Lawsuit alleges LDS Church, leaders knew of child sex abuse but failed to report it


December 21, 2020

By Larry D. Curtis

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently announced policy changes in its revised, updated handbook, but a lawsuit in Arizona filed against the Church earlier this month seeks to change how its abuse helpline handles reporting of child sexual abuse.

The Arizona lawsuit contends that the sexual abuse hotline of the Church contributed to years of ongoing rape and sexual and physical abuse of three Arizona children because it instructed local Church leaders not to report it. Bishops in charge of local congregations are instructed to call the helpline for assistance in abuse cases.

A bishop is a volunteer leader appointed over a local congregation (known as a ward) with duties similar to those of a pastor, priest or rabbi. Typical length of service is five years. The Church provided a statement from lawyer Bill Maledon, representing the case in Arizona that said it offers assistance to the victims but will also “vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit.”

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