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(5th) Update on Arizona Abuse Case


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48 minutes ago, webbles said:

We have a letter from Adams to his wife while he was in jail and he says that after his confession, he was turning the corner.  He stopped doing anything (besides minimal pornography) and was becoming a better person.  But then, the excommunication destroyed him and he let himself become consumed by his addiction.  If that is true, then it would mean that the confession and the bishop did help the girl.  It wasn't until Adams was excommunicated that he then went on and did more abuse.  So maybe we should blame the excommunication?

I've attached page 2 and 3 from the letter (I couldn't do the entire file as it was over the size limit even after compression).

Here's the transcription of two relevant paragraphs:

 

AdamsLetter-2-compressed.pdfUnavailable AdamsLetter-3-compressed.pdfUnavailable

I'm sorry, this doesn't work. If he were arrested and put in jail, hopefully his wife would feel safe enough to leave him. And hopefully never have anything to do with him. And maybe he'd still shot himself. So he could have gone to jail, and maybe committed suicide and the girls would have hopefully been left alone. ETA: If you don't mind me asking, how do you feel about the attorneys for the church, not taking the option to report in AZ? Are they dumb? Are they negligent? 

Edited by Tacenda
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27 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I'm sorry, this doesn't work. If he were arrested and put in jail, hopefully his wife would feel safe enough to leave him. And hopefully never have anything to do with him.

Except we know she didn’t. She never admitted to anything until he was dead.

Even when he was out of town for a few months (helping his parents supposedly iirc) and she was told and shown others would help her, including her family taking her and the kids in. 

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2 hours ago, Calm said:

Does this match what we know about his work issues due to his affair?

I find it very hard to trust anything this guy said.

Adams had an affair with a woman sometime before 2013.  His wife mentions the woman in her letter to support her husband during the Border Patrol's investigation.  They weren't investigating the affair, they were investigating the fact that a non-documented woman was driving a car that was registered to Adams.  The letter from Leizza mentions forgiving him ("If I can forgive him his offense against me, the Border Patrol should be able to keep him on, as I know he won't do anything like this again").  I can't find any evidence on when that affair actually occurred.  I think a Border Patrol internal investigation takes several months so the affair could have happened before the confession which was in 2011-2012.  I don't see anything that says that it occurred after the confession.

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2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I'm sorry, this doesn't work. If he were arrested and put in jail, hopefully his wife would feel safe enough to leave him. And hopefully never have anything to do with him. And maybe he'd still shot himself. So he could have gone to jail, and maybe committed suicide and the girls would have hopefully been left alone.

I think you might have missed what I was saying.  I'm saying that Adams (if his letter is to be believed and that is a big if) was turning the corner and had actually stopped abusing his daughter because of the confession.  So the confession did help the daughter.  But the excommunication gave him a reason to stop trying and allow himself to give into his desire to abuse his daughter.  If he hadn't confessed at that time, then he might abused his daughter more.  So she did get a few years of respite because of the confession.  And I don't think he would have confessed if he knew that the bishop would have to turn him in.

2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

ETA: If you don't mind me asking, how do you feel about the attorneys for the church, not taking the option to report in AZ? Are they dumb? Are they negligent? 

I don't think the attorneys were dumb or negligent.  I believe that priest/penitent privilege is valuable so telling the bishop that he isn't allowed to report is fine to me.  We do believe that what is told to the bishop should stay private with the bishop (even the bishop's wife shouldn't learn of it).  We aren't as strict as Catholics with their seal of the confessional but we do have a form of it.  I found the judge's decision and he talks about this (page 5 under Help Line https://mormonr.org/files/nfWkdj/scan-KNnGvh-nfWkdj.pdf?r=KNnGvh&t=eyJhbGciOiJkaXIiLCJlbmMiOiJBMjU2R0NNIn0..PkWENRyhfttHaclm.QwjkXM_ig5MaWh2ktaVm4rW6ndQ4SV4Im4v_jDmVfW_ZCG7UsdTmOv4u1SBSR7Eq1hEVqimL89p6M2BzCC-sg6R1BIODf7EWGkmAzcWwLCAJzlO5BIJ0UHG5rtqb5DySdKZfBK-kPITpcUttYb8rJUBMi-UB-Ih9fEkoRKWM9ykMcaEKsDWRIhRdkkhrBbrFExL3jUUFoD8-fSlefoV-nDdbSG0Q7vKRlV6oBC43kqNfns9JG9L7EdpnKoNMpdN_0JHTZGZkQ1Av80ps5NO0FLQlGs60IbbY4zV-8q1lPFztWOvp90nPuydnIbfdMLRZ8eL1ZeLYuvlzOZ8f6pzv4cEISAvMVyIqLl14Ktk61om4GDxIDaDikRbPfPVtB-AunOczKymAWbDX2QhXdFFbd-a8JBw.KYRuj_uMEHNqeMARaoHFVg)

