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The "not a member of the clergy" seems disingenuous to me. All LDS with callings serve as clergy. Was this guy ever a SS teacher? A primary teacher? If so, he was called to those positions, by his ecclesiastical leaders, making him clergy.

I assume they'll appeal?

"No common law duty to warn..." Forget about moral obligations, people, it's not like we're a church or something. Well, except we are.

So why didn't all of these people just report this guy to the police? or maybe a family social service agency? And why did they wait until now to present their case. Could it be that they have seen people winning lots of money from the Catholic church? I don't know how that guy slipped through the cracks, but I do know that my bishop has asked me on many occasions if I have ever hit my wife or committed any other abusive act. I'm unaware of all of the facts in this case but I hesitate to start making any accusations.
Tom Sanford

They are supposed to call the police. Indeed a Bishop up in Salt Lake was arrested a few months ago because he *didn't* tell the police. And the general authorities needless to say also take a dim view.

The problem is that even with all the training you'll always have a few clueless bishops or people protecting friends or family. For instance I know of one case where the abuser was the son of the bishop. There was an obvious conflict of interest biasing the bishop's ability to act there. Yet how do you avoid that?

Regarding older charges, the fact is that before child abuse became such a public matter of discussion, most people simply couldn't believe people would do such things. So it was a taboo subject and any charge that someone was doing it was met with incredulity. Further I think that because of this public silence regarding the problem people didn't realize the serious mental conditions plaguing victims the rest of their lives. Thus abusers were able to take advantage of our society.

This is, as a tangent, one of the reasons why I tend to be skeptical of claims that our society is so bad. I'm personally convinced that sexual abuse was rampant in society up through the 80's when the topic became discussed. Then everyone became shocked because they learned of it. Yet I'd make a really strong bet that especially in the 19th century rape and sexual abuse was an order of magnitude worse than today. If only because of the psychological effect on victims and how it affects their sexuality as adolescents and adults. I just don't believe this is a recent problem.

Getting back to the original topic though, while I think we, as a church, fell down on the issue until society as a whole grappled with it, I think the brethren have largely done an outstanding job since.

Also realize that there are some inherent problems with the situation. The church *can't* due to various lawsuits I believe in the 60's, tell the congregation why people were excommunicated. So if someone is accused of abuse the church can tell the police and can excommunicate the perpetrator. But that's really the limit of what they can do. To understand why, consider what would happen if someone was falsely accused. (And that is not nearly as uncommon as some might think) Now imagine that this falsely accused person was publicly exposed in Sacrament meeting. (As sexual excommunications were commonly done for a long time) How do you think that person would feel? Would you be surprised if they left the church forever?

There is, in this issue, a large catch-22.

the Church is essentially a closed society of sorts, and under these circumstances, it is common for folks to try to protect one of their own, and also, if a perp is a Priesthood holder, I am sure, the boys club mentality might also prevail, plus there are always bound to be clueless Bishops, and Bishops who think they can solve the problem "in-house". It si one thing to ask a person to repent of they have had a beer in violation of the WOW, but quite another to try to change the behavior of a sexual offender. But I am sure t here are leaders who must have thought they could do so, otherwise wewouldnt see the reports and the law suits

Interesting comments--I wasn't taking sides in my post, just posting a link to an interesting story and making a comment on it. The stereotypical postions are so well-defined that regardless of the facts of any individual case, the parties will say exactly the same things (as noted in my post). IMHO, the Church has definitely updated and improved its approach, but there are still some systemic problems and there will always be individual cases where proper procedures or practices aren't followed.

I agree with Mr. Sanford, and to further his arguement, there is a law that protects religious leaders from testifing against those who come up to them to confess their sins. Furthermore, that bishop was probably in the middle of trying to help the family stay together and help work with the father, so that he may change. The LDS Church always stood for mercy and forgivness, something most of the Christian world forgot.

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