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AP Story about Abuse


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6 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Long term victims of abuse can be impacted for life. I've witnessed how victims' health, personal relationships and ability to provide for their families are hindered by the effects of abuse...and the church offering barely enough for a year of therapy. That institutional response is wrong.

I've seen the long-term effects of abuse. It's amazing that someone regarded as one of the top attorneys in Arizona would say something so stupid and inflammatory to the press. It's supposed to be the attorney doing damage control for the client, not the other way around. 

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On 8/6/2022 at 1:20 PM, webbles said:

I'm not sure when the hotline was created and started to be used, but before that, I can believe church officials (even going to the First Presidency) recommending keeping it "in house".

And that is a good thing and probably required by law.  The details that are mentioned in that hotline probably are covered under a ton of privacy laws.  Deleting them makes it far simpler to protect the privacy of the victims.  It isn't to cover up.

Saw this, and brought back remembrance. What do you think of this? 

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Saw this, and brought back remembrance. What do you think of this? 

This case is what the AP article is actually mostly talking about.  All of the helpline documents that the AP article talks about stems from this case.  I was actually reading up on it recently to understand what happened.

One very interesting thing is that the reason why the abuser was caught was because of a bishopric member.  Not sure why they don't mention it in the video, but Spring (the mother who called the police) couldn't get a hold of her bishop (which the video does show).  She then tried several other people including a bishopric's councilor.  The bishopric's councilor is who recommended that she call the police.  He then called the helpline and they told him to call the police and help with it.  Of course, this was in 2012, many years after the actual events took place.  It would have been nice to have caught it earlier but I really don't see how anyone (except the parents of the abuser) had enough information to have caught it earlier (unlike the case in Bisbee, AZ).

I very much disagree with the allegation that the helpline is to hide the abuse.  For this West Virginia case, it doesn't appear that the bishop called the helpline as he didn't believe abuse was happening.  So, I don't see the bishop covering up the abuse.  He was just seeing through "rose-colored glasses".  I think the bishop should have been less accepting of the abuser's word and should have been more accepting of the other parents.  I'm not sure if the helpline would have helped because of the bishop believes that what happened was a child walked into a teenager watching porn, then he would have said that to the helpline and there's really nothing they would have done as law enforcement wouldn't do anything about that.

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I had some questions earlier about how the priest-penitent privilege works with regards to disciplinary councils.  I was under the impression that since those in the council aren't bishops ("clergy"), then it wouldn't be under the prient-penitent privilege.  But I just found a case where it looks like I was wrong.  In a lawsuit against the church in Washington, the victim's lawyer wanted the disciplinary council records of the abuser.  The church argued that it was not allowed to be entered as evidence as it was under the priest-penitent privilege.  The Court of Appeals in Washington ruled that the records from the disciplinary council were under the priest-penitent privilege and so they can't be used as evidence.  You can read their reasoning at http://courts.mrsc.org/appellate/122wnapp/122WnApp0556.htm.

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5 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Saw this, and brought back remembrance. What do you think of this? 

Just took the time to read through one of the appeals and found a really odd ruling.  When the victims first sued the church, bishop, and abuser parents, they alleged a criminal conspiracy.  They had a good amount of evidence that could show the criminal conspiracy but there was also evidence against it.  That usually means that a trial court would ensue where the jury gets to decide what actually happened based on all the contradictory evidence.  But the judge, apparently, didn't like that idea.  From the Opinion of the appeal (http://www.courtswv.gov/supreme-court/docs/spring2017/16-0008.pdf)

Quote

Following extensive discovery, multiple motions for summary judgment were filed, as well as numerous motions in limine. During a status conference held on August 31, 2015, the circuit judge, expressing his concern regarding the impact that a six-week trial would have on his docket, identified a need to find ways to shorten the trial’s duration.

So, because he didn't want a six-week trial, he instead granted summary judgment in favor of one of the defendants on December 4, granted several motions in limine (exclusion of testimony) for the other defendants on December 30, and then granted summary judgement for the defendants on December 31.  This last summary judgement was basically because there wasn't any testimony left to warrant a trial.