Quote

The Court also finds it not relevant that Herrod said the Help Line told him he was not allowed to report child abuse, instead of advising him he was not required to report it.  Plaintiffs are correct that it would not have been illegal under Arizona law for Herrod to report the abuse, but it would have violated Church doctrine, therefore he was not required to make a report.  The precise wording of the legal advice received cannot create an abuse of the exception which nullifies its application.

 

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45 minutes ago, webbles said:

We do believe that what is told to the bishop should stay private with the bishop (even the bishop's wife shouldn't learn of it). 

There is no expectation of privacy with the bishop. Sins will be revealed at the church’s discretion. To counselors, stake presidency, clerks, high council etc. Additionally your record might be permanently annotated. My understanding is that the reason for excommunication used to be announced over the pulpit but maybe I am remembering wrong.
 

For not sins? A friend emailed some concerns to her bishop, concerns she asked him to hold in confidence. He forwarded it to the ward council. No consequences. 

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
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23 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

There is no expectation of privacy with the bishop. Sins will be revealed at the church’s discretion. To counselors, stake presidency, clerks, high council etc. Additionally your record might be permanently annotated. My understanding is that the reason for excommunication used to be announced over the pulpit but maybe I am remembering wrong.

Good point.  I should have been a little clearer.  Communication between other clergy (such as counselors, stake presidency, etc) is still between clergy and it should still stay private between them.  I believe that is a difference between us and Catholics.  I don't think any communication in a confessional is ever talked about with anyone else.  But we still have an expectation of privacy that it won't go outside of those communication lines.  Including after a bishop (or another clergy member) is released.

The permanent annotation doesn't include what actually happened, as far as I know.  Only that the person isn't allowed to have certain callings.  Am I incorrect?  I've never seen an annotated record so I have no first-hand experience.

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24 minutes ago, webbles said:

The permanent annotation doesn't include what actually happened, as far as I know.  Only that the person isn't allowed to have certain callings.  Am I incorrect?  I've never seen an annotated record so I have no first-hand experience.

Records are kept in salt lake with a notation to call if I understand correctly;

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2018/11/30/mormonisms-scarlet/

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On 11/19/2023 at 12:16 PM, Calm said:

CFR please.  I know this was the conclusion when they went to the house after they had viewed the video, but was this the case for the first CPS visit?

Browsing through some documents again, I noticed I got my details off sync. So here is a lengthy post to clarify.

Here are two clues the government didn't act on before the feds got involved in sex abuse.

1) Paul had his badge taken away twice. The second time was when Paul was arrested for making terroristic threats to the Border Patrol (his former employer), estimated date 2015
 

image.png.c9033f0a76991d9ac20ac15d1b48e7d9.thumb.png.cec40a3785dc2a0976feb1b509a35314.png

2) The police were called for a case of child abuse but police didn't dig further and CPS didn't act

cZdXHJv1kP8EvtsVNFfyKRIjnmJHs4I_ThQjIJReXLCLCo9Ccvp2rSHvpt2j79_fC2ugBMI6IsYx5RdmeT6wwNogtZVcJmiP3NA59PpuerfduOEuHphMEHaDL6P5DLXwDX4rg11ZB5wDRzk7hAggPNo

A reasonable argument could be that the government should have had a policy in place that if a report is made for child abuse, the police should perform more of an investigation besides only talking to the parents. The police and CPS should have had easy access to know the father was arrested for terroristic threats, and that federal workplace agents feared his temper and his violence.

There are hundreds and hundreds of pages of documents, so I haven't had a chance to re-review them all to find more. I don't believe there was a CPS visit to the home. (But had they done so they would have seen some odd sexual things. Had they interviewed Leizza they probably wouldn't have got anything out of her based on how Warr desperately tried and couldn't get anything out of her until the arrest.)

