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(3rd) Update on Arizona Abuse Case


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4 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

I would prefer a policy of unless it is against state law, they must report.

I think if this policy were in place then the number of abuser who confess to their bishop would start trending towards zero.  Confession to a bishop at least allows the bishop to work with the abuser and hopefully end with the abuser turning themselves in.  I  do agree that if a victim or 3rd party reports the abuse to a bishop then he should report it, just like anyone should.

I'm speaking in general here and not about any specific case.

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41 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

It's not "problematic," per se. It just seems odd to suggest that the help line is about helping the abused when it's about legal compliance and limiting liability. 

It is possible that the line is about more than one thing. It can serve multiple purposes.

 

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1 minute ago, Danzo said:

It is possible that the line is about more than one thing. It can serve multiple purposes.

 

No doubt. The church seems to place the emphasis on legal reporting responsibilities.

"It provides a place for local leaders, who serve voluntarily, to receive direction from experts to determine who should make a report and whether they (local leaders) should play a role in that reporting. When a leader calls the help line, the conversation is about how to stop the abuse, care for the victim and ensure compliance with reporting obligations, even in cases when the law provides clergy-penitent privilege or restricts what can be shared from private ecclesiastical conversations."

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1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

So, in your opinion, the comments of my friends (all active members) and others reflect not their actual opinions and experiences but a bad-faith intention to find fault. Yikes. 

I always find it slightly annoying when people enlist their anonymous friends to make arguments for them.  I have all kinds of friends who think all kinds of things about all kinds of subjects.  I really hesitate to use their opinions to make arguments for my position for several reasons.

1.  It is highly possible that I do not completely understand their opinions, I might be partially  projecting my opinions onto their positions

2.  They aren't present to further inquire as to their experiences that have led to their opinions and clarify what they mean as well as their subject matter expertise

3.  There is a strong selection bias when I pick and choose which friends' opinions to present.  As I have friends with many, often contradicting experiences it is easy for me to only use friends that agree with me and my position and leave out friends that disagree with my position. People may be left with the impression that everyone I know has the same position.

 

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3 minutes ago, Danzo said:

I always find it slightly annoying when people enlist their anonymous friends to make arguments for them.  I have all kinds of friends who think all kinds of things about all kinds of subjects.  I really hesitate to use their opinions to make arguments for my position for several reasons.

1.  It is highly possible that I do not completely understand their opinions, I might be partially  projecting my opinions onto their positions

2.  They aren't present to further inquire as to their experiences that have led to their opinions and clarify what they mean as well as their subject matter expertise

3.  There is a strong selection bias when I pick and choose which friends' opinions to present.  As I have friends with many, often contradicting experiences it is easy for me to only use friends that agree with me and my position and leave out friends that disagree with my position. People may be left with the impression that everyone I know has the same position.

 

I'm sorry to annoy you. I didn't pick and choose. These are the only former bishops I've spoken with about this subject. Maybe I chose them because I know they secretly hate the church.  😈

Edited by jkwilliams
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1 hour ago, bsjkki said:
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The handbook is there.  The guidelines are there.  The helpline is there.  The "line of authority" is there.  Seems like bishops are both "trained" and "equipped."

No, not really.

Yes, really.

1 hour ago, bsjkki said:

They are not trained in human behavior.  Reactions to trauma.  They can do great harm. They can easily make the wrong call. Like this Bishop did in this case. And the next Bishop.

Meh.  This is unserious stuff.  Bishops have ample resources available to them.  

1 hour ago, bsjkki said:

That shows a lack of training or the wrong training.

Hasty generalization.

There are many many hundreds, thousands even, of instances where bishops have been instrumental in detecting and stopping abuse, and in assisting abuse victims.  The difference is that the Church's efforts in those instances are given vastly short shrift.  The system working the way it is intended to is not newsworthy.  The system substantially failing, as it did in this case, is newsworthy.  See, e.g., here:

Quote

The phrase man bites dog is a shortened version of an aphorism in journalism that describes how an unusual, infrequent event (such as a man biting a dog) is more likely to be reported as news than an ordinary, everyday occurrence with similar consequences, such as a dog biting a man. An event is usually considered more newsworthy if there is something unusual about it; a commonplace event is less likely to be seen as newsworthy, even if the consequences of both events have objectively similar outcomes. The result is that rarer events more often appear as news stories, while more common events appear less often, thus distorting the perceptions of news consumers of what constitutes normal rates of occurrence.