So, after all the discovery, all the work that the plaintiffs did, the trial ended before it began.  That would be really frustrating.  I would almost start believing that the judge was a member of the conspiracy.

The appeals court wasn't very happy with the trial judge and basically said that all of the testimony should have been included as there was too much conflict and an actually jury trial was needed to determine the facts.

The trial never did occur because sometime later, both sides settled.

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1 hour ago, webbles said:

Just took the time to read through one of the appeals and found a really odd ruling.  When the victims first sued the church, bishop, and abuser parents, they alleged a criminal conspiracy.  They had a good amount of evidence that could show the criminal conspiracy but there was also evidence against it.  That usually means that a trial court would ensue where the jury gets to decide what actually happened based on all the contradictory evidence.  But the judge, apparently, didn't like that idea.  From the Opinion of the appeal (http://www.courtswv.gov/supreme-court/docs/spring2017/16-0008.pdf)

So, because he didn't want a six-week trial, he instead granted summary judgment in favor of one of the defendants on December 4, granted several motions in limine (exclusion of testimony) for the other defendants on December 30, and then granted summary judgement for the defendants on December 31.  This last summary judgement was basically because there wasn't any testimony left to warrant a trial.

So, after all the discovery, all the work that the plaintiffs did, the trial ended before it began.  That would be really frustrating.  I would almost start believing that the judge was a member of the conspiracy.

The appeals court wasn't very happy with the trial judge and basically said that all of the testimony should have been included as there was too much conflict and an actually jury trial was needed to determine the facts.

The trial never did occur because sometime later, both sides settled.

Thanks for the feedback webbles! 

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12 hours ago, webbles said:

.  He was just seeing through "rose-colored glasses".  I think the bishop should have been less accepting of the abuser's word and should have been more accepting of the other parents.  I'm not sure if the helpline would have helped because of the bishop believes that what happened was a child walked into a teenager watching porn, then he would have said that to the helpline and there's really nothing they would have done as law enforcement wouldn't do anything about that.

In my experience, the abusers story is accepted far too easily. Then, of course, the helpline isn’t asked the correct questions.

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1 hour ago, bsjkki said:

In my experience, the abusers story is accepted far too easily. Then, of course, the helpline isn’t asked the correct questions.

Can you explain what you mean by your second sentence?

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1 hour ago, bsjkki said:

Say, a teen goes to her Bishop and says her dad is being inappropriate. Doesn’t get real specific. (Not easy to do) The Bishop asks the dad and he says she is going through a hard time and is mad at him for not letting her date or stay out late. The teen has had behavior issues. 
 

The Bishop asks the helpline what to do about a disturbed teen making non specific allegations against her dad but that he believes the dad. They serve together in the Bishopric. Would he even make the call? 

What would the legal response be?

Well, the reality is, the dad has been molesting the teen for years and of course she is very messed up. How is a Bishop trained to even know how to interview a child to get the details of allegations? He isn’t qualified to conduct that interview. 
 

Rape victims also attempt to ‘repent’ because they don’t have the tools to process what happened. They hope repentance will help them but the cure is not the correct one. Teen girls discussing sexual topics with a man not well known to them with unknown skills and training is ripe for inaccurate assumptions.

Exactly!

That is why I think there should be a helpline that consists of social workers, psychologists, legal workers, etc. who are trained and experts in abuse intervention, counseling, and legal victim advocacy in finding legal ways to protect the child from further abuse (first and foremost), provide healing and support to victim and family, and who know how to interview the child (which may help the bishop in the investigation) and advocacy of any victims.  Bishops simply aren't qualified.

It should be drilled into every bishops head that ANY reported abuse (no matter how far fetched it may seem to the bishop, and no matter what his discernment is telling him) NEEDS to be reported both helplines (assuming there were 2 helplines). 