The awful details of what Paul allowed for living conditions didn't come out until after the feds started investing Paul for sex abuse. Before that time Leizza (the mother) was tight lipped to everyone. After the arrest she kept insisting she had a rule that Paul (the father) couldn't be alone with the kids and she seemed like she was of this mindset there was no abuse, but then would give stories of some bizarre sex situations Paul allowed. Everyone who testified about her mentioned that something is fundamentally off with her personality.

Also, Paul's excommunication was definitely for Paul having sex with his mother and nothing more. The only thing the bishops knew was some kind of one-time sex abuse with the oldest daughter in 2010 (and then afterward Leizza was tight lipped to them too and insisted she ensured Paul was never alone with the kids.) Sister Warr (Border Patrol, friend of Leizza, member) never heard about any sex abuse until after the arrest.

From Sister Warr:

8IiGwx2-bUhUPFElN4zRsDnOI6WvWH0pD2UbQtMx5By4YLyUAJgbv4b4npU9vcAGY98nBehDF95HU7Q8gVGSznmg7VHoc76HQzSfndWdDxs6wmUkYU26hXCeiH-yx_t8nUfasdP3uo4_BRHsVpnCBdU


image.png.cd182fa2497e5100507539497bfa2da8.png

From Agent Allen (also a member):

image.png.3851b72a49cf9052080d23e560739786.png

 

 

 

Edited by helix
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6 hours ago, helix said:

The police and CPS should have had easy access to know the father was arrested for terroristic threats, and that federal workplace agents feared his temper and his violence.

 

Thanks for the narrative, I don’t remember reading that. 

Yes, if there was better communication between police departments over all as well as better coordinating with CPS and other services and required counseling, I think we would have less domestic violence from police officers….though stats in this difficult to study area are problematic, there are a number of risks factors for the population and given past studies, even if out of date, extra caution should be taken in this area, imo. 

6 hours ago, helix said:

don't believe there was a CPS visit to the home. (But had they done so they would have seen some odd sexual things.

Warr visited the house on occasion and did not report seeing stuff. Is CPS allowed there rummage through drawers and such?  Adams appears to have gotten less cautious as time went on and given the letter, perhaps we should be cautious in assuming how quickly he got into the behaviour he recorded and admitted to after he was arrested.  I do think that is probably one thing we can trust from the letter, that he ramped up his behaviour after the excommunication.

6 hours ago, helix said:

Also, Paul's excommunication was definitely for Paul having sex with his mother and nothing more.

I would be surprised if this was reality given it seems like he was known for having some affairs, but perhaps those were after his excommunication or I am confusing claims made in the lawsuit with documented facts.  The reason I don’t trust the court documents here is because the ultimate source is the mother, who was in denial about somethings and clearly lying about others (there are good reasons she went to jail).  I don’t trust her version of the excommunication or much of anything else for that matter, especially when she was reported as telling her daughter to stop talking about being raped.  She seems to have been very much in denial as well as outright lying (Adams was alone with his daughters at times iirc).  I can see her for some reason preferring the idea it was incest, perhaps because she didn’t see a threat of Adams leaving her in that case, where she worried he might if there was another woman involved.   Or maybe it helped her self esteem as she might viewed that relationship as just sick while another woman meant Adams wasn’t satisfied with her as his wife in her view.  Or maybe that was the story she came up with because no one asked questions where if there were affairs, then people would have been pushing her to get counseling, expressing sympathy, etc and it seems she had a hard time making conversation.  She may even had imagined it to explain why Adams left for 3 months to be with his parents.  Unless this was confirmed by more than her, I don’t think it’s settled.

Would she have been present for the council so she would have heard it directly from there and not told her by Adams?  Will bishops share info with spouses if they aren’t present?

Besides the credibility issue of Leizza, it is clear from Adams’ letter that pornography has a part in the excommunication.  Then there is the odd fact it was a year between his confession and the excommunication. I just don’t see a bishop or other leader waiting a year after a confession on incest to excommunicate someone….though he might have lied to his wife and told her he confessed before he actually did….assuming he actually did confess to something (porn most likely if so if the timing was a year imo) that is  

He also said their relationship was getting better until the excommunication, which sounds weird if she had learned he was having sex with his mother, but she was mentally and emotionally off, so who knows what her reaction would have been.

Btw, Adams’ letter reads to me like he has two purposes. First, my bet is he was trusting that it would be read by officials, attorneys , judges, whoever and it was meant to both show how he was taking responsibility and was remorseful, but also it would him cast him as a victim, that if the excommunication had been handled correctly and not delayed he never would have succumbed to his “sex addictions”.   From the letter, this is a guy who loves his wife and church and was committed to both.  It looks like he goes back adds in to remind her he has been attending church regularly and fulfilling his callings. And then after doing so well, the Church turned on him as being excommunicated caused him to lose his anchor and he had warned the bishop it would happen (so bishop’s fault, after all).  