The phenomenon is also described in the journalistic saying, "You never read about a plane that did not crash".[1]
...

The reasoning errors caused by this phenomenon are associated with the availability heuristic, which is the mental shortcut that relies on the immediate examples that come to mind when evaluating a specific topic. For example, because airplane crashes are frequently reported, they are easy to call to mind. This leads to people having inaccurate perceptions of how dangerous air travel is.[6]

This is, I think, what we are seeing here.

1 hour ago, bsjkki said:

There are few men on this board I would trust to deal with a teen rape victim.

A bishop can provide broad pastoral care, but otherwise is better off referring "a teen rape victim" to medical and mental health professionals to cope with the trauma.

1 hour ago, bsjkki said:

They must have heard from the helpline, they didn’t have to report, so they didn’t. Bad call. I would prefer a policy of unless it is against state law, they must report.  If a wife can report her husband, the Bishops need to get on board and report all abuse. Bishops should understand their default is to be a mandatory reporter. It is the job of experts, to investigate claims.

With respect, that is an unwise approach.  It does not account for all sorts of significant variables.  The priest/penitent privilege.  The statute of limitations.  And very serious "unintended consequences" as laid out in this article: Unintended Consequences of Expanded Mandatory Reporting Laws.

Some excerpts:

Quote

In particular, Pennsylvania expanded its definitions of mandatory reporters, requiring child abuse awareness training for any licensed health care professional in the state and significantly expanding mandatory lay reporters to include essentially any individual in contact with children, rather than specifically those in contact with children by virtue of their profession. In Philadelphia, these new reporting requirements have flooded the reporting hotline, contributing to excessive waiting times, unanswered calls, spurious calls, and unnecessary reports, leading to the inability to pursue many of these reports.
...
There is no indication that the increase in reporting has improved the safety of Philadelphia’s children, and there is reason to believe it may detract. 
...
Mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect has a history of over 5 decades in the United States. Yet this policy, like many otherapproaches in the field of child abuse policy, is lacking in evidence.
...
Over the past decades, most states have considerably expanded their mandatory reporting laws in both domains, although none have proven the effectiveness of this approach.
...
The majority of North American child welfare experts believe that mandatory reporting laws are an important measure in identifying child maltreatment, and dissent is rare.  Indeed, the policy has broad ethical and moral appeal. Yet no clear endpoints have been recognized as useful indicators ofthe efficacy of this approach, and no data exist to demonstrate that incremental increases in reporting have contributed to child safety.
...
Rates of the substantiation of reports may indicate the successful identification of abused or at-risk children, yet increased mandatory reporting requirements have not been consistently proven to correlate with higher rates of substantiated cases.
...
Despite a dearth of data, at any juncture at which child abuse policy is debated, the result is nearly always additional expansion ofthe requirements for mandatory reporting. This expansion seems to make for good politics, because child abuse legislation garners broad bipartisan support, but is it good policy?
...
Lax legal statutes have not been proven to be a barrier to reporting, and there is no evidence to suggest that changes in mandatory reporting requirements will address the problem of physician nonreporting. In contrast, mandatory reporting by the lay public is more likely to result in spurious reports.
...
Actively increasing the number of reports from nonspecialized individuals may cause harm in a number of ways. Most saliently, mechanisms to increase reporting do not necessarily include increased funding or additional personnel dedicated to children’s services.  Accordingly, increased reporting depletes resources that are already spread thin and diverts attention away from children who need it the most. 
...
Reports of neglect disproportionately target low-income families, who may experience a Child Protective Services intervention as an additional hardship, both emotionally and sometimes financially.
...
Children subjected to questioning, physical exams, and occasionally temporary removal from their homes experience this as a traumatic event. 
...
Well-intentioned individuals may be more inclined to report suspicions of maltreatment rather than attempt to assist families, a concern that is particularly relevant in cases of low-income families suspected of neglect.  Rather than stepping in to assist needy families with resources, the new mandatory reporting laws may lead individuals to report underfed or poorly dressed children. 
...
Fear of reporting may prevent families from seeking help, whereas assurance of confidentiality has been shown to increase help-seeking behaviors.

I have seen first-hand an instance in which a "mandatory report" nearly destroyed a young family.  