Edited by pogi
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1 hour ago, pogi said:

I agree that the helpline is not there to hide the abuse.  However, the fact that the first thing bishops are counseled to do when abuse is reported is to call the helpline (aka church lawyers who get paid lots of money to protect the church - that is their job), I think that says something about the priorities of the church, which I would like to see changed.  I am not opposed to the help line.  I think the church should legally protect itself and I think the helpline is a critical legal resource for bishops also.  These bishops need legal support and guidance in situations like this.  But in my mind, the first priority should be the abused child.  Why isn't there a helpline which connects bishops with a group of psychologists, social workers, and lawyers whose priority it is to help get the child out of the abusive situation (first and foremost), but also to help support the family and find treatment and healing for the child and family?  The church should be advocating for the victim with their resources first and foremost. 

The other thing I would like to see changed is education about the use of discernment in situations like this.  I think bishops need to be counseled to never use the gift of discernment as a reason to not pursue the matter further.  A bishop should NEVER dismiss allegations of abuse purely on a gut feeling.  The gift of discernment should be taught to be used as a guide to investigate further, not as a final arbiter.  The fact that the bishop in the video dismissed the allegations of abuse and sided with the abuser based on discernment makes me more than a little upset.  

In summary, I think there should be 2 helplines.  The priority being the victim, with legal support for the bishop as well.  Bishops need to be educated on how to use the gift of discernment in cases like this (to not rely on it as a final arbiter), and how to use the legal helpline by reporting only the objective information that has been reported by both parties and not what the bishop subjectively believes happened. 

Agreed for the most part!

Especially very much agree that bishops (and other adults who work with children) should have some training on abuse disclosures: how to recognize them and respond.

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57 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

Say, a teen goes to her Bishop and says her dad is being inappropriate. Doesn’t get real specific. (Not easy to do) The Bishop asks the dad and he says she is going through a hard time and is mad at him for not letting her date or stay out late. The teen has had behavior issues. 
 

The Bishop asks the helpline what to do about a disturbed teen making non specific allegations against her dad but that he believes the dad. They serve together in the Bishopric. Would he even make the call? 

What would the legal response be?

Well, the reality is, the dad has been molesting the teen for years and of course she is very messed up. How is a Bishop trained to even know how to interview a child to get the details of allegations? He isn’t qualified to conduct that interview. 
 

Rape victims also attempt to ‘repent’ because they don’t have the tools to process what happened. They hope repentance will help them but the cure is not the correct one. Teen girls discussing sexual topics with a man not well known to them with unknown skills and training is ripe for inaccurate assumptions.


 

 

Yup.

They won't be asking the helpline questions that it's not intended to answer. And if they do, they won't be getting consistently good support.

More support is needed. I think that in general, bishops are simply overwhelmed and it's human nature to choose the path of least resistance. But correct responses to abuse can be terribly painful and disruptive. Support is needed to respond well.

 

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It turns out that what I was describing as a second helpline already exists...sorta. 

I have not heard any stories about how effective these services are in abuse intervention/treatment, but it sounds like many bishops are not utilizing this resource.  I think this should be emphasized just as much if not more that the legal services help line.  I think the church would do good to develop this program further and become a world leader in response to abuse. 

LDS Family Services can provide the following resources to bishops:

Quote

 

Consultation Services for Church Leaders

Church leaders may consult with Family Services staff to better understand the social and emotional needs and challenges of their members and to determine what resources and services are available. Church leaders should first contact their local Family Services office before referring members for counseling. If a local office is not available, leaders may call the 24-Hour Welfare Help Line at 1-855-537-4357.

If a bishop or stake president becomes aware of or suspects the possibility of abuse, he should immediately call the Church's abuse help line at 1-800-453-3860, ext. 2-1911 (see Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops [2010], 17.3.2).

All consultation specialists are licensed mental health professionals who can assist with a wide array of mental health challenges faced by members.

Find a Family Services office to serve you.

Help in Accessing Community Resources

When Family Services is unable to provide the counseling services needed, local office personnel can help Church leaders identify and access other appropriate community resources.

 

 

 

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On 8/5/2022 at 7:59 PM, JAHS said:

Apologies are what individual people do when they do something wrong. What most church critics want are apologies from the church organization for something some other church leaders or individual members did in the past.
Those individuals are the ones who should apologize. The Church as an organization will never apologize for what other people or single individuals have done, but will always want to make corrections where needed and do better. 

