Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ex-Mormon Woman Sues LDS Church And Former Missionary For Alleged Sexual Abuse In Ireland

The Irish Times reports that a woman who is a former member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is suing the Church and a former missionary for alleged sex abuse. Specifically, the unidentified woman is suing the former missionary for alleged sexual abuse, assault and false imprisonment, and is suing the Church for alleged fraudulent concealment, allowing the missionary to have unsupervised contact with her, exposing her to risk of injury and allegedly allowing her to be exploited. While the former missionary has not been identified by the media, he is known to the plaintiff and has been served with the applicable documentation.

The woman claims the abuse began in March 2007 when the missionary took charge of her religious instruction. She claims the abuse took place at various locations outside Dublin, and that the missionary began with inappropriate touching before progressing to more serious forms of abuse including oral sex. She also claims the missionary forcibly restrained and sexually abused her on one occasion while another church elder acted as sentry and alerted the man that other church members were approaching. When she asked the missionary to stop, he refused, claiming it was O.K. for him because “was worthy and had been chosen by God”, and that it was “manifested through the holy spirit”. The missionary allegedly told her that dreadful things would happen to her if she told anyone what was happening.

When she finally told other local church members about it, they allegedly instructed her not to reveal it to her non-Mormon parents or the gardaĆ­ (Irish police). The missionary was transferred to another part of Ireland before returning to the U.S. While the woman eventually joined the Church, she soon left it in 2008. The woman claims her health, well-being and relationships with others have suffered, and she also suffered self-harm, sleep deprivation and an eating disorder as a result of what happened to her.

There's been no published reaction by the LDS Church to this case. In other sexual abuse cases involving the LDS Church, the Church has tended to settle out of court. Since the reported events took place rather recently, in 2007, this case has more credibility than the typical case where the victim suddenly wakes up one day and decides he was molested 40 years ago and now wants to get paid for it. This woman obviously realizes that justice delayed can become justice denied.

It may seem like there is an increase in sexual abuse of minors. But it also could be the result of increased awareness and reporting. Only reported crimes can be documented, and people nowadays are less reluctant to come forward and report than they were in the past. This is a good thing because no one who is molested as a child should feel shame about reporting it. A child or young teen incurs no legal or spiritual obligation to put up a physical fight to resist abuse, regardless of what a couple of other bloggers have suggested.

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