October 29, 2018
By Jefferson Robbins
A civil suit accusing the Mormon church of allowing Indian children to be sexually abused in church-managed foster care in Wenatchee was dismissed last week after the case fell dormant.
Chelan County Superior Court Judge Kristin Ferrera dismissed the case Friday on a motion from County Clerk Kim Morrison, who noted that no further motions had been filed since Coeur d’Alene attorney Craig Vernon brought the suit in August 2017. Such motions and dismissals are common if parties to a civil case do not pursue it in court.
The Chelan County case was the last of about a dozen filed by Vernon’s law firm on behalf of sexual abuse survivors, most from the Navajo Nation or the Crow Tribe of Montana, against the LDS Church over the last three years. Most have since settled or reached out-of-court agreements. Vernon could not be reached for comment Monday morning.
Vernon’s lawsuit claimed the victim, a Crow tribal member who was not identified by name, was abused in the care of a Wenatchee family that fostered her under the now-discontinued Indian Placement Program. That program, carried out by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, removed children from American Indian communities and placed them in the foster care of white Mormon families between the 1950s and the mid-1990s.
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