After two reports detailing decades of abuse within the Catholic Church in Germany and Pennsylvania came out in recent weeks, a new report has been leaked detailing sexual abuse within the Mormon Church.
MormonLeaks, a website dedicated to exposing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), published a document leaked to them showing how the church covered up cases of sex abuse within its ranks. According to the secret document, the church in 2012 appeared to fail to notify police authorities when a Branch President and several missionaries were accused of or confessed to sexually molesting minors.
Ryan McKnight, founder of MormonLeaks, disclosed the anonymous source of the documents is “beyond reproach.” The website protects the identity of its whistleblowers and mostly publishes sensitive documents provided by anonymous individuals.
The leaked document is titled “Special Investigations and Projects.” The name of a law firm based in Utah, Kirton McKonkie, is listed at the top of the document. The words “Attorney Work Product – Privileged and Confidential” are written at the bottom of the document pages.
Sexual Assault Against Minors in Mormon Church
A scrutiny of the documents shows they contain information about seven cases of sexual misconduct perpetrated by church leaders against minors. It also contains a summarized resolution of the cases as determined by the church.
McKnight stated that rather than preoccupying itself with the welfare of the victims, the documents show the church worried more about how the abuse would impact its image. A further analysis of the file shows the church did not resort to the police for help with its investigations, but it resolved them in the best way it saw fit.
In three of the cases, foreign missionaries were alleged to have had sexual conduct with several children, including an 8-year-old child. In one of these cases, the missionary concerned was recalled home, but the church decided to take no disciplinary action against him.
In another one of the cases discussed in the document, a missionary confessed to fondling and kissing a 15-year-old girl, but the church said it was reluctant to send the missionary home because he may face felony persecution.
McKnight said the church must allow the police to do its work, and concern itself with caring for sexual victims and reporting abuse. He added that once a minister is accused of sexually abusing a minor, the church should allow the police to determine whether the accused is guilty.
“I don’t think it’s the Church’s job to adjudicate these cases and to decide whether or not the missionary is guilty,” McKnight said.
The law firm Kirton McKonkie and LDS have not publicly issued a response.