That's just patently wrong. An institution acts as such and the impact can continue indefinitely. Those leading the institution take on all of it, including its power AND its baggage. For an institution to maintain integrity, it must apologize for harm it has done as an institution.

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4 hours ago, pogi said:

I agree that the helpline is not there to hide the abuse.  However, the fact that the first thing bishops are counseled to do when abuse is reported is to call the helpline (aka church lawyers who get paid lots of money to protect the church - that is their job), I think that says something about the priorities of the church, which I would like to see changed.  I am not opposed to the help line.  I think the church should legally protect itself and I think the helpline is a critical legal resource for bishops also.  These bishops need legal support and guidance in situations like this.  But in my mind, the first priority should be the abused child.  Why isn't there a helpline which connects bishops with a group of psychologists, social workers, and lawyers whose priority it is to help get the child out of the abusive situation (first and foremost), but also to help support the family and find treatment and healing for the child and family?  The church should be advocating for the victim with their resources first and foremost. 

The other thing I would like to see changed is education about the use of discernment in situations like this.  I think bishops need to be counseled to never use the gift of discernment as a reason to not pursue the matter further.  A bishop should NEVER dismiss allegations of abuse purely on a gut feeling.  The gift of discernment should be taught to be used as a guide to investigate further, not as a final arbiter.  The fact that the bishop in the video dismissed the allegations of abuse and sided with the abuser based on discernment makes me more than a little upset.  

In summary, I think there should be 2 helplines.  The priority being the victim, with legal support for the bishop as well.  Bishops need to be educated on how to use the gift of discernment in cases like this (to not rely on it as a final arbiter), and how to use the legal helpline by reporting only the objective information that has been reported by both parties and not what the bishop subjectively believes happened. 

I don't think women and children were at a very high priority in the past and recent too in society, when women weren't allowed to vote, or a long list of things, and were to obey their husband as long as he is righteous although I wonder if this was not always the case and things fell through the cracks and women are told to stay with abusive husbands by some LDS bishops, and children were to be seen not heard throughout history in society, not just the church. I know many women in my small circle that have been abused as children sexually, myself as well but not as extreme as some stories out there. 

The church has billions upon billions and they have not put their women and children at the top of the priority list, it's time church.

Edited by Tacenda
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52 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I've never understood the refusal to apologize as an institution for institutional actions. Kudos to the Popes for doing it. 

A great example of an institution apologizing is the apology of the Kansas City Star apologizing for its past racism. In a Sunday issue that featured a half-dozen in-depth stories about its racist history, the editor of the Kansas City Star said:

Today we are telling the story of a powerful local business that has done wrong. For 140 years, it has been one of the most influential forces in shaping Kansas City and the region. And yet for much of its early history — through sins of both commission and omission — it disenfranchised, ignored and scorned generations of Black Kansas Citians. It reinforced Jim Crow laws and redlining. Decade after early decade it robbed an entire community of opportunity, dignity, justice and recognition.

That business is The Kansas City Star.

Before I say more, I feel it to be my moral obligation to express what is in the hearts and minds of the leadership and staff of an organization that is nearly as old as the city it loves and covers:

We are sorry.

The Kansas City Star prides itself on holding power to account. Today we hold up the mirror to ourselves to see the historic role we have played, through both action and inaction, in shaping and misshaping Kansas City’s landscape. It is time that we own our history. It is well past time for an apology, acknowledging, as we do so, that the sins of our past still reverberate today.

Continue reading here: KC Star editor apologizes for poor coverage of Black news | The Kansas City Star

Edited by Analytics
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Just now, Analytics said:

A great example of an institution apologizing is the apology of the Kansas City Star apologizing for its past racism. In a Sunday issue that featured a half-dozen in-depth stories about its racist history, the editor of the Kansas City Star said:

Today we are telling the story of a powerful local business that has done wrong. For 140 years, it has been one of the most influential forces in shaping Kansas City and the region. And yet for much of its early history — through sins of both commission and omission — it disenfranchised, ignored and scorned generations of Black Kansas Citians. It reinforced Jim Crow laws and redlining. Decade after early decade it robbed an entire community of opportunity, dignity, justice and recognition.