1 hour ago, bsjkki said:

I have a friend who served as a branch president and is now a Bishop. First time lots of training and a responsive SP. 

No training this time around. 

Much training is available through materials from the Church.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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6 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

No doubt. The church seems to place the emphasis on legal reporting responsibilities.

"It provides a place for local leaders, who serve voluntarily, to receive direction from experts to determine who should make a report and whether they (local leaders) should play a role in that reporting. When a leader calls the help line, the conversation is about how to stop the abuse, care for the victim and ensure compliance with reporting obligations, even in cases when the law provides clergy-penitent privilege or restricts what can be shared from private ecclesiastical conversations."

As someone who often gives legal advise, I believe it is very important for people to understand the law and what is legal and not legal.  Not following the law can have serious consequences (following the law can have serious consequences as well).

Often laws contradict one another and often reporting illegal behavior results in worse results than not reporting illegal behavior.

Its tricky navigating the law.  I would advise anyone to get advise from a lawyer before communicating with law enforcement for any non emergency situation. 

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4 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I'm sorry to annoy you. I didn't pick and choose. These are the only former bishops I've spoken with about this subject. Maybe I chose them because I know they secretly hate the church.  😈

regardless of who they are and what they know, the are not present.    Maybe I can consult with former bishops I know and then we can compare the opinions of anonymous people I know with anonymous people you know.  Then we can proxy argue their positions for them. 

Edited by Danzo
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Just now, Danzo said:

regardless of who they are and what they know, the are not present.    Maybe I can consult with former bishops I know and then we can compare the opinions of anonymous people I know with anonymous people I know.  Then we can proxy argue their positions for them. 

I'm not proxy arguing their positions. I was just suggesting that not everyone shares smac's view of the help line. Sorry that bothers you.

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13 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I'm not proxy arguing their positions. I was just suggesting that not everyone shares smac's view of the help line. Sorry that bothers you.

I am sure a very few people share smac's view of the help line.  His opinions are his own.  Not having any personal experience with the hotline, I cannot comment with personal experience. 

Those that do have experience with the hotline probably have varying experiences.  I am sure situations are different with every call.  Different people answer each call and the law and situation change.   The attorneys on the other end are not infallible.  Often the law is not clear.  More than once, I have had to tell clients that their situation is not clearly addressed by law or precedence.  I could defend either position and they would have to choose what the want to do.  I have clients where I have advised them that there is no practical way for them in their circumstance to comply with the law and they have to decide how to do the least illegal action.  

Calling someone in the government often does not help.  It is a saying in my profession that if you call the government and ask them what the law is and you get an answer you don't like, hang up and call again and they will give you a different answer, repeat the process until you get the answer you want. 

I am sure if an audit were done on the church's hotline (or any hotline for that matter) you would find the answers often inconsistent  because in the end it is a person who answers the line and people are different.  Since often these calls are answered by lawyers they give a legal answer.  If it were a social workers, it would be from a social worker's perspective, people's profession will always color their advise. 

Edited by Danzo
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5 minutes ago, Danzo said:

I am sure a very few people share smac's view of the help line.  His opinions are his own.  Not having any personal experience with the hotline, I cannot comment with personal experience. 

Those that do have experience with the hotline probably have varying experiences.  I am sure situations are different with every call.  Different people answer each call and the law and situation change.   The attorneys on the other end are not infallible.  Often the law is not clear.  More than once, I have had to tell clients that their situation is not clearly addressed by law or precedence.  I could defend either position and they would have to choose what the want to do.  I have clients where I have advised them that there is no practical way for them in their circumstance to comply with the law and they have to decide how to do the least illegal action.  

Calling someone in the government often does not help.  It is a saying in my profession that if you call the government and ask them what the law is and you get an answer you don't like, hang up and call again and they will give you a different answer, repeat the process until you get the answer you want. 

I am sure if an audit were done on the church's hotline (or any hotline for that matter) you would find the answers often inconsistent  because in the end it is a person who answers the line and people are different.  Since often these calls are answered by lawyers they give a legal answer.  If it were a social workers, it would be from a social worker's perspective, people's profession will always color their advise. 

I was responding to the idea that only those hostile to the church (such as the AP reporter and the attorney quoted) feel the help line is more about legal compliance than anything else. 

