WV--Victims blast Mormon officials in “bizarre” abuse case
For immediate release: Thursday, April 16
In an outrageous perversion of justice, victims of a twice-convicted serial child molester are being forced to pay half the legal fees of two court-appointed private lawyers in a civil abuse and cover up case, thanks to stunningly callous and aggressive legal tactics by Mormon church officials.
In 25 years of monitoring clergy sex abuse cases across the US, we’ve never seen anything like this.
Mormon officials have persuaded a West Virginia judge to make victims of Christopher Michael Jensen pay half the cost of a “discovery commissioner” to rule on discovery motions. And those same victims, in this same case, are being forced to pay half the cost of a second court-appointed private attorney, Kirk Bottner, who is acting as a “guardian ad litem” for Jensen, a serial predator who has been convicted for assaulting young kids in Utah and West Virginia.
How on earth can this be legal? Even if it is, it’s immoral. It’s especially immoral when purportedly spiritual figures propose, accept or benefit from this unfair and hurtful arrangement.
Our hearts go out to the families in this case. They’ve experienced three horrific betrayals – first by a child molester, then by callous Mormon officials and now by the misuse of our justice system by these Mormon officials.
We urge Mormons to stop using these aggressive legal maneuvers and apologize for their heartless actions. And we urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes or coverups by Mormons to call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids, and start healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have more than 20,000 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)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.