Civil Suit vs Criminal Charges for Sexual Abuse: What’s the Difference?
Filing a claim for your abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is an incredibly brave step. We understand that decision was not made lightly, and we want to make sure you have the resources to make informed decisions throughout this process.
After deciding to file a sexual abuse claim you will need to decide whether to file civil or criminal charges. Essentially, the difference between the two types of lawsuits can be broken down to the following characteristics:
- Civil Lawsuits – Cases that protect, Implement, or fix private rights. In civil lawsuits, you or the person you choose to represent you initiates legal action against your abuser or those liable for your abuse.
- Criminal Lawsuits – Formal chargers claiming someone has committed a crime. Criminal chargers are initiated by a government prosecutor.
Additionally, civil lawsuits and criminal lawsuits bear different weights when it comes to the “burden of proof.” The “burden of proof” is the job of a party to prove or disprove an argued statement. In this case, the “argued statement” would be your sexual abuse. Typically, criminal charges bear the heavier weight with burden of proof. This is because government prosecutors must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the alleged abuser is guilty.
However, with civil suits the burden of proof is lower, because only you must prove what happened. You don’t have to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that the abuse occurred; you only need to present a preponderance of evidence that the abuse occurred and prove your injuries and their value to the court.
Why Choose a Civil Suit Over Criminal Charges?
Many of our clients ask why they should file civil charges for their abuse in the Mormon Church instead of criminal charges. Usually, this decision comes down to compensation. In a criminal case, if your abuser is found guilty, very rarely do you receive any sort of monetary compensation or “damages” from the conviction. In contrast, in civil lawsuits the jury can only award damages for the harm inflicted on you. They cannot convict your abuser.
While compensation cannot undo damage your abuser has caused, many survivors decide to file a civil suit to receive compensation for their injuries or to hold their abuser and affiliates accountable for the abuse. Sexual abuse victims often endure severe physical and emotional trauma from their abuse, leading to the need for counseling, therapy, and other medial treatments. Counseling is not always covered by insurance, so monetary compensation from a civil suit can help ease those financial burdens.
Where You Sexually Abused in the Mormon Church?
To see if you may be eligible to file a civil claim for your abuse in the Mormon Church, connect with our advocates today. We’re here to support you during this difficult time as you seek justice for your abuse. We understand that confronting abuse in the Church is not only frightening but overwhelming to approach; our sexual abuse attorneys are here to relieve the stress for you so you can focus on healing, not cutting through red tape.
For your free, no-obligation consultation, reach out to our sexual abuse attorneys today. We will walk you through our easy case evaluation to see if you may be eligible for compensation for your abuse. We promise that the information you share with us is kept confidential, and if you decide filing a claim is not in your best interest, you are in no obligation to our firm.
To speak with a caring representative today, reach out to us at 877.LDS.ATTY.
Where Can I File a Claim for My Sexual Abuse?
After deciding to pursue legal action for your abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it may seem confusing and overwhelming figuring out the details of filing a claim. One of the major factors of this process is deciding where you will file the claim.
Typically, you will file a sexual abuse lawsuit based on where the abuse took place. For example, if a sexual abuse survivor was molested by a Latter-day Saint bishop as a child at a ward in Montana, the claim would be filed in Montana.
However, abuse often happens in multiple states or locations. For example, many Scoutmasters in the Boy Scouts of America were bishops in the Mormon Church. Cases have occurred where Mormon Scoutmasters would violently molest children on BSA camping trips, some of which happened out of state. Some states have opened up more lenient statute of limitations (SOL) on civil cases of child sexual abuse, and consulting with a sexual abuse attorney can help you decide where the best place to your claim would be based on the state's SOL.
An attorney can help you decide where to file the lawsuit after considering several crucial factors, including but not limited to the following:
- History of the abuse
- Where the abuse happened
- Where an organization or company involved or associated with the abuse ins located (whether that be their headquarters or where they do business)
- Additional locations where your abuser had other incidents of abuse or misconduct
- Other occasions where your abuser interacted with you
- Locations(s) where your abuser was relocated to by an organization or company after they heard of the abuse.
Where You Sexually Abused in the Mormon Church?
If you were sexually abused as a child in the Mormon Church, you are not alone or without options for help. We understand that confronting abuse in the Church is not only frightening but overwhelming to approach; our advocates are here to relieve the stress for you so you can focus on healing, not cutting through red tape.