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1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

It's also a hasty generalization to say that anyone whose experience leads them to believe the system is broken (whatever that means) is a fault-finder buying into an attack narrative.

I didn't call them "fault-finders."

But the AP article is plainly an "attack narrative."  And their characterization of the Church's "system" as being "broken" seemed congruent with it.

1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

I really don't understand this us vs. them attitude.

Who is the "them" here?

1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

It's OK for church members to disagree on how well the church is doing on certain issues.

I haven't suggested otherwise.  I started this thread, after all, with acknowledgments and critiques of how the Church failed to protect the victims in this instance.

1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

Expressing reservations about a church policy is not a full-throated attack on the church as depraved and indifferent.

The AP article is plainly imputing these things onto the Church.

Characterizations like "{the helpline} exists to shield the church from legal liability rather than to help abuse victims" sure seemed congruent with that critique.

1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

Maybe if we lose the hyperbole, we might actually have reasonable conversations about what, to me, is a serious issue worthy of open discussion.

I didn't see my comments as hyperbolic.  But I will defer to you on that point and apologize.

Thanks,

-Smac

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14 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I was responding to the idea that only those hostile to the church (such as the AP reporter and the attorney quoted) feel the help line is more about legal compliance than anything else. 

However, it should be obvious to everyone that the AP reporter and the Attorney are hostile to the church.  I understand the hotline is manned by attorneys, what other advise would an attorney give than advise about legal compliance? Those are not priesthood leaders on the hotline. 

Often, people who are member of the church ask me if they pay enough tithing.  I always tell them that I am not their priesthood leader and I don't answer that question.  I give tax advise.  I can tell them to contribute appreciated stock (to avoid capital gains and get a charitable deduction) I can tell them to pay tithing as a qualified charitable to distribution to save tax, but my advise is legal, not moral.  I can't tell them if they are paying too much or not enough because that is not what I am there for. 

The don't (or shouldn't) come to me for moral advise because that is not what I do.  

The same for the hotline.  The bishop goes to it for legal advise (he would be a fool not to), not moral advise.

In a fifth Sunday lesson a few years ago, we were instructed, if we suspected Child abuse by or too a member of the church to first call the authorities and then the bishop would also like to know so he could call the hotline afterwards to make sure everyone complied with the law.  In other words, the legal call was secondary to the call to law enforcement.  I would even say the call to law enforcement is often a legal decision to protect one legally and not a moral decision because too many times, in my experience, law enforcement messes things up more than they help. 

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1 hour ago, ksfisher said:
Quote

I would prefer a policy of unless it is against state law, they must report.

I think if this policy were in place then the number of abuser who confess to their bishop would start trending towards zero. 

Yep.  And at the same time, the various "unintended consequences" described in this article would proliferate.

1 hour ago, ksfisher said:

Confession to a bishop at least allows the bishop to work with the abuser and hopefully end with the abuser turning themselves in. 

I know of just such a situation.  The abuser, at the behest of the bishop, reported himself to law enforcement.  As a result, he was sentenced to prison, serving several years.  His wife divorced him.  He will likely be on the sex offender registry for the rest of his life.

His life is ruined.  He ruined it.  But at least he stopped ruining the life of his victim.  And his bishop was instrumental in persuading him to take appropriate steps to stop the abuse and report himself to law enforcement.

1 hour ago, ksfisher said:

I  do agree that if a victim or 3rd party reports the abuse to a bishop then he should report it, just like anyone should.

I'm speaking in general here and not about any specific case.

What are your thoughts about the "unintended consequences" stemming from mandatory reporting laws, as referenced in this article?  I am concerned that we have essentially codified the groundwork for a moral panic.  Well-intentioned but untrained individuals may, as an expression of both good intentions and self-preservation, end up doing more harm than good.  From the article:

Quote

Lax legal statutes have not been proven to be a barrier to reporting, and there is no evidence to suggest that changes in mandatory reporting requirements will address the problem of physician nonreporting. In contrast, mandatory reporting by the lay public is more likely to result in spurious reports.
...
Actively increasing the number of reports from nonspecialized individuals may cause harm in a number of ways. Most saliently, mechanisms to increase reporting do not necessarily include increased funding or additional personnel dedicated to children’s services.  Accordingly, increased reporting depletes resources that are already spread thin and diverts attention away from children who need it the most. 

