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)
SNAP will be Representing Clergy Abuse Survivors in Rome!
We are taking the fight to Rome and are standing up for all survivors on a world stage! From February 19-25, Board President Tim Lennon, Seattle Leader Mary Dispenza, Los Angeles Leader Esther Hatfield Miller and Austin Leader Carol Midboe will be traveling to Rome for Pope Francis' Papal Abuse Summit.
If you are a member of the media and looking to get in touch with these survivors while in Rome, click here for our media advisory and contact information. If you are interested in connecting with a survivor in the US from your area of coverage, please contact one of the SNAP leaders in the US listed below:
- East Coast/DC: Becky Ianni (SNAPvirginia@cox.net, 703-801-6044)
- Midwest/Chicago: Zach Hiner (email@example.com, 517-974-9009)
- Midwest/St. Louis: David Clohessy (firstname.lastname@example.org, 314314-566-9790)
- West Coast / San Francisco: Melanie Sakoda (email@example.com, 925-708-6175)
If you are looking to help spread the word about the importance of this summit and for survivors to be heard, add your voice to the conversation on social media using the hashtag #PBC2019. Be sure to follow SNAP on twitter and Facebook and share our posts, add your comments, and let the world know that we are watching!Learn More