminalized pretty much everywhere.  So is possessing it.  So the missionary could face a felony for having received the images of the nude 15-year old girl, and the girl could face felony charges for taking and sending the photos.

2 minutes ago, phaedrus ut said:

Yes the law firm holds the opinion the missionary needs to return home but it's the actual church that is reluctant to do so. 

It's one person or a handful of persons in the Missionary Department that is reluctant.  And the reluctance is understandable.  If this elder were your son, wouldn't you be a bit reluctant in coming clean?  Particularly if coming clean meant implicating a 15-year old girl for her felony?

2 minutes ago, phaedrus ut said:

Should Kirton McConkie really need to be the moral voice is such matters? 

KM is the legal voice.  But neither KM nor the Missionary Department would, I think, have had the final say.

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 minute ago, Exiled said:

Protect the name of the church. All else is secondary.

Why can't the church simply do the right thing and turn these abusers over to the authorities? The bad P.R. from finding out about a cover-up is always worse than the momentary P.R. hit if the organization simply came clean. Also, in cases like these I think the public would understand the occasional bad apple and if the barrell is suffering from rot, the public would welcome a clean-up instead of a cover-up. However, cover-ups work all too often and I predict more of the same from the church.

The image of the church is everything.  This is God's institution after all.  The justification for protecting this image at all costs is part of the theology.  You should be willing to lose your life for the cause.  Temple rituals reinforce this value.  If people are willing to lose their life to uphold the cause of "righteousness" then they will be willing to lie, cheat, cover-up, whatever it takes, to support the church.  

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1 hour ago, ALarson said:

I tend to agree and wonder if there will be other leaks from this same person, since this is just a view of 1 week's cases.  Whoever leaked it is described as "someone whose credibility is 'beyond reproach'”.  Maybe he works at Kirton McConkie and still has access to more documents?  

ETA:

But on second thought, if he still worked there, wouldn't the document be more current?

It is almost too laughable to label an individual with credibility "beyond reproach" stealing documents that are clearly marked confidential and not for the public.  Really, to repeat it is got me rolling on the floor.

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1 minute ago, smac97 said:

Not in any meaningful sense.  

I suppose.  This strikes me as an interim note.  No decision had been made at the time the document was generated, but it was headed toward sending the elder home.

The conduct (both prior to and during his missionary service) seems to disqualify him from continued service as a missionary.  Moreover, legal constraints must be observed.

The document doesn't say that.  It says: "Elder ____________ accused of sexually abusing 8-year-old __________."

Surely you appreciate and respect the difference between an accusation and a determination of guilt?

Or is an accusation alone sufficient to condemn, in your view?

Given that the church says there was a "victim," it's reasonable to assume that the abuse happened, as victims don't just show up out of thin air. And who is condemning? 

Quote

 

Perhaps they had access to information that we do not.  Perhaps they acted in accordance with that information.

You are making hostile guesses and inferences based almost entirely on ignorance of the situation.  

Sorry, not buying this.  We can't say "what happened" with this issue.  We don't know.  We are ignorant of the facts.

 

Hostile? I'm just going by what the document says: there was an accusation and a victim, and no disciplinary action was taken, and it apparently wasn't reported to law enforcement. Is there some reason that an accusation of abuse shouldn't be at least reported to law enforcement? I would think that's standard procedure. Maybe not.

But I agree with you: these are brief notes and difficult to ascertain anything of substance. I could well be wrong, but what I said seems to be a reasonable assumption, given what's in the spreadsheet. And does it strike anyone else as sad that this is only slightly more than 2 months' worth of reporting? Yikes.

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5 minutes ago, smac97 said:

The document doesn't say that.  It says: "Elder ____________ accused of sexually abusing 8-year-old __________."

Surely you appreciate and respect the difference between an accusation and a determination of guilt?

Or is an accusation alone sufficient to condemn, in your view?

Well, he was sent home because of it.  So I'd imagine there was some pretty strong evidence that there was abuse.  They also state that they (church leaders) are working with the "victim's family".

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