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 minutes ago, bsjkki said:
Quote
Quote

They are not trained in human behavior.  Reactions to trauma.  They can do great harm. They can easily make the wrong call. Like this Bishop did in this case. And the next Bishop.

Meh.  This is unserious stuff.  Bishops have ample resources available to them.  

Well, that was highly dismissive.

You are right.  I apologize.

Nevertheless, the underlying point remains: Bishops have ample resources available to them.  

2 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

They aren’t trained and choose whether to use the resources and how.

I don't know what this means.  Bishops are given ample instruction on using and complying with the policies and procedures in the Handbook, in working with the Stake President, and so on.

2 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

They are not trained in how to communicate with traumatized youth.

Very few people are.  Parents and family members and friends aren't.  Nobody suggests that these people cannot help victims of abuse because they lack formal training, yet that is what you are saying about bishops.

2 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

They can cause more harm due to ignorance. They miss signs of rape and abuse. 

So do a lot of people.  Family.  Friends.  School teachers.  

Conversely, bishops can do a lot of good, and can detect "signs of rape and abuse."

Are you suggesting that bishops receive specific training on how to identify child abuse and neglect (see, e.g., here for some examples)?  See, e.g., here:

Quote

What are signs that someone is being abused?

Note: You are neither expected nor encouraged to diagnose whether someone is struggling with issues related to abuse. This information can help you recognize when professional intervention may be needed.

Signs of abuse are not always easy to recognize. Someone who has experienced, or is experiencing, abuse could show a number of signs that indicate something is wrong, but abuse may be happening even if there are no outward signs. Also, signs that might indicate abuse could be caused by other difficulties. Talking to the victim can be a good first step to understanding what is happening. However, victims often have a difficult time sharing that they have been or are being abused. If there is any indication of abuse, read “What should I do if I know or suspect someone is being abused?

As children of God and brothers and sisters, we have a responsibility to be aware of the needs and concerns of others and to reach out to them in love. Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, former Young Women General President, taught, “[We] take care of each other, watch out for each other, comfort each other, and are there for each other through thick and thin” (“Sisterhood: Oh, How We Need Each Other,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 119).

General Warning Signs

Victims of abuse often show more than one warning sign. Signs of abuse may vary based on the type of abuse (sexual, physical, emotional, or verbal) and the age of the person being abused.

Victims of abuse may display the following warning signs:

  • Acting differently than they normally do

  • Exhibiting increased aggressive behavior

  • Being jumpier or more on guard

  • Having difficulty with sleep or having nightmares

  • Withdrawing and not wanting to be around other people

  • Losing interest in activities they once liked

  • Having unexplained physical injuries

  • Being more moody (angry, depressed, sad) than normal

  • Being preoccupied with sex

  • Engaging in harmful behaviors (this could include self-harm, drug use, and risky or unhealthy sexual behavior).

These signs alone do not mean that the person is being abused. To learn more about how to talk to a person you suspect may be experiencing abuse, read the article “What should I do if I know or suspect someone is being abused?

Emotions, Thoughts, and Behaviors Commonly Experienced by Survivors of Sexual Abuse

Learning the emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that may result after sexual trauma can help you recognize signs of abuse. It can also help you understand and empathize with victims and encourage them to seek help. While the root of these emotions, thoughts, and behaviors is the abuse, the effects can be seen in many areas of a victim’s life.

Emotions

  • Struggles with self-doubt and confidence.

  • Feels shame.

  • Is confused about identity.

  • Feels angry at self and others.

  • Struggles with excessive guilt.

  • Is fearful and struggles with trusting others.

  • Hurts all the time; feels exhausted.

  • Feels like everyone is looking at them and can see right through them.

  • Experiences depression or anxiety.

  • Is indecisive.

Thoughts

Wonders:

  • Why is this happening to me?

  • Why don’t people love me?

  • Why can’t I be good?

  • What has happened to me?

  • Why don’t they leave me alone?

  • Why can’t I be like others?

  • Why does it always happen to me?

  • Why doesn’t God or someone else stop it?

Blames and condemns self:

  • I must have caused it somehow.

  • It must be my fault.

  • I must be a very bad person.

  • There must be something terribly wrong with me.

Sometimes believes:

  • God doesn’t love me.

  • My parents can’t love me.

  • My situation will never change.