The sexual abuse attorneys with Abused in Mormonism fight aggressively to make sure your abusers in the Church are held accountable for their crimes against you and fairly compensation you for your pain and suffering. We offer free, no-obligation case consultations with our legal professionals to see if you may be entitled to compensation for your abuse. We promise that the information you share with us is kept confidential, and if you decide filing a claim is not in your best interest, you are in no obligation to our firm.
To speak with a caring representative today, reach out to us at 877.LDS.ATTY.
Governor Cuomo Extends New York’s Child Victims Act due to COVID-19
In wake of the coronavirus pandemic slowing or halting the U.S.’s justice system, Governor Andrew Cuomo decided to extend a window of time that completely removes New York statute of limitations for filing sexual abuse lawsuits. On May 8, Gov. Cuomo extended New York’s Child Victims Act (CVA) an additional five months so sexual abuse survivors could have their day in court. New York stopped accepting new cases in March due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Because of the reduction in court services due to the virus, we are extending that window for an additional five months until January 14th to ensure survivors have the access to the courts that they need to file a claim and get the long-overdue justice they deserve,” Cuomo said after announcing the window extension.
New York’s Child Victims act was passed last year and opened up a one-year look back window that completely removes the state’s statute of limitations for filing civil suits for sexual abuse during that period of time. Even claims that were previously considered “ineligible” under old statute of limitations can be revived during this one-year period of time. So far around 1,700 lawsuits have been filed since the look back window opened, abuse survivors filing claims against abusers and institutions like the Boy Scouts of America and the Catholic Church.
The one-year look back window was set to expire August 14, 2020. Now, the new deadline is scheduled for January 14, 2021.
“As the unemployment rate spikes above 14%, it’s unreasonable to expect survivors of child sexual abuse to do the emotional and legal work necessary to file CVA lawsuits while simultaneously fighting to pay rent and put food on the table,” said Dem. Brad Hoylman, a New York state senator who pushed for the look back window extension.
Were You Sexually Abused in the Mormon Church in New York?
If you were a victim of sexual abuse in New York, you may have an extended chance to pursue justice against your abusers or institutions that covered up your abuse, like the Mormon Church. We understand that filing a claim against the Church that you put your trust into can be difficult. The sexual abuse attorneys with Abused in Mormonism are here to help you through this hard time and value your voice.
We help survivors of sexual abuse in the Mormon Church seek the healing and recovery they need through filing a claim against their abusers and holding them accountable for your abuse. This extension of the Child Victims Act may give you the time and chance you need to hold your abusers in the Church responsible for their crimes against you. To speak to a caring representative today and see if you may be eligible to file a claim for your abuse, contact Abused in Mormonism today at 877.LDS.ATTY.
Utah HB90: How Does This Law Help LDS Sexual Abuse Survivors?
A bill proposed for the 2020 legislation would require all
Utah clergy, including those in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
to become mandatory reporters of child abuse. Sponsored by Rep. Angela Romero,
D-Salt Lake City, HB90 would remove clergy members’ exemption for reporting
sexual abuse to authorities. This new law would not just apply to the Catholic
Church but would impact other religions that keep confessions confidential such
as Easter Orthodox, Lutherans, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints. The Mormon Church is Utah’s most predominant faith, so thousands of
followers will be impacted if HB90 is passed.
One of the major factors of sexual abuse being quieted or
unreported in the Mormon Church is because sexual abuse reports are usually confessed
to LDS bishops. Bishops are the “front line” clergy of the LDS church, so they
are usually the first to hear the confessions of not just children who have
been abused, but confessions from molesters that they abused a child.
In the LDS church, a bishop’s judgement is often the final word in taking care of matters in the ward. However, because bishops are either undertrained to handle sexual abuse allegations or other serious conduct involving ward members, many bishops make poor decisions that result in damage and trauma to innocent children. If HB90 is passed, bishops will likely have to report all confessions of sexual abuse to the authorities, giving more sexual abuse survivors in the Church a chance for healing and justice against their abusers.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, in response to HB 90 LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said this that "the church would need to review the bill and its implications before taking a position.”
Were You Sexually Abused While in the Mormon Church?
If you were sexually abuse in the Mormon Church, you are not alone. Other survivors who were abused by elders or members in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have stepped forward, shared their stories, and sought to hold the Church accountable for quieting their abuse and not protecting children from molesters in the Church. Many have, in fact, held the Church accountable for their abuse and have recovered millions in compensation to help them heal from their abuse-related injuries.
