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New lawsuits for alleged Boy Scouts sex abuse cover-up


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Mormon church faces 7 new lawsuits for alleged Boy Scouts sex abuse cover-up in Arizona

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon church, is facing at least seven new lawsuits that accuse it of playing a role in covering up sex abuse among Boy Scout troops in Arizona.

Earlier this year, the Boy Scouts filed for bankruptcy amid tens of thousands of sexual abuse lawsuits implicating troop leaders and other volunteers in incidents stretching back decades. Accusers' current ages range from 8 to 93.

"The Boy Scouts filing for bankruptcy doesn’t end the investigation, as far as who knew what was going on, as far as these little kids being abused in scouting, when they knew it, and what they should have done to stop it," attorney Mark McKenna told Fox News Tuesday. 

His law firm, Hurley McKenna & Mertz, is representing dozens of victims. In addition to the seven new lawsuits, it also has pursued cases against local scouting councils, and a number of Roman Catholic dioceses and archdioceses in similar Scout abuse cases across multiple states.

The new lawsuits allege that Mormon officials ignored reports of abuse from youths, and that troop leaders and volunteers remained in the Scouts organization despite allegations against them...."

Seven more in Arizona is a drop in the bucket compared to all the other tens thousands of thousands of lawsuits. Hard to believe so many of these actually happened and I'll bet most of them didn't. 

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I saw this story posted last night on the Arizona radio site, KTAR (here). 

This part of the story seems rather strange to me:

Quote

In the seven lawsuits each representing seven different male victims, attorneys say church officials never notified authorities about abuse allegations. Public records show members of church-sponsored Boy Scout troops who were abused would tell church bishops about what they had experienced. The lawsuits allege bishops would then tell the victims to keep quiet so the church could conduct its own investigation. In the meantime, troop leaders and volunteers accused of sex abuse would be allowed to continue in their roles or be assigned to another troop, the suits said.

If these abuse situations happened a long time ago, then perhaps what is claimed above could have happened.  But I'm pretty sure that bishops in the last 20 years or so are trained way better than that. 

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I'm surprised it's only 7, but pretty sure this is just the tip of the iceberg. Since the church had so many scout troops out there. My dad was a boy scout leader when another leader in the ward was caught sexually abusing the boys back in the late sixties. Not sure if he was charged I was pretty young at the time. 

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6 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I'm surprised it's only 7, but pretty sure this is just the tip of the iceberg. Since the church had so many scout troops out there. My dad was a boy scout leader when another leader in the ward was caught sexually abusing the boys back in the late sixties. Not sure if he was charged I was pretty young at the time. 

People not generally volunteering for callings would tend to cut way down on abuse imo, though volunteering is certainly not out of the picture. I did when no one else was available (in Canada they expected Akelas (Cubs) to be men).  I was also released when they found someone who knew what they were doing, lol. So grateful for that. 

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2 hours ago, JustAnAustralian said:

I'm wondering why they waited until so close before the Dec 31 deadline to file them.

Makes me wonder if the lawyers went looking for them and not the reverse. Not saying that means it doesn’t have value as a case. Some victims  just don’t know the process enough to feel comfortable initiating it themselves or may think it is too late or they have time.  

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18 minutes ago, Calm said:

Makes me wonder if the lawyers went looking for them and not the reverse. 

I think at the very least it's likely they batched them up. As long as the abuse claims are legitimate I'm not fussed either way, but I just hope the lawyers aren't using them simply to try and go against the church (especially given your earlier question of "what public records?").

Edited by JustAnAustralian
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I can’t change the laughter to an upvote as I am out of them for now. Finger slipped. Apparently a change counts as another vote even though it deletes one   
 

Added:Apparently it glitched as I can now delete it where it didn’t let me before...for some reason the board wanted you to have a laugh.  It also allowed me to change it, so my original intent is clear to the world now.

Edited by Calm
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13 hours ago, InCognitus said:

I saw this story posted last night on the Arizona radio site, KTAR (here). 

