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pogi

Another Bishop and Sexual Misconduct

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Calm said:

I got the impression it was any sin, including serious sexual ones, except perhaps for criminal ones.

I was just going from memory.  But I agree about criminal ones.  I thought it was just an objection to flagging a member’s file because they were gay.

Either way, I believe anyone convicted of sexual abuse should have that in their file so they are never put in positions of authority over or where they are alone with youth or children.  

Edited by JulieM
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7 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Van Wagenen was sentenced by the same judge (Bernards-Goodman) for a different set of crimes in two counties, and he had made a plea deal to avoid an even harsher sentence.  There is no comparison between Head's third degree felony and misdemeanor and Van Wagenen's first degree felony (after the plea agreement).

I have recognized that there is no comparison between the charges and convictions.  They are clearly very different - which is why I feel like there is an injustice. 

If the victim was 13 instead of 16, Head would have been charged with the same first degree felony charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child.  Whether or not he would have been convicted is a different story, I recognize that too.  That, to me, needs to be re-calibrated in our justice system.  The fact that the aggravated charge is not applicable once the child turns 14 is wrong. 

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7 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Do you know if further discipline was exacted by the Church? How would you know if it had? In some of the reports excommunication was mentioned as a result. I have participated in a number of disciplinary councils, but the results have never been made public. 

One such event is one too many. 

I guess that is a reason I don't see that bishops are ex'd if it's that confidential. In the old days they would announce members that were excommunicated, maybe it's just those that were apostate. 

I know I didn't answer your CFR as well as I would have liked, but I'm very willing to say if I'm wrong, and maybe I was wrong to assume so much. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

I guess that is a reason I don't see that bishops are ex'd if it's that confidential. In the old days they would announce members that were excommunicated, maybe it's just those that were apostate. 

I know I didn't answer your CFR as well as I would have liked, but I'm very willing to say if I'm wrong, and maybe I was wrong to assume so much. 

The announcement of excommunication was made in Priesthood meeting. It did not specify the reason other than apostasy or un-Christian conduct. I can’t recall for sure if it included disfellowship but I think it did. It was discontinued for privacy concerns. The last I remember was in the early ‘80s.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, JulieM said:

If someone is a convicted sex abuser, I think their file should contain that information.  Iirc, the discussion was about flagging gay member’s files and that’s a different thing entirely, imo.

Would you want a convicted child abuser to ever be alone with your child or grandchild?  

We have talked about disciplinary actions being retained on membership records, too. I was responding to this from Tacenda....

Quote

Also, I need to share that Sam Young's project of protecting children from bishop's one on one interviews stands solid, sadly the church ex'd the guy, but I wonder how many bishops etc. are ex'd? Nope, they are given another chance for repentence usually, which can be done in jail, honestly. And Sam was a bishop, but he went against the church. I think the children are more important than the church here. Maybe that's considered a strawman. But I believe the church's past history seems to forget the innocent sometimes. 

How would I know if a person was a convicted abuser? Public shaming in testimony meetings?  Spousal or parental abuse, too? Serial adultery? Violent criminal activity? I have already commented here that some things we do may preclude future Church service. That was met with criticism. 

It’s a horrible situation with no easy solutions.

Edited by Bernard Gui

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

We have talked about disciplinary actions being retained on membership records, too. I was responding to this from Tacenda....

How would I know if a person was a convicted abuser? Public shaming in testimony meetings?  Spousal or parental abuse, too? Serial adultery? Violent criminal activity? I have already commented here that some things we do may preclude future Church service. That was met with criticism. 

It’s a horrible situation with no easy solutions.

You didn’t answer my question though.

Would you want a convicted child abuser to ever be alone with your child or grandchild? (Especially in a position of power or authority.)

Edited by JulieM

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, JulieM said:

You didn’t answer my question though.

Would you want a convicted child abuser to ever be alone with your child or grandchild?

This was discussed to some extent on the divorced bishops thread. Is complete repentance and change of heart possible—for this sin? I consider myself a charitable person who believes in redemption, but there may be actions that preclude future service, not because we don’t believe in forgiveness, but that in this life total healing may not be possible.

edit....this is what I said...

Quote

The Lord forgets our sins, but we struggling mortals may not. There are some serious things we might do that would require deep and sincere repentance, but even with that we may have to forego certain things here on the imperfect earth; however, in the Spirit world where we will see things clearly and not through a dark glass, perhaps we will truly understand and accept the mercy of God and receive all the promised blessings. We need look no further than the mess Brother Bishop is in.  

