Mormon Sex Abuse Scandal

CP, an evangelical newspaper, ran the story: “23-y-o Sunday School teacher sentenced to 50 years in prison for molesting multiple children.” Neither the non-sectarian RNS or any Catholic paper that I know of carried the story. Comparisons with Catholic abusers are of interest.

Like most abusive Catholic priests, the Mormon abuser was a predator who carefully selected his prey: “he targeted children he thought would not disclose his abuse — infants he babysat for fellow parishioners.” Some Catholic priests target children who recently lost a parent or suffered some other tragedy, others target altar boys, but the great majority carefully target their prey.

Families of the victims, liked those of Catholic victims, were devastated and questioned their faith. Nothing was said about the reactions of the Mormon congregations the victims belonged to, just as little is said about Catholic brethren of the victims.

According to the article, the Mormon church, both locally and nationally, made no attempt to cover up or mitigate the offender’s crime. Particularly in the early days of the Catholic scandals, the Church went to great lengths to cover up the crime and especially to keep the families of victims quiet. It is still common practice to settle such cases out of court and include a gag order as part of the settlement.

Perhaps most importantly, such cases of child abuse are, to the best of my knowledge, extremely rare in the Mormon church. While the Catholic Church maintained that of their priests as well, that was a deliberate lie and part of its cover-up. The incidence of child-abuse among Catholic clergy is probably in the double digits. It is anything but a rarity.

One of the biggest differences is that a single Mormon abuser prompted such an outcry. News of another Catholic priest abusing children would not provoke a similar reaction. It took many thousands of such cases before Pope Francis called his summit meeting on child abuse, and that was not even intended to solve the problem, merely to “educate” people about it – as if they hadn’t learned anything from over three decades of abuse scandals.

At first popes just denied the problem, and then tried to cover it up. Finally, they just tried to ignore it and hope it would go away. In his recent letter, Pope Benedict suggested it would take a major revolution to seriously attack the problem, and Pope Francis has yet to propose any concrete actions.

Another obvious difference is that the Mormon offender attacked little girls, while Catholic pederasts overwhelmingly prefer boys.

You want to keep things in perspective.


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