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Maybe someone has already mentioned this, but wouldn’t a bishop and/or stake president excommunicate a person who confessed serious sins like this? Part of the repentance process is to make amends. One condition of repentance could be to submit voluntarily to legal authorities. Refusal to do so would result in loss of membership..

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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

Maybe someone has already mentioned this, but wouldn’t a bishop and/or stake president excommunicate a person who confessed serious sins like this? Part of the repentance process is to make amends. One condition of repentance could be to submit voluntarily to legal authorities. Refusal to do so would result in loss of membership..

😍No...they only excommunicate those that are trying to stop this.

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13 hours ago, Calm said:

I really hope people don’t start reporting just because kids act up and feelings. 

That's the other extreme, and it's just as bad. The CPS genie is really hard to put back into the bottle, once it's unleashed. 

I don't think many people want leaders to be mandatory reporters who have to report the slightest of concerns. I think what many are specifically talking about are cases when there are unambiguous confessions about clear-cut sexual abuse.

1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

Maybe someone has already mentioned this, but wouldn’t a bishop and/or stake president excommunicate a person who confessed serious sins like this? Part of the repentance process is to make amends. One condition of repentance could be to submit voluntarily to legal authorities. Refusal to do so would result in loss of membership..

Formal discipline goes without saying (or it should. Some stakes don't do formal discipline on principle. We had a brother leave his wife to have an affair with his 1st cousin. After the divorce, his stake president specifically said that they don't excommunicate or disfellowship in their stake, no matter what). I would say even where there is full cooperation with the legal system, excommunication should be a given. And once that happens, you're looking at decades and multiple applications to the First Presidency over those decades before rebaptism is authorized, even under the best of repentane/progress. The legal and ecclesiastical consequences of sexual abuse are every bit as serious as Jesus' rhetoric about millstones. 

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5 minutes ago, Jeanne said:

Sam Young

Be fair, Jeanne. Sam Young has nothing to do with what we're talking about here. He was being a gadfly agitator against youth interviews, not confidentiality for confessed sex offenders. Apples and lug nut wrenches . . . 

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For me, if I were a bishop and someone confessed sexual child abuse, I'd call the child abuse hotline and report. I'd lie that I did it, God would forgive me. That way they can keep having the law of the priest penitent privilege. It's time to fight for the child not the adult. ETA: I'm sure the law would hopefully take it case by case as well. Someone in my former neighborhood raped his adopted sister, they used rape, but it was a relationship. He was on his mission and confessed. The law was lenient and eventually he was released. I think the reason being, is because he was also adopted and was severely sexually abused in his early childhood years by his natural parents and didn't get the kind of counseling needed. So definitely take things case by case. The turd we're discussing was the lowest of the low. A six week child? How far will one go. Selling photos of raping your own child. Yes, I'd report if I were a bishop, no matter what. 

Edited by Tacenda
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22 hours ago, Vanguard said:

Fair enough. Thanks for elaborating. I still can't get beyond the notion this privilege affords the perpetrator a potential 'get out of jail free' card. As long as he follows the prescription the bishop lays out (short of confessing to legal authority), he can eventually work his way back into the gospel's good graces all the while running a real risk of re-offending. Or - absent a legal authority confession - will he always be prevented from having full privileges reinstated? And what of the victim? Where is any chance of reparative therapy if all actions the bishop recommends comes with the caveat 'as long as the perpetrator is not incriminated'? It seems to place the privilege of the perpetrator above the potentially desperate needs of the young, mentally compromised, or senior victim.

I think you come to the point.  Privileges can be a 'potential get out of jail free card'.

The Fifth amendment right to not be forced to testify against yourself is also a  'potential get out of jail free card'.

The fourth amendment right to not be arbitrarily searched or arrested is also a  'potential get out of jail free card'.

The right to an attorney, writ of habeas corpus,  Trial by jury, right to appeal, confront your accusers,  etc are all  'potential get out of jail free cards'

These and other rights have all been used to let guilty people go unpunished.  Our legal system seems to be designed to all guilty men to go free all of the time.  It would be so much easier if there weren't all of these obstacles that get in the way of criminal prosecution. 

How many protections do we need ?

 

Edited by Danzo
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42 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

It's time to fight for the child not the adult. 

