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.