MormonLeaks: Leaked document sheds light on LDS Church's handling of 7 sex abuse cases
(KUTV) — The website MormonLeaks obtained a formerly confidential document that shows how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in 2012, handled allegations of sexual assault against missionaries and one stake president.
Ryan McKnight, founder of MormonLeaks, a website that often publishes documents leaked by people who want to remain anonymous, said the person who leaked the document to him is someone whose credibility is “beyond reproach.”
The document is titled Special Investigations and Projects. Kirton McKonkie, the name of a Utah law firm, appears in the heading.
At the foot of each page are the words “Attorney Work Product – Privileged and Confidential.”
The document summarizes allegations in seven cases and offers a summary on the status or resolution of the case.
“It seems to show that the Church’s main concern is its image and the aftereffects of this abuse, as opposed to the focus being on the victims,” McKnight said.
Nowhere does the document indicate that any case was referred to police for investigation.
Three cases involve missionaries in foreign countries who were accused of sexually abusing children, including an 8-year-old.
In that case, the missionary was returned home, but the missionary council “determined no action would be taken.”
In another case, where a missionary confessed to touching and kissing a 15-year-old girl, the document indicates there was reluctance to notify police.
“The missionary department is reluctant to send this elder home where he may face prosecution for a felony,” the document states.
McKnight said he believes the Church should call the police and let them figure out what to do with perpetrators. The Church’s job, in his view, is to focus on taking care of the victims of abuse.
“I don’t think it’s the Church’s job to adjudicate these cases and to decide whether or not the missionary is guilty,” McKnight said.
It’s not clear how the Church handles similar allegations today, he said.
McKnight said he called Kirton McConkie to confirm the authenticity of the document.
He said the law firm responded via email, only asking him to redact the names of victims before publishing the document.
2News contacted the law firm and left two voicemails.
Nobody from the firm returned the calls.
Calls were also made to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They made no comment.