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Mormon Church Abuse Lawyer in Houston, Texas

mormon church abuse

Similarly to the countless sexual abuse scandals within the Catholic Church and Boy Scouts, members of the Mormon Church aren’t always safe from sexual abuse either. What’s even worse is that all organizations have a lengthy history of covering up abuse allegations as well. If you are one of these victims of Mormon Church abuse, you have a right to have your voice heard in an LDS lawsuit. Our Houston child sexual abuse attorneys at Reich & Binstock will make sure your abusive situation isn’t swept under the rug like many others. Call us today at 713-622-7271 to see what we can do for you.

LDS Lawsuit Update December 2022

With each passing year, more and more individuals are filing lawsuits against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (not to be confused with the FLDS, which is a more fundamentalist church). For too long, child abuse and coverups of sex abuse have run rampant throughout the Mormon church. However, those individuals who are filing sex abuse lawsuits are doing their part to help victims heal. Holding the LDS church accountable for its actions and complacency is paramount.

At Reich & Binstock, our law firm stands ready to represent victims who were sexually assaulted or sexually abused by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Mormon church leaders, bishops, and other complicit members will continue to be held accountable by our child sexual abuse lawyers. We understand how scary and stressful it can be to feel like you’re taking on a Mormon bishop or church leader on your own.

That’s why we’re here to offer our years of experience and our national recognition as sexual abuse attorneys to abuse victims. We will fight on your behalf to address abuse at the source, holding church attorneys and church officials accountable for your suffering.

What Are Mormon Beliefs?

The Mormon Church is a loose subclass of Christianity belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). Their headquarters is located in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints first firmly established itself. There are presently more than 15 million recognized members of the Mormon Church worldwide.

LDS Mormons share many beliefs with Christians of other denominations. Some of what they believe includes the crucifixion, resurrection, and divinity of Jesus. However, they don’t believe in the Holy Trinity. Instead, they believe that Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit are all independent of one another.

Mormons also believe in four core books that hold their teachings, including:

  • The Bible
  • The Doctrine and Covenants
  • The Book of Mormon
  • The Pearl of Great Price

In life, members of the Mormon Church follow specific health and lifestyle requirements. Specifically, caffeine and alcohol are not a part of their diet. Their core values include good deeds, family, missionary work, and respect for authority.

History of Sexual Abuse Cover Ups in the Mormon Church

lds lawsuit

Sexual abuse in the Mormon Church dates back decades, similarly to sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Many survivors confided in church leaders about their assaults, but later saw no action. Oftentimes instead of protecting its members, leaders choose to protect the Mormon Church instead. In one case, a woman told her church leaders about her abuse. As a result, the leaders said that her abusive situation was “in the hands of God.”

Occasionally, some victims were even bribed to keep quiet. The Mormon Church has reportedly offered victims large amounts of money to keep quiet about the abuse they previously suffered in the church.

Why Does Sexual Abuse in the LDS Church Get Covered Up?

Covering up sexual abuse within the Mormon Church happens for many reasons. Most of the time, it’s due to a preference for the Church’s reputation, the way laws are written, and the ideals instilled in LDS members.

One of the top priorities of church leaders when they hear of sexual abuse is to protect their church first. For example, Bishops act in representation of God, which often means they will serve the church before they serve the victim. Church leaders may not intend to continue the cycle of systemic abuse, but that’s undeniably what happens when abuse is swept under the rug to protect the church’s reputation. Additionally, silence about sexual abuse allegations will allow the Mormon church to attract new members, prevent national scandals, and prevent an expensive LDS lawsuit.

Surprisingly, Bishops often don’t contact the police when they hear of sexual abuse within the church because they aren’t always bound by law to do so. In Utah specifically, there is an exemption for religious leaders to report abuse or neglect. This is commonly called clergy-penitent privilege. It is very similar to attorney-client privilege. The law presently reads:

“…When any individual… has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect, or observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in abuse or neglect, that individual shall immediately report the alleged abuse or neglect to the nearest peace officer, law enforcement agency, or office of the division.

“…the notification requirement described in Subsection (1)(a) does not apply to a member of the clergy, with regard to any confession made to the member of the clergy while functioning in the ministerial capacity of the member of the clergy and without the consent of the individual making the confession…”

House Bill 90, which would have eliminated this exemption for religious leaders, was struck down in March 2020. It’s possible this exemption continues to exist in Utah because the state has the highest population of Mormons in the United States. Approximately 68% of Utah’s population is Mormon.

Another key point worth noting is that while the Mormon Church has a 24-hour hotline specifically created for church leaders to report sexual abuse, many use the hotline to do the exact opposite. In 2019, a national report alleged that the church used their hotline to silence victims and therefore avoid an LDS lawsuit.