I don’t see it as simply fighting for the adult to protect the priest-penitent privilege.  Many victims are only found when their abuser confesses. If abusers stop confessing, these victims won’t be found as early or possibly at all. 

Unfortunately there is the necessity of confidentiality that is attached to the penitent’s privilege to make it work, which means sometimes even ‘found victims’ won’t  get help (this happens even when police are called in so no solution currently available is that great imo), but it appears (if the research Hamba found is accurate) there are still more that will be helped using the privilege than abolishing it.

I don’t think the bishops in the OP case just did the counseling sessions and excommunication and then forgot about the family. I think in there was likely good reason that the border patrol officer (who moved into the ward after the excommunication) was both each of the kids’ Primary teacher (save the baby) and her visiting teacher over the 6-7 years she was in the same ward.  The second bishop might not have been able to reveal the abuse, but it seems too coincidental to me that a woman trained to use a gun and was not shy about it from her testimony as well as educated in psych, etc. was in the best church position to be trusted by the mother  and the kids.

That she also would know the husband pretty well through work (he wasn’t attending much after the excommunication so other ward members likely didn’t have that chance)....seems like the best possible candidate for a confidant for the family. Unfortunately it didn’t work till it was too late, the father’s hold over them too tight most likely (certainly the kids).

And then there is the impression I got from the agent and the prosecutor as well as the friend that practically the whole ward would have stepped in to help her safely leave her husband...that may have just been from his reputation as an adulterer and his apparently obvious short temper, but I bet that family was talked a lot about in ward councils and concerns shared as it is clear the mother was not social, though she and the kids attended practically every Sunday....it wasn’t her nonexistent close relationships with most of the ward that triggered such willingness to be there for her. 

Edited by Calm
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33 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

he turd we're discussing was the lowest of the low. A six week child? How far will one go. Selling photos of raping your own child. Yes, I'd report if I were a bishop, no matter what

Not debating the quality of human being or think age makes a difference in victimizing a child, but for accuracy the bishops would have known only of the abuse of the then five year old (and for a year or two of ongoing abuse if the agent’s report is accurate) and recording it. There is no indication the bishops were aware of him selling the porn or the abuse of the baby five years after his excommunication.  The second bishop was not involved in any counseling and according to the border patrol friend, the father was excommunicated before she moved in right at the end of the first Bishop’s tenure.  FYI, The dates used aren’t that great for pinpointing a timeline.  It is all mashed together with it sometime starting between 2010 and 2012.
 

I believe though the bishops probably guessed abuse continued. More than likely they had nightmares about the family.

Edited by Calm
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Then there is that pesky article of faith about honoring the law. The hotline at least can make one familiar with what the law says and requires. 

What if , in this case, the first Bishop had said to the guy" either call the police or I will ". The man then goes home and kills his whole family and then himself. Now where do we stand on the Bishop not doing enough to protect the family? From what I've read about this fellow's temperament , such a scenario is not impossible. 

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7 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Maybe someone has already mentioned this, but wouldn’t a bishop and/or stake president excommunicate a person who confessed serious sins like this? Part of the repentance process is to make amends. One condition of repentance could be to submit voluntarily to legal authorities. Refusal to do so would result in loss of membership..

Yes, I think excommunication would typically follow a confession of this nature. However, the focus is on the Bishop or Stake President after hearing the confession should he report the confessor to the authorities?

My opinion, is yes report it to the authorities if the confession states he plans on to continue in the abuse, but no, if he confesses the sin is in the past and has no intention of repeating his sin and is there for the repentance process to take place. This may include excommunication, but if he is truly repentant and states he will not continue in those actions, I believe the bishop or SP should keep it confidential.

Now, if a wife or child comes to the bishop and alerts the bishop to the action of spouse/dad, then yes, there is no privilege and the bishop should report it.

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1 hour ago, Raingirl said:

CFR means you must provide documentation of your assertion.  You have failed miserably.

But that’s no surprise. 

 

1 hour ago, Raingirl said:

Truth is meaningless to someone whose favorite hobby is to attack the church. 

Please

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1 hour ago, Anijen said:

My opinion, is yes report it to the authorities if the confession states he plans on to continue in the abuse, but no, if he confesses the sin is in the past and has no intention of repeating his sin and is there for the repentance process to take place. This may include excommunication, but if he is truly repentant and states he will not continue in those actions, I believe the bishop or SP should keep it confidential.

