Headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement Friday regarding a recent Associated Press story, saying the report “seriously mischaracterized” the purpose of a helpline set up to assist local leaders when dealing with members who confess to abuse.

In their report published Thursday, AP reporter Michael Rezendes said the news organization “obtained nearly 12,000 pages of sealed records from a child sex abuse lawsuit.”

The AP said the records involved an Arizona bishop who learned about abuse during a confession from a member.

The report spoke about a helpline set up through the Church with Salt Lake City law firm Kirton McConkie. In their report, the Associated Press said “the help line has been criticized by abuse victims and their attorneys for being inadequate to quickly stop abuse and protect victims. Yet the Utah-based faith has stuck by the system despite the criticism and increasing scrutiny from attorneys and prosecutors.”

Friday’s statement said the Church’s help line is instrumental in ensuring that all legal requirements for reporting are met. When a leader calls the help line, the conversation is about how to stop the abuse, care for the victim and ensure compliance with reporting obligations, even in cases when the law provides clergy-penitent privilege or restricts what can be shared from private ecclesiastical conversations.

The Church, the statement read, “dedicates tremendous resources and efforts to prevent, report and address abuse,” and further stated, “the abuse of a child or any other individual is inexcusable.”

According to the Church statement, other safeguards were also in place to ensure the safety of members including training, and other resources on how to prevent, address and report abuse of any kind.


will@cvradio.com



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