That business is The Kansas City Star.

Before I say more, I feel it to be my moral obligation to express what is in the hearts and minds of the leadership and staff of an organization that is nearly as old as the city it loves and covers:

We are sorry.

The Kansas City Star prides itself on holding power to account. Today we hold up the mirror to ourselves to see the historic role we have played, through both action and inaction, in shaping and misshaping Kansas City’s landscape. It is time that we own our history. It is well past time for an apology, acknowledging, as we do so, that the sins of our past still reverberate today.

Continue reading here: KC Star editor apologizes for poor coverage of Black news | The Kansas City Star

Yep. It would be really easy to just blame past individual employees and draw a line under things. But the right thing to do is stand up as an institution and apologize for any harm it has done.

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15 hours ago, webbles said:

Just took the time to read through one of the appeals and found a really odd ruling.  When the victims first sued the church, bishop, and abuser parents, they alleged a criminal conspiracy.  They had a good amount of evidence that could show the criminal conspiracy but there was also evidence against it.  That usually means that a trial court would ensue where the jury gets to decide what actually happened based on all the contradictory evidence.  But the judge, apparently, didn't like that idea.  From the Opinion of the appeal (http://www.courtswv.gov/supreme-court/docs/spring2017/16-0008.pdf)

So, because he didn't want a six-week trial, he instead granted summary judgment in favor of one of the defendants on December 4, granted several motions in limine (exclusion of testimony) for the other defendants on December 30, and then granted summary judgement for the defendants on December 31.  This last summary judgement was basically because there wasn't any testimony left to warrant a trial.

So, after all the discovery, all the work that the plaintiffs did, the trial ended before it began.  That would be really frustrating.  I would almost start believing that the judge was a member of the conspiracy.

The appeals court wasn't very happy with the trial judge and basically said that all of the testimony should have been included as there was too much conflict and an actually jury trial was needed to determine the facts.

The trial never did occur because sometime later, both sides settled.

If you've got the time or inclination, what do you think about these cases this lawyer speaks of? I think I listened years ago but need to listen again.

https://www.athoughtfulfaith.org/258-taking-the-mormons-to-court-defending-sexual-abuse-victims-agains-the-lds-church-tim-kosnoff/

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6 hours ago, pogi said:

I agree that the helpline is not there to hide the abuse.  However, the fact that the first thing bishops are counseled to do when abuse is reported is to call the helpline (aka church lawyers who get paid lots of money to protect the church - that is their job), I think that says something about the priorities of the church, which I would like to see changed.  I am not opposed to the help line.  I think the church should legally protect itself and I think the helpline is a critical legal resource for bishops also.  These bishops need legal support and guidance in situations like this.  But in my mind, the first priority should be the abused child.  Why isn't there a helpline which connects bishops with a group of psychologists, social workers, and lawyers whose priority it is to help get the child out of the abusive situation (first and foremost), but also to help support the family and find treatment and healing for the child and family?  The church should be advocating for the victim with their resources first and foremost. 

My understanding of the helpline is that it does have social workers.  That is where the infamous form comes from (the one that says "do not council bishops to report") as that form was for non-lawyers on the helpline.  Also, the Deseret article from a helpline lawyer (and former sexual abuse victim) says:

Quote

And I also read from the perspective of this specialized group of attorneys and mental health professionals — my friends and former colleagues — who oversee the church’s help line. 

Maybe these health professionals are rarely used or maybe people rarely remember them in their interaction with the helpline.

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2 hours ago, webbles said:

My understanding of the helpline is that it does have social workers.  That is where the infamous form comes from (the one that says "do not council bishops to report") as that form was for non-lawyers on the helpline.  Also, the Deseret article from a helpline lawyer (and former sexual abuse victim) says:

Maybe these health professionals are rarely used or maybe people rarely remember them in their interaction with the helpline.