This part of the story seems rather strange to me:

If these abuse situations happened a long time ago, then perhaps what is claimed above could have happened.  But I'm pretty sure that bishops in the last 20 years or so are trained way better than that. 

Yes, very weird.  What public records would show that the boys told their bishops?  And like Cal said, how would abusive leaders be moved to a different troop?  That's now how LDS boy scout troops functioned.  

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13 hours ago, Calm said:

I want to know what public records they are talking about. 
 

And how would they be assigned to another troop unless they moved wards?

Public records typically include police reports, court filings of various kinds (civil and criminal), etc.  Since reporters nowadays are often unconnected to a professional organization, one cannot depend upon an editor to demand accurate accounts of anything.

As to Boy Scout assignments, a man could easily be moved into or out of a Cub Scout calling and assigned to another one.  There is some leeway, even within a ward or branch.  Second, there are plenty of instances in which the perpetrator moved to a new location and continued his perversion.  I have names, dates, and places from newspaper accounts going back decades.  Carefully tracking sex-offenders in very important.  I advised one bishop on how to examine local sex-offender registries -- which typically list the offender by name and address.

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2 hours ago, bluebell said:

Yes, very weird.  What public records would show that the boys told their bishops?  And like Cal said, how would abusive leaders be moved to a different troop?  That's now how LDS boy scout troops functioned.  

The LDS Church did not track such perpetrators in the past, leaving it open to many lawsuits for failure to practice due diligence.  Just assuming that elder John Doe was a good guy and would never do anything like that was very common.  Millions in tithing money has had to be paid out for such failures.

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8 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The LDS Church did not track such perpetrators in the past, leaving it open to many lawsuits for failure to practice due diligence.  Just assuming that elder John Doe was a good guy and would never do anything like that was very common.  Millions in tithing money has had to be paid out for such failures.

True, and since these lawsuits are from the 70s-90s (iirc) I wouldn't be surprised if some bishop did tell a kid not to report it and to handle it in-house, because I know there are bishops like that out there (and regular people like that out there too) and this was an era that was likely before the policies and legal hotlines we have now to keep bishops in check.

But what public records would prove a bishop said such a thing?

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

As to Boy Scout assignments, a man could easily be moved into or out of a Cub Scout calling and assigned to another one.  There is some leeway, even within a ward or branch. 

Isn’t one ward one troop though?

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Second, there are plenty of instances in which the perpetrator moved to a new location and continued his perversion. 

There is a difference between a predator moving on their own and not being tracked and church leaders intentionally moving them to hide their activities.

I am not suggesting that there weren’t huge mistakes made, but it seems likely to me there were not the organized efforts to hide known predators as is implied, IMO, in the article.  We did very poorly on believing victims and tracking and reporting known predators.  Intentionally hiding them by moving them around in positions intended to work with children while knowing they were victimizing children is something I have significant doubts on.

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

There is a difference between a predator moving on their own and not being tracked and church leaders intentionally moving them to hide their activities.

I am not suggesting that there weren’t huge mistakes made, but it seems likely to me there were not the organized efforts to hide known predators as is implied, IMO, in the article.  We did very poorly on believing victims and tracking and reporting known predators.  Intentionally hiding them by moving them around in positions intended to work with children while knowing they were victimizing children is something I have significant doubts on.

In many cases, those in authority assumed the innocence of the accused (some were close friends and family members), and disbelieved the children.  Moreover, there have been actual cases in which satanic conspiracy hysteria gripped some communities, aided and abetted by false memory syndrome.  False accusations destroyed some families, and in other cases aggrieved parties were excommunicated in retaliation for going public.  I have the names and dates of many of those.  Leaders were naive and unprepared for much of this, and should have allowed law enforcement to handle it (I can think of specific cases close to home).  That does not mean that it happened everywhere and constantly, but there are enough of those problems in the past to have caused leadership to take careful notice and to implement new procedures.  Millions in tithing contributions were paid out for those failures, and still more will be paid.

