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SNAP
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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Monday, December 13, 2010

No charges for LDS members aware of man's crimes; SNAP responds

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

Ever wonder why church members and officials ignore and conceal child sex crimes? This is one reason: because timid law enforcement officials often “go easy” on religious groups in child molestation cases.

Frankly, we find it hard to believe that the Ada County Sheriff’s hands are completely tied in this case and that he’s powerless. At least 15 complicit church members knowingly endangered children by their silence and their refusal to call police about an admitted child molesting colleague. And nothing can be done?

We don’t believe that all 15 of these adults learned of Stephen R. Young’s crimes through “confession” covered by some “clergy privilege.” If indeed, the Ada County Sheriff honestly believes this, he should be walking the halls of the legislature today lobbying hard to see this predator-friendly law reformed.

In our experience, often, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” We strongly suspect that local law enforcement could find a way to pursue at least some criminal charges against at least some of these callous, reckless church members and officials who kept quiet about horrific child sex crimes.

We hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes in the Boise area – especially those with information about Mormon predators – will find the courage to speak up and the wisdom to seek independent help from therapists, support groups and law enforcement, not church officials.

When victims, witnesses and whistleblowers stay silent, kids remain at risk. But when victims, witnesses and whistleblowers come forward, at least there’s a chance for prevention, justice, healing and truth-telling.

And we hope that Idaho lawmakers will look long and hard at the state’s “clergy privilege” laws and consider reforming them so that it’s crystal clear that the actual safety of children trumps the personal beliefs of adults. Idaho citizens should have no doubt whatsoever that protecting kids takes priority over protecting grownups and that stopping devastating crimes is more important than safeguarding personal beliefs.

Finally, the predator confessed to his wife more than a year ago (August 2009). She should have called police immediately. How can a talk between spouses be considered “clergy privilege?”

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, peterisely@yahoo.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

No charges for LDS members aware of man's crimes

- The Associated Press Published: 12/12/10

Driver: Groom paid for South African honeymoon hit

Even in this crime-plagued country it stood out as a tragedy: A honeymooning couple from abroad is carjacked and the wife's body is found in their abandoned taxi the next morning.

In a twist revealed Tuesday in court, however, the taxi driver confessed that it was no random act of violence - that he was hired by the husband to kill his bride.

By accepting the confession in a plea bargain, South African authorities gave credence to the driver's story but would not immediately confirm that the husband, Shrien Dewani of Britain, was being sought in the death of his 28-year-old wife, Anni.

BOISE, Idaho — As many as 15 church members who knew several months before authorities did that a Boise police officer had molested children will face no criminal charges for failing to report the crimes, Idaho authorities say.

The Ada County Sheriff's Office says members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are protected by Idaho's clergy privilege law.

Police said Stephen R. Young confessed his crimes to church officials in January, but the crimes didn't become public until March. Young attended an LDS church in Eagle.

An attorney for the church said efforts by church leaders resulted in Young's crimes coming to the attention of authorities.

"From the moment Mr. Young confessed, church leaders took every precaution they legally could to protect victims and the public," attorney Randy Austin told the Idaho Statesman in a story published Sunday. "And church leaders avoided violating the clergy privilege - a breach which could have tainted the evidence against Mr. Young and jeopardized his prosecution."

Court records say Young admitted molesting four children, ages 1 month to 21 months, between 2005 and 2008. He initially was charged with four counts of lewd conduct with a minor but later pleaded guilty to one count of sexual battery of a child.

Young was sentenced in September to 25 years in prison, but he can ask for parole after 12 years.

Young, 59, was a Boise police officer from 1978 until he retired in February and was a school resource officer from 1995 to 2005.

According to court records and a journal kept by his wife, Young in August 2009 told his wife about his crimes and moved out of the family's Eagle home.

In January, Young confessed his crimes to church officials, and Austin said church officials urged Young and his wife to tell police. Austin said making that recommendation was all clergy members could legally do.

"From the outset (church leaders) strongly encouraged Mr. Young and his wife to go to the police as quickly as possible," Austin said.

Investigators and church officials said LDS members who knew about Young's confessions initiated an internal disciplinary process against him.

Sheriff's reports say Boise police officer Kyle Christensen was a member of that process. But they say an LDS official asked him not to be involved in a hearing involving Young because, as a police officer, he was duty-bound to report crimes, but as a member of the High Council, he had to keep whatever he heard secret.

Police say the LDS official did not tell Christensen who was involved in the disciplinary hearing.

However, a week later, in early spring, Christensen learned Young had been excommunicated and called Young to offer his support. Young then admitted to Christensen that he had molested small children and said he didn't have the courage to turn himself.

Christensen reported the conversation to higher-ranking police officials, who told Christensen to tell Young to turn himself in or a criminal investigation would be started.

Young agreed to go with Christensen to turn himself in on March 2, according to Ada County sheriff's

Read more: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2010/12/12/1452771/church-members-aware-of-crimes.html#ixzz1803LFSz5

Church members aware of crimes won't be charged

Associated Press - December 12, 2010 3:44 PM ET

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho authorities say as many as 15 church members who knew for several months a Boise police officer had confessed to molesting children will face no criminal charges for failing to report the crimes.

The Ada County Sheriff's Office says members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are protected by Idaho's clergy privilege law.

An attorney for the church tells the Idaho Statesman in a story published Sunday that efforts by church leaders resulted in Stephen R. Young's crimes coming to the attention of authorities.

The 59-year-old Young attended an LDS church in Eagle and turned himself in last March after confessing to a fellow church member who was also a Boise police officer, who was duty-bound to report the crimes.

In June, Young pleaded guilty in 4th District Court to one count of sexual battery of a minor child 16 to 17 years of age and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Information from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org
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