Suppose you run a large company and one of your employees admits that he sexted with a 15-year-old girl (who send him nude photos) before you hired him. What do you do?
The simple, obvious, why-would-you-do-anything-else? answer is: report him to the authorities. Let them handle the investigation. You have an obligation to protect other potential victims.
That’s not what the Mormon Church did, however, when an Elder confessed that very crime in 2012. According to a newly released document from MormonLeaks, Kirton McConkie (the law firm for the Church) kept a spreadsheet of “situations involving multiple attorneys” and a number of them involve sexual abuse. In one case an Elder “accused of sexually abusing [an] 8-year-old” went back home and the Church’s “disciplinary council… determined no action would be taken.”
The most egregious item on the list is the last one involving the sexting Elder primarily because of how the Church and its law firm handled it:
The missionary department is reluctant to send this Elder home to [redacted] where he may face prosecution for a felony. His conduct is clearly unlawful in [redacted], and his Stake President would have a duty to report. The Elder also recently confessed to kissing and some touching with a 15 year old girl in the mission field. It is clear that the Elder needs to go home. Direction?
We don’t know how this played out in part because the relevant details are hidden from view. We don’t know if he was reported or if he faced prosecution. What we do know is that Church officials didn’t want to send home an Elder despite his own confession to sexting with an underage girl and inappropriate touching/kissing another underage girl.
At a time when the world can see how Catholic Church leaders knew about abuse but did nothing, here’s an example of a different Church knowing about abuse, doing nothing, documenting it — and all of that happened just a few years ago. At least the Catholic Church can say things have gotten better and most of the damning circumstances detailed in the reports occurred more than a decade ago (and, in many cases, more).
A representative from Kirton McConkie responded to MormonLeaks’ request for comment by solely asking that we redact the identity of the victims.
The Mormon Church ignored our request for comment.
Of course they did. It raises a lot of questions about how bad things are in the Mormon Church now.