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

Sep 05, 2001, 01:00 ET from David Slader, Esq.

    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
     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
     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
     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
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SOURCE David Slader, Esq.