State Lawmaker Advised Mormon Bishop Against Reporting Church Member Who Sexually Abused Daughters, Lawsuit Filings Say

Utah state representative told a Mormon bishop not to report a church member’s sexual abuse, advice that led to seven years of rape and abuse committed by the church member against his own daughters, according to new lawsuit documents.

State Rep. Merrill Nelson (R-UT), a prominent lawyer for the Mormon church, allegedly answered the first call from a help line when Bishop John Herrod told him that Arizona church member Paul Adams had admitted to sexually abusing two of his daughters. For more than two years, Nelson communicated with Herrod and another bishop who knew about the abuse allegations, according to call records, the Associated Press reported.

Nelson told Herrod “that he could be sued if he reported, and the instruction by counsel not to report Paul [Adams] to the authorities was the law in Arizona and had nothing to do with Church doctrine,” according to the plaintiff’s filings. However, as the AP reported, Arizona law allows blanket immunity for those who report child sexual abuse or neglect.

The sex abuser’s two daughters and one of his sons are trying to gain access to records from the Mormon church, but the church has refused them based on confidentiality. After a county judge ruled in the victims’ favor to see the records, the Mormon church took the case to the Court of Appeals.

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Former Utah mayor, bishop arrested for sex abuse of multiple children, including toddlers

A former bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been arrested as part of an ongoing sex abuse investigation involving multiple victims over the course of several decades.

Carl Johnson, 77, was arrested in Orem on Wednesday and booked into the Davis County Jail on seven counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child.

Detectives say Johnson abused children as young as 2 years old and held numerous positions of trust in the Church, including as a bishop. Johnson also served as Mayor of West Bountiful City in the 90s.

“In all these cases, the victims were told not to tell anyone else about what happened to them. In some cases, these crimes were suppressed in one way or another by Johnson when any disclosures were made. Johnson used his position of trust to influence any disclosures,” a police affidavit says.

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Resurfaced Documentary Uncovers Accusations of Child Abuse Against Former Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley

The documentary The True Story of Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley and its accusations against Mormon Church leadership has not been seen by the public in almost 30 years — until now.

In late May, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office announced an investigation into “ritualized child sexual abuse” in 3 different Utah counties. Following that announcement, The Last American Vagabond (TLAV) produced a series of 5 articles focused on the sheriff’s investigation, as well as claims of child sexual abuse in Utah at large, and within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).

In our 5th report we investigated the history of claims of child abuse within the Mormon Church. From the Pace Memo to Paperdolls, accusations of various church members and officials participating in and/or covering up organized sexual abuse of children are not hard to find in LDS history.

On the heels of our reporting on these historical accusations, The Associated Press dropped a bombshell of an investigation which is causing headaches for the LDS. Their reporting shows that church leadership used their “help line” to cover up reports of pedophilia.

The AP obtained almost 12,000 pages of previously sealed records from a child sex abuse lawsuit against the Mormon Church in West Virginia. These documents and testimony from victims make it clear that the so-called help line can “easily be misused by church leaders to divert abuse accusations away from law enforcement and instead to church attorneys who may bury the problem, leaving victims in harm’s way.”

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Utah Ritualized Sexual Abuse Investigation: The Mormon Church And Child Sexual Abuse

An investigation into ritualized child sexual abuse was first announced by the Utah County Sheriff’s Office on May 31st. The USCO released a statement detailing how “multiple county and federal agencies are investigating reports of ritualistic child sexual abuse from as far back as 1990”. I have been following the investigation since the initial announcement and reporting on various angles of the story. I encourage readers to spend time with the previous four parts of this series, particularly the third report on the history of similar allegations in the state of Utah.

For this report I will be looking at the historical record, including lawsuits, church records, and previous reporting from other outlets to document the history of allegations involving members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon Church. I have spoken with current and former members of the Church who hold varying views regarding allegations of ritualized child sexual abuse.

Some former members of the Church of Mormon believe the church itself is corrupted at its root which allows for these types of activities to happen in the first place. I have also spoken with members of the Church of Mormon who acknowledge that the church has a pedophile problem, but do not believe the core structures of the church are infected by pedophiles.

I want to make it clear that this investigation is not intended to be an attack on anyone’s religious beliefs, or individual Mormons. Nor is this piece intended to paint the picture that the entire Church of Mormon is aware of the reports of child sexual abuse. Although some former members of the church have gone so far as accusing the Church of Mormon of being a front for Masonic and/or Satanic activity, I am not ready to make such a judgement. However, I do believe these controversial claims warrant further investigation.

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