But Adams was known, iirc, to brag about how his wife let him do whatever he wanted. He was violent at work and made threats to his bosses. There is none of that alleged respect or love for anyone in what he actually did. 

His use of “sex addictions” instead admitting to abusing his children in the letter is one of the reasons I think the letter is a load of crap.  Unless it is elsewhere in the letter, there is also no reference to the family, to the children. He is just focusing on their relationship and blaming the excommunication for putting distance between them.  It is like the children don’t even exist as a concern for him.

Which is why I see the second purpose for the letter is I am thinking he was trying to manipulate her again. He had her shut down mentally and emotionally and completely under his control, imo. He felt secure enough to leave her alone with the kids for three months while he was in another city with his parents.  He had probably gaslit her before making excuses for his behaviour, reassuring her that he cared for her, loved her, was fully committed to her (which may be why she continued to deny the abuse at times or discounted it as important) and he may very well be trying to do it again, to influence her testimony, through the letter. 

Edited by Calm
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17 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I hope you aren't surprised.  Members can be bad people and abuse can definitely happen.  Even today.  Lawsuits related to abuse will continue to happen since we can't stop bad people from doing bad things.

Though, this particular article is about abuse that occurred before 1996.  If what is reported is correct, the bishop was irresponsible.  And the church was liable and did pay out.  If this happened today, the hotline should tell the bishop to call the police since the abuse was discovered from the victim.  The therapist also should have called the police.

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32 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

A few thoughts:

First, abuse of this sort is both inherently abhorrent and entirely antithetical to the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Second, articles such as this do not adequately address the substantial changes and improvements that the Church has made in responding to allegations of abuse.  By way of illustration, many of these lawsuits pertain to misconduct that occurred decades ago, when neither the Church nor individuals nor families nor society in general were inclined to address these difficult issues.  However, the Church started formally addressing these issues in published form as early as 1985, and created the helpline in 1995, and has substantially improved and enhanced the training and resources available to bishops ever since.

Third, articles such as this also do not adequately address the legal complexities that can and do arise in relation to privileged communications.  I think there is a pronounced animus and prejudice in social commentary about this issue, as nobody is categorically indicting lawyers or doctors or therapists who also receive privileged communications involving abuse, and who are also bound by ethical considerations to not report such matters to law enforcement.  Per this article, the U.S. Department of Education estimates that one in ten children experience some form of sexual misconduct by school employees, yet nobody is indicting the entirety of educational systems for such abuses.

Fourth, articles such as this trade on high emotion and low substantive analysis.  There is precious little evidence that expanding the pool of "mandatory reporters" has had any net benefit in detecting and addressing abuse, and some evidence that expanding the pool is making matters worse for detecting/addressing such issues.  Moreover, these articles are big on sensationalism, gossip and innuendo.  There is no competent evidence of "rampant incest" in the Church.

Fifth, articles such as this are increasingly focused on a pretty narrow subset of abuse allegations, namely, instances where an ecclesiastical leaders receives allegations of abuse and do not report the matter to law enforcement.  These are, I think, increasingly rare because the Church has provided bishops with resources.

Sixth, articles such as this also trade on the filing of lawsuits, with the outcome of such suits garnering far less attention and news coverage.  That the Church is, in the main, winning these lawsuits is a pretty good indicator that the Church is complying with the law.  These lawsuits, then, become considerably less valuable as a metric for gauging the Church's efforts to address allegations of abuse.

Thanks,

-Smac

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On 11/13/2023 at 6:52 PM, smac97 said:

I've never fully bought this "waiver" argument, as "waiver" typically requires a voluntary relinquishment of a known right. 

A Catholic priest cannot break the confessional seal even if the penitent tells him to. 
 

ETA: I’m just giving info, not making a point

Edited by MiserereNobis
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31 minutes ago, MiserereNobis said:

A Catholic priest cannot break the confessional seal even if the penitent tells him to. 
 

ETA: I’m just giving info, not making a point

Wikipedia mentions rare cases when a priest sometimes needs to communicate the sin to a higher authority. When that happens, they get permission from the penitent and then writes up the facts in a way that anonymizes the person.  It feels like breaking the seal but I guess it is different.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seal_of_confession_in_the_Catholic_Church

Quote

There are limited cases where portions of a confession may be revealed to others, but always with the penitent's permission and never revealing the penitent's identity.