Additional thoughts:

  • Doesn’t trust own judgment.

  • Believes the world would be better off without them.

  • Can’t keep up with everyone else.

  • Has an “I don’t care” attitude.

Behaviors

  • Withdraws or lashes out at others.

  • Becomes extremely religious.

  • Struggles with authority, including Church leaders.

  • Develops medical problems.

  • Attempts suicide or engages in self-harm.

  • Engages in unhealthy sexual behaviors; may experience sexual problems in marriage.

  • Has unhealthy relationships and allows others to take advantage of them.

  • Often takes the blame; accepts guilt and responsibility.

  • Tries to be perfect.

  • Feels intense compassion for others.

  • Over-focused on others’ needs (including family) above their own.

Additional behaviors in children and teenagers:

  • Cries easily.

  • Wants and craves attention from adults, maybe even the offender.

  • Avoids or is uninterested or overly interested in age-appropriate discussion about sex.

  • Has many unexplained fears.

  • Neglects schoolwork, or escapes through excessive schoolwork, sports, or other activities.

  • Lies easily.

  • Rebels against parents and teachers.

  • Runs away from home.

Community and Church Resources

(Some of the resources listed below are not created, maintained, or controlled by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While these materials are intended to serve as additional resources, the Church does not endorse any content that is not in keeping with its doctrines and teachings.)

Related Articles

Do you acknowledge these resources as presently existing?  Or do you find them insufficient or not given sufficient emphasis?

2 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

Sorry, too many stories about failure here. A teen girl reported three times to her church leaders her dad did inappropriate things with her. She was ignored. The dad found a new victim. He was in the Bishopric. A charmer. His daughter was just ‘messed up.’ 

Now he is in jail. But his new victim would have been spared if his daughter had been listened to. 

So, if the church expects Bishops to discuss sexual topics with minors, they need to do more training. It has not been enough.

The Church "expects Bishops to discuss sexual topics with minors?"  Where are you getting that?

Thanks,

-Smac

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25 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I don't know what this means.  Bishops are given ample instruction on using and complying with the policies and procedures in the Handbook, in working with the Stake President, and so on.

So you think all the Bishop's everywhere do this? You think all the SP give great advice? You think every Bishop relies equally on resources, the spirit and not on their own understanding. That only happens in a fairy tale of perfection that does not exist in the real world.  It is an uncomfortable truth, unless training is required, it is a very unequal situation on the ground. And, I mean, they need enough training to know when they are in over their heads and to call not just the legal help line, but for expertly trained therapists. 

Let me ask the Bishop's out there on this site. Do you feel more training on this topic would have prepared you to serve? How much training did you receive? 

25 minutes ago, smac97 said:

The Church "expects Bishops to discuss sexual topics with minors?"  Where are you getting that?

It's part of the repentance process. Some youth, especially young children and minors still feel the need to 'confess' even if they were abused. Minors are expected to confess sexual sins. This is not a controversial statement. 

*Is your article to the 'sisters' required reading for Bishops. That would be a start. Do Bishop's get professionals to come in and discuss these topics? 

Edited by bsjkki
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12 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

So you think all the Bishop's everywhere do this? You think all the SP give great advice? You think every Bishop relies equally on resources, the spirit and not on their own understanding. That only happens in a fairy tale of perfection that does not exist in the real world.  It is an uncomfortable truth, unless training is required, it is a very unequal situation on the ground. And, I mean, they need enough training to know when they are in over their heads and to call not just the legal help line, but for expertly trained therapists. 

Let me ask the Bishop's out there on this site. Do you feel more training on this topic would have prepared you to serve? How much training did you receive? 

It's part of the repentance process. Some youth, especially young children and minors still feel the need to 'confess' even if they were abused. Minors are expected to confess sexual sins. This is not a controversial statement. 

*Is your article to the 'sisters' required reading for Bishops. That would be a start. Do Bishop's get professionals to come in and discuss these topics? 

Training was non-existent.

I had a bad experience calling the hotline. In my case I reported a physical abuse where the mom climbed on her teen daughter and hit her repeatedly in the face while the dad watched. They thought it was a proper punishment. The helpline said it didn't rise to the level of reporting and that I shouldn't report. So I didn't. I regret it.

I communicated very closely with the SP every step of the way and followed his counsel. I regret it. 