It is much easier for things to get out of hand than people assume, including the murder of children -- cases which we are now watching.  We might want to ask why it is that leaders (including law enforcement) were so slow on the uptake.  We just assume that the professionals actually know what they are doing.  Look at the now disclosed failure of police and FBI to have prevented the  recent Nashville bombing.

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2 hours ago, Calm said:

Isn’t one ward one troop though?

Cub scout packs are managed by different people, meet at different places, etc.  I had a calling in cubs which ended a couple of years ago.   People could in fact be moved around in the past.  Can't tell from the news report whether that was what happened.  They might be confusing secular with religious troops and packs.  I was fortunate that, in all my boyhood in cubs, boy scouts, and explorers, I didn't encounter any weirdos -- and was blissfully unaware of the problem.  There were a few gay men in the USMC, but we more or less ignored them.  I even worked alongside a retired Marine gunnery sgt who was trans a few years ago.  None of those guys committed any crimes, so far as I know, and did not seem likely to.

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13 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

In many cases, those in authority assumed the innocence of the accused (some were close friends and family members), and disbelieved the children.  Moreover, there have been actual cases in which satanic conspiracy hysteria gripped some communities, aided and abetted by false memory syndrome.  False accusations destroyed some families, and in other cases aggrieved parties were excommunicated in retaliation for going public.  I have the names and dates of many of those.  Leaders were naive and unprepared for much of this, and should have allowed law enforcement to handle it (I can think of specific cases close to home).  That does not mean that it happened everywhere and constantly, but there are enough of those problems in the past to have caused leadership to take careful notice and to implement new procedures.  Millions in tithing contributions were paid out for those failures, and still more will be paid.

It is much easier for things to get out of hand than people assume, including the murder of children -- cases which we are now watching.  We might want to ask why it is that leaders (including law enforcement) were so slow on the uptake.  We just assume that the professionals actually know what they are doing.  Look at the now disclosed failure of police and FBI to have prevented the  recent Nashville bombing.

I watched a show (not sure what it was now) that talked about why so many adults don't believe children or those who claim abuse, and psychologically it's often a case of the adult being more able to identify with the accused than the accuser, and more able to put themselves into the accused shoes (while assuming their innocence) than the shoes of the victim.  Adults are more likely to see what is at stake for the accused (what they stand to lose) and to want to err on the side of caution when moving forward.   They often take an 'innocent until proven guilty' point of view with the accused because if they were ever accused of such a thing, that's what they would want people to do for them.  While that all sounds logical in theory it leaves the victims completely unprotected and allows the perpetrator to keep harming. 

And of course there are the other psychological reasons for those who are related, married, or close to the accused that keep them from wanting to believe. 

So it's more normal for people not to believe than to believe, and more normal for people to want to protect the accused from life alter consequences than to help the victim receive justice.  People have to fight against those tendencies or these kinds of things will keep happening.

 

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5 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Cub scout packs are managed by different people, meet at different places, etc.  I had a calling in cubs which ended a couple of years ago.   People could in fact be moved around in the past.  Can't tell from the news report whether that was what happened.  They might be confusing secular with religious troops and packs.  I was fortunate that, in all my boyhood in cubs, boy scouts, and explorers, I didn't encounter any weirdos -- and was blissfully unaware of the problem.  There were a few gay men in the USMC, but we more or less ignored them.  I even worked alongside a retired Marine gunnery sgt who was trans a few years ago.  None of those guys committed any crimes, so far as I know, and did not seem likely to.

I've never seen a church sponsored cub scout pack that didn't function the same as the church sponsored scouting troops, but maybe it depended on the numbers of people available to hold those callings.

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10 hours ago, bluebell said:

I've never seen a church sponsored cub scout pack that didn't function the same as the church sponsored scouting troops, but maybe it depended on the numbers of people available to hold those callings.

Separate people were assigned to the packs, and the packs further divided into dens (I and an associate managed one den), and did not interact with the boy scouts or their leaders.  Same as when I was a kid.  We had monthly pack meetings which were stake-wide, but did not include the boy scouts.