Finally, sexual abuse is covered up because church members are taught that forgiveness can solve many problems. In fact, the LDS online gospel states:

“We should pray for strength to forgive those who have wronged us, and we should abandon feelings of anger, bitterness, or revenge. We should also look for the good in others rather than focusing on their faults and magnifying their weaknesses. God will be the judge of others’ harmful actions.”

Sadly, many victims are encouraged to forgive their abusers instead of seeking justice through an LDS lawsuit. Not only does forced forgiveness place blame back on the victim, it undoubtedly continues the cycle of systemic abuse in the Mormon Church.

How Does Sexual Abuse Impact LDS Church Members?

lds church abuse

Sexual abuse within any church, whether it’s handled appropriately or not, brings loads of shame, blame, and trauma onto a church member. What makes the mental effects of sexual abuse worse is if church leaders dismiss victims and their stories altogether. When this happens, victims may begin to lose trust in the Mormon Church and may even lose faith in God.

Mental Effects Due to Sexual Assault

Victims may also lose a large chunk of their lives to silently suffering from the countless mental effects of their trauma. Not surprisingly, 31% of rape victims involved in a study developed PTSD while 33% have considered suicide. The same study showed that rape victims were 13.4 times more likely to become alcoholics and 26 times more likely to abuse drugs.

How Do I Know if My Child is a Victim of Mormon Church Abuse?

In recent years, several families have reported child sex abuse by leaders in the Mormon Church. Every child responds to abuse differently, but many will generally show these signs and symptoms:

  • Trouble walking or sitting
  • Seductive behavior
  • Hesitance to get undressed
  • Bedwetting
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Precocious knowledge of sexual topics
  • Reluctance to return to church
  • Depression or suicidal thoughts
  • Abnormal interest or avoidance of sexual topics
  • Secretiveness
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-isolation
  • Hostility or aggressive behavior
  • Abnormal pain, bleeding, or discharge from genital areas
  • Avoidance of a specific person for no apparent reason

What Can Victims Do After Abuse by an LDS Church Official?

If you or your child is a victim of sexual abuse within the Mormon Church, the best way to report it is to contact local authorities. Victims can also call or chat with the National Sexual Assault Hotline for more guidance on how to move forward. If you believe the church leader should undoubtedly be held responsible for their actions, contact a sexual abuse attorney at Reich & Binstock, and we can help.

Statute of Limitations to File an LDS Lawsuit

In Texas, victims of child sexual abuse presently have 30 years to report their abuse. The Statute of Limitations was recently extended from age 33 to age 48 according to the Associated Press. Contact our law firm as soon as possible to determine whether you not you still qualify for these sex abuse lawsuits. We will evaluate the facts of your case, gather evidence to support your claim, and advocate on your behalf against sexual exploitation and abuse. Working with our attorneys also allows you to pursue compensation for your suffering.

What Damages Can Victims Recover in an LDS Lawsuit?

mormon church lawsuit

Civil claims seek to compensate the victim, whereas criminal suits seek to punish the abuser. Sexual abuse victims can recover a variety of monetary and non-monetary damages in an LDS lawsuit including:

  • Counseling expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • In some cases, punitive damages

Should You File a Mormon Church Abuse Lawsuit?

Mormon abuse of children and of women is now well-documented by sex abuse lawsuits, documentaries, and accounts from victims. While these allegations do not mean that the religious denomination is negative as a whole, it casts doubt on the priorities of many bishops and church leaders. Which is more important – the reputation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or taking abuse cases seriously to protect sex abuse victims?

If you are a victim of child sex abuse or sex abuse as an adult, speak with our law firm about how you can pursue compensation for the suffering you endured. We offer an initial free case evaluation, meaning you don’t pay a cent unless we secure a recovery for you. File a Mormon abuse lawsuit today and fight for your right to justice and compensation.

How Many Lawsuits Are There Against the LDS Church?

Although allegations of child sex abuse span decades into the past for the LDS church, many cases in recent years have received considerable media attention. From 2000 to 2016, over 43 lawsuits involving more than 90 children were filed against the Mormon church. Each abuse lawsuit alleged that church leaders, church organizations, and church lawyers all failed to either prevent or report child abuse when it happened.

Contact an LDS Lawsuit Attorney Today

If you or someone you love has been a victim of abuse by a member or leader of the Mormon Church, you can receive compensation as well as punitive damages from your abuser. Our attorneys at Reich & Binstock understand how serious of a situation this is and how traumatic it can be to come forward. We will walk you through the legal process and help you in every step of the way while we work to resolve your case. Call our Houston office at 713-622-7271 or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation now.

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