Child Abuse Cover-Up Costs Mormon Church $3 Million
Church Continues to Deny Responsibility Despite Ten Prior Warnings to Church
Officials and 1983 Excommunication of Priest for Molesting Boys
At Least 20 Other Victims Have Been Identified
PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is being issued by the Law Firm of David Slader: The Mormon Church covered up its knowledge of a High Priest's sexual molestation of young boys for more than a decade according to a Portland, Oregon lawsuit that the church paid $3,000,000.00 to settle. The charges were brought by one of the priest's victims, Jeremiah Scott. Today, Scott's mother made a statement describing the Mormon Church as a, "sanctuary for pedophiles. The church is so concerned about its public image," Sandra Scott charged, "that it hide the truth from me that it had recycled a known pedophile into a position of authority in the church where he had unlimited access to young children." Scott's legal team hailed the settlement as, "the first big step for one victim in the long struggle to expose the Mormon Church's epidemic pattern of providing a safe and secret haven for child molesters." Scott is one of 21 victims of High Priest Franklin Curtis who abused boys in Portland, Oregon, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Sheridan, Wyoming. Curtis, who was convicted of molesting Scott, has since died. The church claimed throughout the litigation that it had a constitutional right to "wipe the slate clean" of any member who had "repented" for his abuse of children and had been forgiven by the church. "It is a policy that puts out the welcome mat for pedophiles like Franklin Curtis," Mrs. Scott commented. In a statement attacking the pretrial rulings of Multnomah County Circuit Judge Ellen Rosenblum, the church stated that it paid Scott $3,000,000.00 only because it would have cost "significantly more in legal fees and other costs" to continue with the litigation. "Nothing could be further from the truth," responded one of Scott's attorneys, Timothy Kosnoff of Bellevue, Washington. "The Mormon Church settled this case because they knew any jury would be outraged by the proof that the church had known for years that Franklin Curtis was a serial pedophile. The church not only venerated Curtis as a High Priest, but it made him a scout leader and Sunday School teacher -- and then hid the fact that he was a molester from the whole congregation." The lawsuit alleged that when Mrs. Scott asked her Bishop if it was okay for Curtis to live in her home, he gave her no warning. "It would only have taken one word, but he said nothing." Kosnoff added, "The church had seen Curtis ruin the lives of child after child, but protecting their image is more important than protecting their children." Sandra Scott's statement concluded that, "The Mormon Church can forgive whomever it chooses, but it is a sin and a crime to allow known child molesters to have unsupervised access to children." Scott's lawyers pointed out that the church, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had been warned at least ten times that Curtis was using his position as a High Priest, boy scout leader and Sunday school teacher to seduce and molest young boys. Twice, the Mormon Church held a formal court to discipline Curtis for molesting young boys, the lawyers disclosed, but, "within a year they welcomed him back as a priest and agreed to cover up his crimes." Mrs. Scott blamed the cover up for Scott's abuse. "Curtis would never have been allowed near my son if the church had told me the truth." Jeff Anderson of St. Paul, Minnesota, who is nationally recognized for his work representing victims of abuse by clergy and who joined Scott's legal team this year to prepare for the anticipated trial, described the Mormon Church's conduct as among the worst of any religious organization in the county: "Most churches have finally caught on that they have a duty to protect their children from pedophiles in clerical garb, but this church still destroys records and still denies that it has any responsibility to tell its members the truth." Scott's Portland attorney, David Slader, who also has represented over forty victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic Priest Maurice Grammond, Slader described the Mormon Church as, "the most meticulous keeper of records in the history of religion. It knows where its members were born, when they were baptized and married, when and where they have moved, how much they contribute to the church each year. Yet they hide the fact that they are sheltering a High Priest who will molest any young boy he can gain access to. It was within their power to save this child from the horrors of months of sexual abuse. We now know of twenty other victims of the church's cover-up. Many more may still be living in the silence that shame imposes. It has to stop." Persons abused by priests of the Mormon Church or clergy of any denomination can call: National Hot Line for Legal Rights and Options TOLL FREE: 888-567-5557 Or, SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) at 314-645-5915. Abuse survivors in Oregon can call Oregon Abuse Survivors & Advocates (OASA). OASA is a statewide organization that provides advocacy and lawyer referrals for abuse survivors. OASA offers two free handbooks ("You Are Not Alone" and "Seeking Justice") to abuse survivors. OASA can be reached at 503-222-3133. MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X06526391
SOURCE David Slader, Esq.
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