 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

This was discussed to some extent on the divorced bishops thread. Is complete repentance and change of heart possible—for this sin? I consider myself a charitable person who believes in redemption, but there may be actions that preclude future service, not because we don’t believe in forgiveness, but that in this life total healing may not be possible.

edit....this is what I said...

 

Ok.  You still did not answer my question though.  Do you not want to?

Here it is again:

Would you want a convicted child abuser to ever be alone with your child or grandchild?  (Especially in a position of power or authority.)

One can be charitable and still not want a child or youth (or others) to be alone with a convicted sex abuser, IMO.  Do you disagree?

Edited by JulieM

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, JulieM said:

Ok.  You still did not answer my question though.  Do you not want to?

Here it is again:

Would you want a convicted child abuser to ever be alone with your child or grandchild?  (Especially in a position of power or authority.)

One can be charitable and still not want a child or youth (or others) to be alone with a convicted sex abuser, IMO.  Do you disagree?

I agreed twice already. There are sinful actions that preclude future service opportunities regardless of sincere and complete repentance. Flagging membership records (objected to by some here) is one step in  prevention, but even that is not infallible. 

Is it possible for a convicted child abuser to have a complete change of heart and character? Even so, such an one should not be in a position working with children.  How do you propose finding out if your child's Primary teacher is a convicted abuser? Or actively abusing but undiscovered?

It’s a horrible situation, but there are no easy solutions.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, JulieM said:

Ok.  You still did not answer my question though.  Do you not want to?

Here it is again:

Would you want a convicted child abuser to ever be alone with your child or grandchild?  (Especially in a position of power or authority.)

One can be charitable and still not want a child or youth (or others) to be alone with a convicted sex abuser, IMO.  Do you disagree?

 

Judging and Not Judging

Dallin H. Oaks, 1998

"The scriptures give a specific caution against judging where we cannot know all the facts. King Benjamin taught:

Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. . . .

And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance. [Mosiah 4:17–18, 22]

There is one qualification to this principle that we should not judge people without an adequate knowledge of the facts. Sometimes urgent circumstances require us to make preliminary judgments before we can get all of the facts we desire for our decision making.

From time to time some diligent defenders deny this reality, such as the writer of a letter to the editor who insisted that certain publicly reported conduct should be ignored because “in this country you are innocent until you are proven guilty.” The presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law is a vital rule to guide the conduct of a criminal trial, but it is not a valid restraint on personal decisions. There are important restraints upon our intermediate judgments, but the presumption of innocence is not one of them.

Some personal decisions must be made before we have access to all of the facts. Two hypotheticals illustrate this principle:

1. If a particular person has been arrested for child sexual abuse and is free on bail awaiting trial on his guilt or innocence, will you trust him to tend your children while you take a weekend trip?

2. If a person you have trusted with your property has been indicted for embezzlement, would you continue to leave him in charge of your life savings?

In such circumstances we do the best we can, relying ultimately on the teaching in modern scripture that we should put our “trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously” (D&C 11:12)."

Edited by provoman
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3 hours ago, pogi said:

I have recognized that there is no comparison between the charges and convictions.  They are clearly very different - which is why I feel like there is an injustice. 

If the victim was 13 instead of 16, Head would have been charged with the same first degree felony charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child.  Whether or not he would have been convicted is a different story, I recognize that too.  That, to me, needs to be re-calibrated in our justice system.  The fact that the aggravated charge is not applicable once the child turns 14 is wrong. 

Our justice system has many inequities and problems.  That's for sure.  I have spent many years in the courts watching what goes on with great interest and some frustration.  And I have known some brilliant and creative judges who have tried to bring order and fairness to the chaos, but there are limits to what can be done.  Why?  Because the Law itself (capital L) often stands in the way.  No one really likes the system, and no one really likes the rules, but we have what we have -- dang it.

And just to make the system workable, one has to reach plea agreements in most criminal cases, and settlements in most civil cases.  Trials are only a last resort, and they can be very expensive and time-consuming.

Our society is far too litigious, and our notion of crime and punishment has led us to be the one country in the world which incarcerates more people per capita than any other country.  Even totalitarian regimes do not incarcerate as many as we do.  Is there something wrong with that picture?  Can we really afford to be that stupid -- to no purpose?