 

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2 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

A Catholic priest cannot break the confessional seal even if the penitent tells him to. 
 

ETA: I’m just giving info, not making a point

I was checking confessional law for another reason and came across this interesting tidbit…not only can a priest not share the info with others, they cannot alter their own behaviour….is this accurate?

Quote

Certainly not! A priest may not even change his behaviour in the most minor detail due to what he has heard in the confessional. The most extreme example that I heard in the seminary was “What if someone confessed to putting a time bomb under the priest’s bed” - could you look under the bed before retiring that evening?

Answer: NO, unless you normally looked under the bed.

How does this work out in real life? Our retired pastor often got young men (teenagers) who were serving Mass early on Sunday morning, who would come up to him - realizing that they were serving on the altar in front of God and everyone, and were not in a state of grace, i.e. could not receive Holy Communion.

So, they would ask Father if he would hear their confession - we’re talking about three minutes before the procession starts up to the altar. And Father would take the altar boy out front away from the others standing waiting for the procession to start, hear his confession, and then come back into ready to celebrate Mass.

Father could not even LOOK at the boy any differently then he had done previously. Nor could he even acknowledge that he had been hearing a confession, since everyone had witnessing him stepping out the door with the altar boy.

And if the boy had just confessed to putting poison in his mother’s sweet n’ low - Father could ask the boy, as part of his penance, to fix the situation; but he could NOT tell his mother about it, nor even ask if she had her coffee yet.

Much less could he call the police.

https://www.quora.com/Can-the-police-accept-evidence-given-in-confession-to-a-Catholic-priest

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20 minutes ago, Calm said:

I was checking confessional law for another reason and came across this interesting tidbit…not only can a priest not share the info with others, they cannot alter their own behaviour….is this accurate?

It's fundamentally critical to Catholics. Altering behavior can clue other parishioners that a specific person confessed something. A Catholic priest who violates the seal of confession is excommunicated immediately.  The moment the seal is undone is the moment the person is out of the church, it doesn't wait until a leader or committee does it.

Catholic friendly New York has assisted this by stating priests cannot testify in court as to what was learned in a confessional, even if they wanted to.

What's interesting is the US government hasn't had a full legal test of forced mandatory reporting vs a Catholic priest holding the confessional seal. This scenario would literally force the priest to choose on one hand to excommunicate himself, or on the other to be thrown in jail for the horrific crime of sitting quietly in church and listening. I suspect that if such a case ever does go to courts, priest penitent privilege will be recognized as a First Amendment right, because government compelled speech violating ones own religion is anathema to religious rights.

Edited by helix
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52 minutes ago, helix said:

It's fundamentally critical to Catholics. Altering behavior can clue other parishioners that a specific person confessed something.

It makes sense once thought about for public behaviour and since lots of private behaviour isn’t really private in many places, I can see why it expands to all behaviour.

It also throws a different light on all the Murder mysteries that involved a Catholic priest.  I feel the need to go read the Father Brown stories because my guess is Chesterton gets it right, though my guess is the Father Brown tv series gets it royally wrong like so many of its story points.

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2 hours ago, Calm said:

I was checking confessional law for another reason and came across this interesting tidbit…not only can a priest not share the info with others, they cannot alter their own behaviour….is this accurate?

https://www.quora.com/Can-the-police-accept-evidence-given-in-confession-to-a-Catholic-priest

I’ve heard they cannot alter behavior, because that might indicate to others watching something about the confession. I’ve never heard of those extreme examples quoted or what a priest should do in those situations

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2 hours ago, helix said:

What's interesting is the US government hasn't had a full legal test of forced mandatory reporting vs a Catholic priest holding the confessional seal. This scenario would literally force the priest to choose on one hand to excommunicate himself, or on the other to be thrown in jail for the horrific crime of sitting quietly in church and listening. I suspect that if such a case ever does go to courts, priest penitent privilege will be recognized as a First Amendment right, because government compelled speech violating ones own religion is anathema to religious rights.

I agree. The Catholic Church in particular has a strong argument here since the inviolability of the confessional seal goes back centuries. I don’t mean to imply that other churches shouldn’t have the same rights, but that perhaps the Catholic Church would be the best test case to go to the Supreme Court. On the other hand, the heinous child abuse scandal might work against it. 

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