It's not that simple with child molesters. Many sincerely don't want to do it again and don't intend to, but are going to. That's why church records are annotated for life, even when they've fully repented and had decades of abstinence. Molesters are notorious for recidivism. 

It's like drug addicts or alcoholics, except you're talking about current and future children instead of drugs or the bottle. They also sincerely intend to stop, but it's devilishly hard, and almost all backslide. 

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1 hour ago, rongo said:

Molesters are notorious for recidivism. 

And this perception is actually wrong for a good percentage of them. They should divide into types imo to take into account those who are most likely to reoffend while being cautious but not expectant of those in categories of less reoffending. 
 

Quote

The initial follow-up of the child molesters found that 42% were reconvicted of a sexual or violent crime during the 15- 30 year follow-up period. Ten percent of the total sample of child molesters were first convicted for a sexual/violent crime between 10 and 31 years after release.
Not all child molesters recidivated at the same rate. The highest rate of recidivism (77%) was for those with previous sexual offenses, who selected extrafamilial boy victims, and who were never married. In contrast, the long-term recidivism rate for the low risk offenders was less than 20%.



https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/chld-mlstr/index-en.aspx

Quote

Although the long-term recidivism rates for the child molesters were substantial, the recidivism rates for the nonsexual criminals were even higher, 61% versus 83.2%, respectively, for any reconviction. That nonsexual criminals have higher recidivism rates than child molesters runs contrary to the common assumption that child molesters areaparticularlyhighriskgroupof offenders.

Quote

almost all backslide. 

4 out of 5 in the larger low risk group (over half) not backsliding is not close to “almost all”.

Edited by Calm
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20 hours ago, Danzo said:

I think you come to the point.  Privileges can be a 'potential get out of jail free card'.

The Fifth amendment right to not be forced to testify against yourself is also a  'potential get out of jail free card'.

The fourth amendment right to not be arbitrarily searched or arrested is also a  'potential get out of jail free card'.

The right to an attorney, writ of habeas corpus,  Trial by jury, right to appeal, confront your accusers,  etc are all  'potential get out of jail free cards'

These and other rights have all been used to let guilty people go unpunished.  Our legal system seems to be designed to all guilty men to go free all of the time.  It would be so much easier if there weren't all of these obstacles that get in the way of criminal prosecution. 

How many protections do we need ?

 

So you're in favor of removing the reporting mandate for those who work with children? And if not, why not?

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This... over and over and over again. What is wrong with the church's lawyers to not see how this could have saved a child/children from being abused for 7 years. I don't know how Kirton and McConkie can sleep at night. How is it reasonable and necessary within the concepts of the religion to do this? Arizona law people! Not Utah law! https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-child-welfare/2020/04/21/bisbee-man-confesses-hes-molesting-his-daughter-church-tells-bishop-not-report-abuse/2876617001/

But the law also allows clergy to not report if they are told of the abuse in confidence or during a confession. In those cases, state law says, clergy may withhold a report if the clergy member feels it is “reasonable and necessary within the concepts of the religion.”

 

ETA: Am I dense? Why is no one seeing that the AZ law handed the ok to report on a sliver platter?

Edited by Tacenda
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47 minutes ago, Vanguard said:

So you're in favor of removing the reporting mandate for those who work with children? And if not, why not?

I am in favor of keeping the priest penitent privilege.

As far as mandatory reporting, I am not sure it helps as much as people think. I often feel mandatory reporting may do more harm than good. Many people just won't talk about abuse if they know it will be reported immediately.

Our family has helped someone report abuse and I really don't think the person would have opened up to us had they thought we would have automatically reported after first communication.  After some  time we were able to convince the mother to report and my wife called the police for her, the husband went to jail and the family got help. I wonder what would have happened if the police were called before this woman was ready.

I served on a jury once where the person was accused of abusing someone. The victim took the stand and said there wasn't any abuse and we had to acquit.  Maybe if the victim had a religious leader or a friend to talk to first, instead of having the police jump the gun, the victim could have been persuaded to testify and we could have convicted him.

Mandatory reporting isn't a cure all.  As far as I am aware, mandatory reporting hasn't reduced the incidence of abuse in this country.