I ultimately released the mom from her calling as YW Pres. and things really went to crap from there. The SP sided with the abusers. There's tons of additional story that no one will care about but this event was very eye-opening to me...in a negative way. The church, the SP etc all protected the abusers, even calling the dad as my replacement as bishop. It was inspired ;) 

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7 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Training was non-existent.

I had a bad experience calling the hotline. In my case I reported a physical abuse where the mom climbed on her teen daughter and hit her repeatedly in the face while the dad watched. They thought it was a proper punishment. The helpline said it didn't rise to the level of reporting and that I shouldn't report. So I didn't. I regret it.

I communicated very closely with the SP every step of the way and followed his counsel. I regret it. 

I ultimately released the mom from her calling as YW Pres. and things really went to crap from there. The SP sided with the abusers. There's tons of additional story that no one will care about but this event was very eye-opening to me...in a negative way. The church, the SP etc all protected the abusers, even calling the dad as my replacement as bishop. It was inspired ;) 

That would definitely lead to a crisis of faith. The bullies/abusers do tend to be expert manipulators. In my ward, a family had their son assaulted at Young Men's. He was taken down aggressively by a boy with a blackbelt onto the floor into a headlock. It terrified him. This boy has been aggressive and also punched a kid in the face at scout camp. The family wanted an apology. Never came and they took it up the chain. The kid was called as Teacher's Quorum President.

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Reporting to abuse to the authorities doesn't always help 

In our ward there was a member who prostituted her self and her children to get money to buy drugs. The authorities were contacted.  She lost her children and went to jail.  Then she got out and her children were given back to her.  Then her children were abused and taken away.  wash rinse and repeat.  She was a sweet girl.  Last I heard she lost her children again, but I wouldn't be surprised if she ends up back with them again.   From what I know this experience is not unique.  The "authorities" are always wanting to send the children back to their birth parents long after its clear that these people don't deserve to parents. 

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39 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Training was non-existent.

I had a bad experience calling the hotline. In my case I reported a physical abuse where the mom climbed on her teen daughter and hit her repeatedly in the face while the dad watched. They thought it was a proper punishment. The helpline said it didn't rise to the level of reporting and that I shouldn't report. So I didn't. I regret it.

I communicated very closely with the SP every step of the way and followed his counsel. I regret it. 

I ultimately released the mom from her calling as YW Pres. and things really went to crap from there. The SP sided with the abusers. There's tons of additional story that no one will care about but this event was very eye-opening to me...in a negative way. The church, the SP etc all protected the abusers, even calling the dad as my replacement as bishop. It was inspired ;) 

Holy. Crap.

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12 minutes ago, Danzo said:

Reporting to abuse to the authorities doesn't always help 

In our ward there was a member who prostituted her self and her children to get money to buy drugs. The authorities were contacted.  She lost her children and went to jail.  Then she got out and her children were given back to her.  Then her children were abused and taken away.  wash rinse and repeat.  She was a sweet girl.  Last I heard she lost her children again, but I wouldn't be surprised if she ends up back with them again.   From what I know this experience is not unique.  The "authorities" are always wanting to send the children back to their birth parents long after its clear that these people don't deserve to parents. 

The system definitely failed those kids but at least church leaders did the right thing and reported so that the kids had social workers and got some care...hopefully. Severing parental rights is possible but not the default. Doesn't help our foster care system is a mess. I also talked with a social worker who said the worst thing she deals with is adopted parents returning the kids. She says often, you celebrate a placement but then see them back on the case load. It's really awful. 

Edited by bsjkki
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5 hours ago, jkwilliams said:

No doubt. The church seems to place the emphasis on legal reporting responsibilities.

"It provides a place for local leaders, who serve voluntarily, to receive direction from experts to determine who should make a report and whether they (local leaders) should play a role in that reporting. When a leader calls the help line, the conversation is about how to stop the abuse, care for the victim and ensure compliance with reporting obligations, even in cases when the law provides clergy-penitent privilege or restricts what can be shared from private ecclesiastical conversations."

Or the first part is easily understood by most, what it means, etc., while the legal stuff tends to be more confusing, so they add a sentence or two for clarity.  But in every case I have read instructions, the “help the victim” comes first in a list.  My understanding is that it is social/mental health workers who answer the phone first and then the bishop gets connected with a lawyer.  Given the way our memories work (the last things we deal with tend to be easier to remember than the first, the first easier than the middle, etc) as well as the connotations attached to lawyers, I can see how it may feel as one remembers the conversation it was mostly about the legal compliance aspects.