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10 hours ago, bluebell said:

I watched a show (not sure what it was now) that talked about why so many adults don't believe children or those who claim abuse, and psychologically it's often a case of the adult being more able to identify with the accused than the accuser, and more able to put themselves into the accused shoes (while assuming their innocence) than the shoes of the victim.  Adults are more likely to see what is at stake for the accused (what they stand to lose) and to want to err on the side of caution when moving forward.   They often take an 'innocent until proven guilty' point of view with the accused because if they were ever accused of such a thing, that's what they would want people to do for them.  While that all sounds logical in theory it leaves the victims completely unprotected and allows the perpetrator to keep harming. 

And of course there are the other psychological reasons for those who are related, married, or close to the accused that keep them from wanting to believe. 

So it's more normal for people not to believe than to believe, and more normal for people to want to protect the accused from life alter consequences than to help the victim receive justice.  People have to fight against those tendencies or these kinds of things will keep happening.

Caution is always called for, but I don't agree with your assessment.  It is rare for an adult to disbelieve such accusations.  However, the adults often make the mistake (when listening to a youngster describe what happened) of interrupting and asking questions instead of just listening to the full description.  Untrained adults tend to guide the discussion, get too emotional, and even frighten the child.  Police and trained victim advocates need to get involved early.  Otherwise the evidence gets tainted by parental expectations and wild assumptions.  It is best, if at all possible, to get a plea deal and keep the child from being traumatized again in court through cross-examination.  Getting religious authorities involved is often not helpful at all.  Best to leave it to the professionals.

You may be familiar with a recent case in which a father actually killed an abuser, thus multiplying an already tragic situation.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I don't agree with your assessment.  It is rare for an adult to disbelieve such accusations. 

On what do you base your conclusions and do you see this as always true or something that has been a more recent development?

Quote

An important facet of the myth that CSA is uncommon relates to the idea that victims confabulate abuse. One of the most strongly held rape myths is that women lie about rape for revenge or attention (Benedict, 1992; Lonsway & Fitzgerald, 1994). A corollary of this myth is the idea that women and children fabricate or embellish CSA reports, particularly in cases of part- nership or marital breakups (Brown, Frederico, Hewitt, & Sheehan, 2001; Collings, 1997). Some CSA reports may be questioned in response to highly publicized unfounded claims of CSA in divorce cases. Some media sources and activist groups have claimed that up to 70% of CSA reports are manu- factured in divorce cases (Brown et al., 2001). Media analysts have criticized CSA reporting as inculcating fear of false reports (Goddard & Saunders, 2000) by overfocusing on the falsely accused (Goddard, 1996; Kitzinger, 1996).

https://www.nationalcac.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/child-sexual-abuse-myths-Attitudes-beliefs-and-individual-differences.pdf

Edited by Calm
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6 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Separate people were assigned to the packs, and the packs further divided into dens (I and an associate managed one den), and did not interact with the boy scouts or their leaders.  Same as when I was a kid.  We had monthly pack meetings which were stake-wide, but did not include the boy scouts.

Yes, I’ve never seen a Cub Scout troop that did interact with the Boy Scouts. I wasn’t referring to that. I was referring to church Cub Scout packs being managed by the church similarly to how they manage scout troops, so that under normal leaders couldn’t just move or be reassigned to a different pack if they got in trouble with their original one.

But I acknowledged that there could be some areas where a limited amount of Cub scouts meant the church troops were organized differently than usual.

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7 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Caution is always called for, but I don't agree with your assessment.  It is rare for an adult to disbelieve such accusations. 

Can you provide a reference for the bolded part?  I'm not formally CFRing you, I'm just interested in hearing where the statement comes from.  

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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

Can you provide a reference for the bolded part?  I'm not formally CFRing you, I'm just interested in hearing where the statement comes from.  

I think one issue here is that it is far too easy to not understand a report one receives. Children and even adults may disclose one fact relating to sexual abuse, but for example still believe they've done something wrong. It really requires knowledge and often training for a receiving person to recognise a report. When they don't understand, they can dismiss it one way or another.

Edited by Meadowchik
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