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Yet on this board, lots of folks are lambasting the Church for keeping records of such things. Which shall it be?

Who is "lambasting the Church for keeping records" of documented convicted sex abusers?  Can you post a link to where "folks" here are doing that?

I'd be shocked to see anyone advocating for no record keeping regarding any who have been convicted of sexual abuse or who are registered sex offenders.  This protects the church from liability and also hopefully protects any others from suffering abuse. 

Edited by ALarson
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ALarson said:

Who is "lambasting the Church for keeping records" of documented convicted sex abusers?  Can you post a link to where "folks" here are doing that?

I'd be shocked to see anyone advocating for no record keeping regarding any who have been convicted of sexual abuse or who are registered sex offenders.  This protects the church from liability and also hopefully protects any others from suffering abuse. 

It was part of the discussion in the thread on divorced bishops. I don't recall whether it included complaining about keeping records on sex offenders, but after reviewing the discussions, looks like I was wrong. I misinterpreted some comments that resulted from a sarcastic remark. I retract the comment that some here have lambasted the Church for annotating records for abuse.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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6 hours ago, USU78 said:

I agree. Not flagging files of homosexuals guilty of serious sexual sin would be a gross injustice. There is or should be no difference.

Not flagging files of anyone, heterosexual, asexual, or LGBT+ guilty of serious sin would be problematic imo because serious sin impacts other people in very negative ways and if such sin is unresolved and unaddressed or ignored, there may future victims where if the bishop encourages the individual to focus on repentance harming others may be avoided.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, pogi said:

I have recognized that there is no comparison between the charges and convictions.  They are clearly very different - which is why I feel like there is an injustice. 

If the victim was 13 instead of 16, Head would have been charged with the same first degree felony charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child.  Whether or not he would have been convicted is a different story, I recognize that too.  That, to me, needs to be re-calibrated in our justice system.  The fact that the aggravated charge is not applicable once the child turns 14 is wrong. 

The age difference seems to me to be putting some of the responsibility of the crime on the victim, implying the crime isn't as bad because being older means they could have stopped it if they wanted to (similar though not as bad to the biblical condition of rape being different in the town or the countryside where it was assumed if the woman wasn't heard screaming in the town, it was consensual).

But the reasoning for the change could be simply because lawmakers are more grossed out by the idea of someone abusing a prepubescent child as opposed to a postpubescent one.

Edited by Calm
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, JulieM said:

Ok.  You still did not answer my question though.  Do you not want to?

Here it is again:

Would you want a convicted child abuser to ever be alone with your child or grandchild?  (Especially in a position of power or authority.)

One can be charitable and still not want a child or youth (or others) to be alone with a convicted sex abuser, IMO.  Do you disagree?

Would you want your child to ever be alone with with an un-convicted child abuser? You know there are more of them out there than convicted child abusers.  Many (at least 25% of them according to the Boy Scout Youth protection thing that I just watched) are minors themselves. At least with the convicted ones, we know to watch them closer.

I think the solution involves educating our children on how to interact with other. What the boundaries are and when they are crossed. 

This is much more complicated and difficult than the very easy "shun the sinner" mentality.  

We have a convicted child abuser that attends church with us, often sitting in the same row as us.  His son asked our daughter out the winter formal.  The guy doesn't have any callings (He isn't even a member) , but since he has youth that are active it is next to impossible to completely shun him without shunning his family as well.  

We told our children to watch him, but we stressed how it much more important to watch the out for the other people out there who haven't been caught or haven't done anything yet.  Watch for lines being crossed, personalities to watch out for and keep us in the loop on what happens.   It's the guy you aren't watching out for that is going to get you. 

It doesn't end when you turn 18 either, plenty of abuse happens between adults. 

 

Edited by Danzo
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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, Danzo said:

Would you want your child to ever be alone with with an un-convicted child abuser?

The discussion was about making a note or flagging a member's record who is a convicted sex offender.

Your question is ridiculous because of course no one would ever want their child to be alone with a child abuser (convicted or "un-convicted").   It's also not likely an "un-convicted" child abuser's file would be flagged unless there was another way to know they were a danger

But this is why many parents are now attending interviews with their child/youth (at least in my ward and area).  We simply do not know who may be a threat or danger as cases such as this one being discussion reveals.   That's a very positive step, IMO.  This also protects the adult leader from any false accusations or insinuations about impropriety that can happen too if it's just their word against another's (and if they are alone behind closed doors with that person.)