If you or a loved one were sexually abused in the Mormon Church, we have experienced sexual abuse attorneys standing by to fight for your right to healing and recovery. The attorneys with Abused in Mormonism are dedicated to protecting your rights, and we value the trust you put in us to handle your case with care and concern. To see if you may be eligible to file a claim for your abuse, give us a call today or fill out a contact form for your free case consultation.
Is It Too Late for Me to File a Claim Against the Mormon Church for Sexual Abuse?
Some of the most frequently asked questions we hear at
Abused in Mormonism is whether or not time has run out for an abuse survivor to
file a claim against the Mormon Church.
“Is it too late for me to file a claim?”
“Am I too old to file a claim?”
“Did I wait too long to file a claim?”
Usually, your ability to file a civil claim depends on where the abuse happened. The statute of limitations, or length of time for filing a civil lawsuit, for sex abuse claims differs from state to state.
Changed Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse
For many years, states have been very inflexible about their
statute of limitations on sexual abuse, preventing many survivors from pursuing
justice and healing for their abuse in civil court. However, due to the
tireless work of advocates and sexual abuse survivors, some state legislatures
have listened to the need for more compassionate laws surrounding statute of
limitations on child sexual abuse.
Several states around the U.S. have provided the following opportunities
for abuse survivors:
- Raised age limits to file a civil claim for
- Extended time to file a civil claim after discovery
- Opened “look back” windows. “Look back” windows
are periods of time when survivors can bring forward civil claims, no matter
how long ago the abuse occurred. Even claims that were previously barred due to
expired statute of limitations can be brought forward during these windows of
List of States with “Look Back” Windows for Sexual Abuse Claims
- Arizona’s nineteen-month “look back” window started June 1, 2019 and ends December 31, 2020.
- California’s three-year “look back” window opened January 1, 2020 and ends January 1, 2023.
- District of Columbia
- District of Columbia’s two-year “look back” window started May 1, 2019 and ends May 1, 2021.
- Hawaii’s two-year “look back” window opened July 10, 2018 and ends in April 2020.
- Montana’s one-year “look back” window started May 7, 2019 and ends May 7, 2020.
- North Carolina
- North Carolina’s two-year “look back” window opened January 1, 2020 and ends January 1, 2022.
- New Jersey
- New Jersey's two-year "look back" window started December 1, 2019 and ends December 1, 2021.
- New York
- New York’s one-year “look back” window, famously known as the Child Victims Act, started August 14, 2019 and ends August 14, 2020.
- Vermont completely eliminated age limits May 2019 and has a “look back” window that never expires.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer for my Sexual Abuse Case?
Because many of these states’ statute of limitations are
incredibly short, talking with a sexual abuse lawyer right away is important. An experienced sexual abuse attorney will
better be able to advise you on whether or not your case is still eligible to
file a claim. Many times child sex abuse victims miss their chance to pursue
justice because they waited too long, so coming forward now to see if you are
eligible is vital to secure your legal rights.
An experienced sexual abuse lawyer will possess the legal know-how to help you make informed decisions about your case, so you can feel confident and at peace with how your case is handled. We can even advise you on who you can file a claim against if you were abused in the Mormon Church.
While we understand compensation cannot fix the crimes the past, it can help hold the Mormon Church accountable for your abuse and compensate you for financial burdens such as therapy and counseling.
We know recounting your abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be terrifying and uncomfortable. So, we want you to know we are here for you, are available around the clock to talk whenever you are comfortable, and have resources that could be helpful in your recovery from sexual abuse.
If you were abused as a child by a member of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you are not alone and without options. Please
call us today or fill out our contact form for your no-cost, no-obligation case
evaluation. We are here to help you on your road to recovery. Call (877)
537-2889 today to speak with a representative now.
LDS Congregation Told Not to Research Sex Abuse Case by Bishop
A recent scandal revealed a bishop in the Mormon Church told
a congregation not to look into the details of a child sex abuse crime in their
stake and ward. ABC4
Utah received an audio recording from a member of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints, depicting how a bishop chose to explain, or, not
explain the circumstances surrounding the case.
According to the bishop, a member of the Mormon Church was
arrested for creating and possessing giant amounts of child pornography. The bishop’s
name reveals anonymous, along with the name ad location of the LDS congregation
in question, to protect the victims’ identities.