In my opinion though, the legal compliance aspect is better if it is clearly understood by the bishop because then they can put more thought, energy, and time into dealing with the emotional needs created by the abuse which will by their nature be an absolute mess to deal with as well as physical needs, which often will be problematic if those who are the caregivers/guardians of the victims refuse help offered, as happened in this case where the wife rejected any help offered to leave the home with the children or help with keeping the husband away from the kids every time it was offered her, which appears to be quite a few times, including offering protection by a border patrol agents (and possibly agents).  (Not a great day for my writing…sorry for the run-ons)

The lawsuit complaint I saw argued the Church and its agents were acting in loci parentis, but are they really if the parent refuses to accept their direction?

I don’t see how any church agent could have forced the mother to leave when she refused or be able to take the kids without her permission.  That would be kidnapping (I am not saying anyone here is demanding this of the Church, but I have read comments saying the Church had this obligation elsewhere…apparently simply because the Church has a lot of money).    She refused to go to therapy, which the bishop offered to pay for, iirc.  Also from various reports, the Church or its agents gave medical, financial, social, and physical aid through helping the mother pay bills, buy food, babysitting the kids, etc.  Extensive support was given, more was offered repeatedly and rejected by mother and father.

 

I see the one real failure being not reporting.  

I can see why the border patrol agent/Primary teacher/VT likely didn’t report as she said the mother always denied abuse until after the arrest and the kids never said anything and there were no physical signs she could see (is asking a kid to take off their shirt because of suspicions legal?), so she only suspected no matter how strongly, not knew of the abuse. I wonder if the BP agent had received professional training about acting on suspicion that made her hesitant to report or if she was worried that if she, someone who was with the family so much, could not find any definite evidence, that if she reported her suspicions to CPS, that the investigation likely would find nothing definite and not be able to act, but would instead only alert the husband and result in backlash from him…and given his known violent temper and her belief he would “go postal” one day, she likely imo feared that response would be killing his family.  Thus her efforts were to pressure the wife into admitting it or leaving, efforts that were not successful because the mother has something way off kilter in her brain, imo, and likely did from the start (which is why he married her and why she hide the marriage from her family initially).

The bishop, however, knew for a fact he had molested his daughter and that it had continued for a time.  Maybe wishful thinking made him talk himself into believing that it had stopped.  There are conflicting reports on why the father was excommunicated.  The wife told people it was because he had sex with his own mother.  He was also a known adulterer.  But there are reports he was exxed for raping his daughter. If it was the last, then it seems the bishop knew it hadn’t stopped.  In that case I can see no justification for not reporting it as it was an ongoing crime that caused harm.

———

For those who have used the helpline, do those one talks to make it clear immediate harm is the exception to the confidentiality according to church policy (am I spacing?  I can’t find this in the Handbook, but remember reading it; is it actually Arizona law and not church policy and I am mixed up)?  If not, I believe this*** should be made a part of every phone call even if there is no reason to assume it is ongoing because circumstances can change for the worse or they learn the abuse was more serious as abusers typically downplay their own actions even when confessing (the bishop in this case said something like this, that he hadn’t been told the worst stuff) and the bishop shouldn’t need to call the hotline again to clarify, imo.  My ideal would be reading the policy to each bishop and then asking them to explain it back to be sure they understood as well as signing off with a “if you become aware that…., you need to remember church policy is to report it”.

***If I am wrong and immediate harm is not an exception to the rule of calling the hotline and reporting, it should be imo.

I know we in no way should be listening to actual calls, but it would be helpful to see a dramatized version of a call or a training transcript.  I assume they likely have something like already.  Given how open they are being with the Handbook and training materials these days in many areas, I am not seeing a problem going public with this, but I am not aware of any legal implications either.  Maybe there is an issue if there is a set piece of advice and putting out a public video would give the appearance of one even if it was meant as simply a general approach.

Edited by Calm
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58 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

In my case I reported a physical abuse where the mom climbed on her teen daughter and hit her repeatedly in the face while the dad watched.

Did they admit to this or was it the daughter’s report?  Trying to see how it did not meet requirements. 

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