Two members of the Navajo Nation have filed a lawsuit against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) alleging that it placed Native American children into Mormon foster homes where they were sexually abused.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been sexually abused, molested or otherwise harmed by a member of the Mormon Church, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints (LDS) or Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and we can help.
Update: Judge Denies Venue Change for Mormon Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
November 18, 2016 – A federal judge has denied a request by the LDS to move a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse in a church-run Navajo foster program out of a tribal court. U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled Wednesday that the LDS has failed to prove that Navajo courts must be blocked from considering the lawsuit, which was filed by a brother and sister who claim they were abused in the Mormon Church’s “Indian Placement Program” in Utah decades ago.
What’s the problem?
March 25, 2016 – The complaint was filed Tuesday by a brother and sister who claim that they and another sibling were abused in the Mormon Church’s “Indian Placement Program” or “Lamanite Placement Program” (LLP) in Utah between 1976 and 1983, according to FOX 13 News.
The brother, referred to in court documents as “RJ,” alleges he suffered abuse including fondling, sexual molestation and rape during his time in the program. According to allegations raised in the complaint, RJ was first placed in an LDS home in Oak City, UT. in 1978 at the age of 10, where he was sexually molested on several occasions by his stepbrother. RJ was taken out of the home after he disclosed the abuse and placed with another family in Utah, where he was again molested by an older foster-brother, according to the lawsuit. He claims to have reported the abuse to the church, but was sent back to live in the same home where the alleged crimes took place.
The sister plaintiff, “MM,” was placed in an LDS home in Utah in 1976, where she was allegedly raped by a friend of her 40-year-old stepbrother. Then in 1983, after being placed in another foster home, MM claims she was again sexually molested, this time by her foster-father.
The complaint alleges that the Mormon Church failed to take reasonable steps to protect the plaintiffs — even after multiple abuses were reported. Additionally, the lawsuit claims that LDS Church policies protect the institution and its leaders from culpability, ensuring that abuse is reported to authorities and guilty parties are prosecuted.
The suit notes an LDS policy which states that “To avoid implicating the Church in legal matters to which it is not a party, Church leaders should avoid testifying in civil or criminal cases or other proceedings involving abuse” (Handbook 1, Stake Presidents and Bishops 2010, section 17.3.2). Another policy encourages Mormon Church leaders to contact a bishop about abuse first instead of police, according to the lawsuit.
Plaintiffs request that the LDS create a policy to prohibit any contact between children and church leaders who have been accused and/or convicted of child abuse charges. Additionally, the lawsuit asks the church to change their policy of directing leaders not to testify in abuse cases.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for injuries caused to the plaintiffs, as well as a formal apology from the LDS for harms caused to the Navajo Nation, which plaintiffs allege was damaged by years of efforts to assimilate native children into Mormon culture.
The complaint was filed Tuesday in Navajo Nation District Court, naming the following defendants: The Corporation of the President of the LDS Church, The Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the LDS Church, LDS Family Services and LDS Church.
Navajo Nation Files 2nd Abuse Lawsuit Against LDS
June 1, 2016 – Another Navajo woman alleging sexual abuse by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has filed a lawsuit, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. The woman, identified in court documents as “B.N.”, claims she was sexually molested and raped while participating in the Mormon Church’s Indian Student Placement Program between 1965 and 1972. The complaint seeks changes to church policy, written apologies and unspecified damages.
Do I Have an LDS Lawsuit?
The Sexual Abuse Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in LDS abuse lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently investigating potential settlements in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one has been harmed by a member of the Mormon Church, LDS or FLDS, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and our lawyers can help.