Edited by ALarson
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23 minutes ago, Danzo said:

We have a convicted child abuser that attends church with us, often sitting in the same row as us.  His son asked our daughter out the winter formal.  The guy doesn't have any callings (He isn't even a member) , but since he has youth that are active it is next to impossible to completely shun him without shunning his family as well.  

We told our children to watch him, but we stressed how it much more important to watch the out for the other people out there who haven't been caught or haven't done anything yet.  Watch for lines being crossed, personalities to watch out for and keep us in the loop on what happens.   It's the guy you aren't watching out for that is going to get you. 

It doesn't end when you turn 18 either, plenty of abuse happens between adults. 

True and good advice for your kids 👍

 

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6 minutes ago, ALarson said:

The discussion was about making a note or flagging a member's record who is a convicted sex offender.

Your question is ridiculous because of course no one would ever want their child to be alone with a child abuser (convicted or "un-convicted").   It's also not likely an "un-convicted" child abuser's file would be flagged unless there was another way to know they were a danger

But this is why many parents are now attending interviews with their child/youth (at least in my ward and area).  A very positive step, IMO.

How many people will know if a record is flagged? Should there be a list in the foyer? 

When the person who was convicted of Child abuse started attending our ward, the bishop held a meeting of the parents to talk about it, so many in our ward know that way, but it's been a couple of years now and the people move in.  

In the end people are going to get comfortable around this guy and (some of them) will forget, or weren't in attendance when it was announced, or moved in later or were asleep.  How do you keep everyone informed? 

 

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12 minutes ago, ALarson said:

But this is why many parents are now attending interviews with their child/youth (at least in my ward and area).  A very positive step, IMO.

I think this can be a good thing with the younger children.

With the older youth, there are often things that youth wish to discuss with a bishop that they won't with their parents around (I know there was for me). 

This becomes even more important when a youth wishes to talk about abuse  that happened to them (as with someone I know very well).

I think there should always be a way for a youth to talk confidentially with a priesthood leader when they want to.

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Parents attending a Bishop interview with the child is all well and good until the abuser is one of the parents. IIRC abuse by a parent is more common than abuse by a Bishop. Then what?

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Danzo said:

How many people will know if a record is flagged? Should there be a list in the foyer? 

The leaders know and will not call them to callings of leadership over children/youth.  That's the point and I support this being done.

There's nothing that will 100% prevent sexual abuse, I agree.

Edited by ALarson
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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Danzo said:

I think this can be a good thing with the younger children.

With the older youth, there are often things that youth wish to discuss with a bishop that they won't with their parents around (I know there was for me). 

This becomes even more important when a youth wishes to talk about abuse  that happened to them (as with someone I know very well).

I think there should always be a way for a youth to talk confidentially with a priesthood leader when they want to.

It's a tough topic and there are no easy answers.  But my Bishop has had incredibly positive experiences with having a parent attend interviews.  He's also found that it has opened up communication between the child/youth and their parents.

But I agree there is no solution that does not have its drawbacks.

I do believe we will get to the point though (because of cases being publicized like this one), where there will not be the regular youth interviews without there being more than one adult present with kids alone behind closed doors.  Just my opinion....but I see it headed in that direction.

Edited by ALarson
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3 minutes ago, strappinglad said:

Parents attending a Bishop interview with the child is all well and good until the abuser is one of the parents. IIRC abuse by a parent is more common than abuse by a Bishop. Then what?

Its not just the parent being the abuser that could cause a child to be uncomfortable having the parent in the interview.  A brother, sister, aunt, uncle or cousin is very commonly the abuser (much more common than a bishop).

Most children would feel very uncomfortable with their parents in the room in those situations as well. 

Youth confessing serious sin may also feel uncomfortable with parents in the room.

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2 minutes ago, ALarson said:

It's a tough topic and there are no easy answers.  But my Bishop has had incredibly positive experiences with having a parent attend interviews.  He's also found that it has opened up communication between the child/youth and their parents.

But I agree there is no solution that does not have its drawbacks.

I do believe we will get to the point though (because of cases being publicized like this one), where there will not be the regular youth interviews without there being more than one adult present with kids alone behind closed doors.  Just my opinion....but I see it headed in that direction.

It may get that way, but I feel more will be lost than gained. 

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