Edited by Danzo
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On 4/23/2020 at 12:26 PM, Danzo said:

There are many times that breaking the law is the right thing to do, but when you choose to break the law, you need to be aware of the consequences.

Breaking privilege may be justified in some cases, but the person breaking it has to live with the consequence of that as well.

...

Unfortunately there is no solution that is right every time. You need to go by the spirit.

However if you are going to break the law, its good to have some idea of the consequences.

Aptly put. 

No one has an answer to this, but I wonder if a leader did what he strongly felt was right rather than what he was told to do via the hotline . . . would he be released? Would he be formally disciplined? In that case, it would probably depend on the perceived PR blowback. 

The bishops in Bisbee did what they were told, but they are being sued as individuals. I can't see whether they are being defended by Kirton McConkie (I assume so). But, if there is a judgment against them, are they on their own? Probably, the Church will settle the case to get it out of court. Can a party not being sued settle the case, or does it have to be the defendants?

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15 hours ago, rongo said:

It's not that simple with child molesters. Many sincerely don't want to do it again and don't intend to, but are going to. That's why church records are annotated for life, even when they've fully repented and had decades of abstinence. Molesters are notorious for recidivism. 

It's like drug addicts or alcoholics, except you're talking about current and future children instead of drugs or the bottle. They also sincerely intend to stop, but it's devilishly hard, and almost all backslide. 

What you post is true, the recidivism is very high in cases like these. However, you're making yourself as judge if you; feel, think, possibly, might, likely to, that he will repeat. Even when recidivism is high we are not to be his judge when honest repentance is being asked for. As Bishop or Stake President we should keep that confidentiality after the confession. Keeping that confession allows trust for the sinner to grow in the repentance process and help the sinner to continue in that path. Part of the meaning of the word Confidentiality it gives the person confidence that he can have trust in that person (Bishop) that thing (repentance). Besides, by reporting will muddy up the legalities of both a civil and/or criminal case.

Please keep in mind I am only speaking of a confessor who is truly placing himself in that path to forsake all his sins, never plans to repeat them and change his heart. I am not talking about the guy who comes in and confesses but he also says he will continue to be a molester. Then there is an obligation to report in my opinion.

Is not Christs atonement enough to give the one who seeks a change of heart that strength to make the change he is looking for?

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48 minutes ago, Danzo said:

I am in favor of keeping the priest penitent privilege.

As far as mandatory reporting, I am not sure it helps as much as people think. I often feel mandatory reporting may do more harm than good. Many people just won't talk about abuse if they know it will be reported immediately.

Our family has helped someone report abuse and I really don't think the person would have opened up to us had they thought we would have automatically reported after first communication.  After some  time we were able to convince the mother to report and my wife called the police for her, the husband went to jail and the family got help. I wonder what would have happened if the police were called before this woman was ready.

I served on a jury once where the person was accused of abusing someone. The victim took the stand and said there wasn't any abuse and we had to acquit.  Maybe if the victim had a religious leader or a friend to talk to first, instead of having the police jump the gun, the victim could have been persuaded to testify and we could have convicted him.

Mandatory reporting isn't a cure all.  As far as I am aware, mandatory reporting hasn't reduced the incidence of abuse in this country.

Emphasis mine.

Danzo makes some very excellent points here. In every molestation or child abuse case I have been involved in here in Nebraska and in every case I have not been involved but stayed up on those cases, every time the person was found guilty, in every case the judge has asked for help from Health and Human Services asking their psychologist and psychiatrist to interview and provide documentation to help the judge in the sentencing phase of the trial. The report will always have their expert opinion on if they think the crime will be repeated or not and even though the guilty verdict has been found, it helps the judge in the severity in sentencing. Again we should let the secular experts handle if they think harm will reoccur.

It is not the bishop or stake presidents job to involve themselves in the secular legal issues but in the spiritual welfare of the confessor. They should keep that trust intact and lead him on that path of repentance, both asking in many prayers for the atonement of the Savior to give him strength to overcome. By reporting to the authorities the confessed sins will break that trust (probably forever), and stop the confessor's desire to change and takes away any faith in the repentance process he might have had.

Again, please note this is NOT my opinion from a confessor who says he will repeat his crimes in the future. Then yes, the Bishop should report out of concern for the future safety of remolesting or finding a new victim. There is nothing a bishop can do to stop a past crime from not being committed.

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