“We knew at some point that this day would come and we would
have to make an announcement and let you be aware of what’s going on and the
facts so that there would be no speculation,” the anonymous bishop said in the
recording. “The appropriate measures have been taken in a ward and a stake
arena to talk to families who he was near or who associated with him and it’s
been discussed with them.”
However, following this statement, the bishop proceeded to
ask the church members to not look into the details of the abuse.
“It’s up to us to stop the speculation and the discussion,
it’s not our news to discuss, it’s our burden to share and help provide an
atmosphere that the family can start to heal at some point.
The bishop followed up with asking the congregation to come
to him personally if they want more information.
According to experts in child sex abuse cases, communication
and open communication is extremely important in order to prevent future cases
of abuse, not silence. ABC4 Utah interviewed Laurieann Thorpe, Executive
Director of Prevent Child Abuse Utah (PCAU) who provided advice for those
wondering how to address sexual abuse reports.
“The number one thing is to talk about it, with the
appropriate terms so that we’re openly addressing that there is a possibility
always in any circumstance of child sexual abuse,” Thorpe explained.
To read the full story and learn more about how to help
prevent child sex abuse, click
here. To come forward and talk to a lawyer about your rights after being
abused in the Mormon Church, call us today at 877.537.2889.
Whistleblower Claims Mormon Church Mismanaged over $100 Billion Intended for Charitable Works
Complaint Urges IRS to Strip the Mormon Church of its Nonprofit Status After Reports of Tithing Mismanagement
The former investment manager the Mormon Church’s investment division filed a complaint to the IRS alleging the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has stockpiled $100 billion intended for charitable purposes. The complaint, received November 21, claims LDS leaders not only mislead church members as to how they were using the money, but potentially deceived the IRS and breached federal tax regulations.
The Washington Post reported their findings after acquiring a copy of the complaint. The complaint was filed by David A. Nielson, a senior portfolio manager for the church’s investment division until September of this year. The 41-year-Mormon formerly worked at Ensign Peak Advisors, an LDS-sanctioned company located near the church’s headquarters.
Religious groups are typically categorized as nonprofit
organizations in the United States, meaning they are exempted from paying taxes
on their income. The Post says since Ensign is legally registered as a
“supporting organization and integrated auxiliary of the Mormon Church”, it is
also permitted to function as a nonprofit and not pay taxes on their income.
However, Nielson claims Ensign has not met the requirements of operating as a nonprofit and failed in their legally sanctioned role to function strictly for religious and charitable purposes.
According to the complaint, the church collects around $7 billion annually through members’ tithing. Tithing is a practice many faith groups use where members give 10% of their income to the church.
Of the $7 billion income generated, the Mormon Church uses approximately $6 billion for operating costs, and the leftover $1 billion is transferred to Ensign. Ensign allegedly puts that money into “an investment portfolio to generate returns.”
The complaint alleges that since 1997, the inception of Ensign, this portfolio has grown to approximately $100 billion. According to Nielson, this money should have been used for charitable purposes.
What Does This Mean for the Mormon Church?
In the complaint, Nielson advocates for the IRS to remove Ensign’s nonprofit status, insinuating Ensign could owe the government upwards of billions in taxes. As a whistleblower, Nielson could receive a reward from the IRS for reporting Ensign. If the IRS does find Ensign guilty, Nielson will receive a cut of the unpaid taxes the IRS recovers.
According to the Post’s whistleblower analyst Philip
Hackney, Nielson’s complaint provided “legitimate concern” about whether Ensign
should maintain its nonprofit status and reflects poorly on the trustworthiness
of Church-sanctioned businesses.
“If you have a charity that simply amasses a war chest year
after year and does not spend any money for charity purposes, that does not
meet the requirements of tax law,” Hackney stated. Hackney, as a former
official for the IRS, states that the Church must show Ensign “furthers a
charitable purpose exclusively on its own” in order to maintain its nonprofit
To read the Washington Post’s full story, click
Mormon Bishop Arrested for Owning Child Porn, Denied Bail
Investigators Suspect LDS Bishop May Have Sexually Abused
A Latter-day Saints bishop has been arrested for owning
thousands of images of child pornography, and investigators suspect he may have
sexually abused children, as well. According to The Salt
Lake Tribune, Timothy James Hallows, a Mormon bishop from Kaysville, Utah,
was booked October 16 into the Davis County jail.