I was told the people who answer the phone are social workers.  I do not know how in-depth they go in advice before forwarding the call to the legal advisers or if they just take the details of abuse before passing it on.  Seems like they must give some advice if they are told not to advise one thing (reporting) and leaving that to the lawyers to explain.  I am thinking in terms of providing advice of what type and level of help for the victim is advisable.  Maybe someone who has used it could describe in detail their experience, leaving out details of the abuse and victims, etc. of course.

Edited by Calm
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5 hours ago, jkwilliams said:

I've never understood the refusal to apologize as an institution for institutional actions. Kudos to the Popes for doing it. 

I would feel very comfortable with apologies being made for what happened in the last 50 years or so.  Maybe 100.  Before that I think we don’t really have the ability to put ourselves in their shoes and understand the influences on their behaviour, so we can at least sort of divide what was most likely a result of personal failings and limitations versus influences outside of people’s control, which just seems weird to apologize for like apologizing for a natural disaster destroying a town rather than apologizing for the lack of preparation to protect the town because people didn’t want higher taxes and politicians didn’t want to look like the bad guy to educate for the need, to push for safety measures if the disaster is foreseeable and it’s practical to do something like retrofit buildings to be earthquake resistant or restore crumbling dikes meant to control floods.  If something is practical unfortunately is subjective.

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1 hour ago, Calm said:
7 hours ago, jkwilliams said:

I've never understood the refusal to apologize as an institution for institutional actions. Kudos to the Popes for doing it. 

I would feel very comfortable with apologies being made for what happened in the last 50 years or so.  Maybe 100.  Before that I think we don’t really have the ability to put ourselves in their shoes and understand the influences on their behaviour, so we can at least sort of divide what was most likely a result of personal failings and limitations versus influences outside of people’s control, which just seems weird to apologize for like apologizing for a natural disaster destroying a town rather than apologizing for the lack of preparation to protect the town because people didn’t want higher taxes and politicians didn’t want to look like the bad guy to educate for the need, to push for safety measures if the disaster is foreseeable and it’s practical to do something like retrofit buildings to be earthquake resistant or restore crumbling dikes meant to control floods.  If something is practical unfortunately is subjective.

Here is what the Church said about the Mountain Meadows massacre:

“What was done here long ago by members of our Church represents a terrible and inexcusable departure from Christian teaching and conduct. We cannot change what happened, but we can remember and honor those who were killed here.
“We express profound regret for the massacre carried out in this valley 150 years ago today and for the undue and untold suffering experienced by the victims then and by their relatives to the present time.
“A separate expression of regret is owed to the Paiute people who have unjustly borne for too long the principal blame for what occurred during the massacre. Although the extent of their involvement is disputed, it is believed they would not have participated without the direction and stimulus provided by local Church leaders and members” (Henry B. Eyring, in “Expressing Regrets for 1857 Massacre,” Church News, Sept. 15, 2007).

Is an expression of regret, as expressed above, OK or does the word "Apologize" need to be used? They can express regret for what happened but they can't truly apologize for something that was done by another generation of people a hundred years ago.   
On the other hand the Church did issue an apology for what some missionaries recently did in San Luis, Colorado:

"The LDS Church issued a strongly-worded statement Monday apologizing to the Roman Catholic Church for the actions of some of its missionaries in Colorado.
"Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were dismayed this weekend to learn of the insensitivity and disrespect shown to religious artifacts of the Sangre de Cristo Catholic Church in San Luis, Colorado, and that Latter-day Saint missionaries were evidently responsible during their missionary service in 2006," said Bruce Olsen, managing director of the church's public affairs department.
"Their actions do not represent the high standards of behavior for which our missionaries are known all over the world."

They apologized because this was an action that was committed by missionaries representing the Church today; not 100 years ago.

The Church also does not require any apologies from any person or institution that has harmed it in any way, neither do most other faithful Christian people. 
People who demand an apology are most likely church critics who are not going to accept it anyway and will claim the Church is really not sorry for the wrong doing, and that it is apologizing because of outside pressure to do so.  
What the Church does do is to build for the future and make things better for those who may feel they have been wronged in the past by the church. They have made a lot of progress in the areas of race relation, LGBT issues, women's roles, abuse, etc. In my opinion that is much better than what many people might perceive is an empty apology.

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