Law enforcement denied Hallows bail, calling him a “substantial
danger” to the community and a flight risk. Investigators arrested Hallows on
suspicion of eight counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, which could lead
to a maximum 15-year prison sentence if he is charged and convicted.
Revealed through a probable cause statement, law enforcement
was made aware of Hallows’ crimes through a tip made by Microsoft. Microsoft
owns the video-chat app Skype, which the company said a user had been utilizing
to upload and send out pictures of child porn. Microsoft alerted the National
Center for Missing and Exploited Children of the crimes on August 6.
Responding to the tip, investigators from Davis County
served a subpoena on Comcast on October 3. This subpoena led to Hallows’ home
and IP address in Kaysville, where he was arrested. Federal, state, and local
officials with the Internet Crimes Against Children task force served a search
warrant of Hallows’ home on October 16, investigators found thousands of child
porn images, some of them including images of child abuse.
According to the statement, Hallows talked to investigators,
waving his Miranda rights against self-incrimination. The 61-year-old man
admitted to taking pictures of children on various camping trips he went on as
part of his role as a Mormon bishop. The statement also indicated that when
asked whether he had sexual contact with kids, Hallows “…stated uh huh, and
shook his head in affirmation.”
Sexual Abuse in the Mormon Church
Only in the last decade have survivors of sexual abuse in
the Mormon Church started coming forward and holding their abusers in the
Church accountable for their actions. According to allegations, for years the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has silenced reports of sexual
abuse through quiet dismissals, not reporting cases to the police, and using
personal Church-sanctioned lawyers to settle complaints with victims. In doing
so, potentially hundreds of predators within the Church have not been brought
to justice for their crimes, left to abuse more children.
If you were abused by an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or had your abuse report silenced by the Mormon Church, you need to know you are not alone. There are resources available to help you through this difficult time, and we want to help you know and understand your options so you can recover and heal. To learn more about your options after being sexually abused in the Mormon Church, talk with us today. We have caring, compassionate professionals standing by 24/7 to answer your questions and concerns, and we promise the information you share with us is kept confidential.
I Was Sexually Abused in the Mormon Church: Who Do I file a Claim Against?
Who Do I Sue? Mormon Church Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
After surviving sexual abuse, it can be frightening to face
the crimes of the past, let alone decide to file a claim against for your
abuse. If you were sexually abused by an elder or member of the Mormon Church, your
abuser could be one person or multiple people who helped to hide your abuse.
The last thing you want to do is feel frustrated figuring out how to pursue
legal action, or even who to sue in some cases. So, consulting with an
experienced sexual abuse attorney is crucial during this difficult time. A
sexual abuse attorney can help you understand your legal rights, options, and
who is liable for your abuse within the Mormon Church.
Who May Be Liable for My Abuse in Mormonism?
Choosing who to sue for sexual abuse may seem like a simple
answer: the sexual predator who abused you. However, in many cases, other
institutions and people may be responsible for hiding your abuse or failing to
protect you from sexual predators in the Mormon Church. With sexual abuse
crimes, any person, institution, or organization directly or indirectly
involved with your abuse is liable and can be sued.
For example, for years the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints partnered with the Boy Scouts of America, and many Mormon
bishops were Scouting leaders. If you were molested by a Mormon Scoutmaster,
the Scoutmaster, the Mormon Church, and the Boy Scouts of America would be
responsible for your abuse.
Examples of Defendants in Sexual Abuse Lawsuits:
- Family members
- Churches, elders, religious volunteers
- Affiliated organizations, clubs, and daycares
- Employers and coworkers
Abused in Mormonism? Talk to Us Today
When you consult with Abused in Mormonism’s experienced
sexual abuse attorneys, you may discuss other related institutions and/or
people involved with your case that could be liable for your abuse. While it
may be uncomfortable and scary sharing the details of your abuse, you can have
peace of mind knowing that any information you share with us is kept
confidential and protected.
Also, after your consultation if you decide pursuing legal
action against your abuser isn’t your best option at this time, you are under
no obligation to our firm. Your information remains confidential, protected,
Abused in Mormonism’s legal team works to uplift you through
the process of filing a claim so you can feel confident in your case decisions
and knowing that your story is being handled with respect. To learn more about
your legal rights and find out if you may be eligible to file a suit against
your abuser in the Mormon Church, contact us today. We offer 24/7 care and
free, no-obligation case evaluations.