Roughly 12-14 years ago a sibling of mine came forward with a terrible story. He gathered the family together and informed us that when he was younger he had been groomed and repeatedly fondled and raped by a former bishop. He approximated that he had been about 10 -12 years old when it hard started. It continued for several years afterwards. He had decided to inform the current Stake Presidency of said Bishop. And he wanted us all to know what had happened before he did because things might get crazy. I was shocked, but I was extremely impressed and proud of my brother’s bravery that day.
My parents were both present as our former bishop was read a letter composed by my brother detailing the events of their highly inappropriate relationship. The former bishop confessed to it all. At this point my brother and family naively expected The Church to take action both within The Church and also with law enforcement. The Church would do the right thing we thought.
After several months of silence an anonymous person informed my parents that The Stake Presidency had been instructed by their superiors to say nothing about the crimes of the bishop, not even to their own families. In disbelief we realized that The Church was protecting a pedophile in their ranks. Discouraged, my brother decided that if the Church would not go to the law he would. At the very least my brother expected an apology from The Church. Maybe some counseling. He had hoped that informing them might make them reconsider some of their policies. He didn’t want this to happen to anyone else. But The Church made no contact with my brother. The silence was deafening on all sides.
My brother went to the police with his story and the bishop was arrested. He was released on bail shortly afterwards. The press picked up on this story and it was reported widely locally. After the story broke the District Attorney started receiving calls from other victims of our ex-bishop. Apparently my brother was not the only victim. This District Attorney would not give exact numbers but he did say that the number was “substantial.” Unfortunately all other victims decided to remain anonymous.
A funny thing happened then. After months (perhaps a year even,) The Church came forth with a statement that read: “”The Church was shocked to learn recently of these allegations, particularly considering the relationship of trust that must exist between a bishop and the members of his congregation. We express our deepest sympathy of the victim and his family. The Church has cooperated fully with law enforcement officers in their investigation of this matter.”
Wait, what? The Church is extending it’s deepest sympathies? They’re shocked at this news? If that was the case why hadn’t they apologized to my brother months ago? And why didn’t they alert the public that a pedophile who had victimized many was roaming freely among the unsuspecting? Why did they wait for the issue to become public before saying anything at all?
At this point it was painfully obvious that The Church did not give a damn about my brother and the emotional anguish that had haunted him for years. No. The Church was worried about it’s reputation. It was all about PR for them. And what was even more disturbing is the fact that the highest leaders of The Church were aware of this matter. President Hinckley was in on the sham! The Church doesn’t make a public statement without the leaders knowing, right? It made me sick. I was revolted at the trust I had extended to this institution at one point in my life.
The bishop walked away a free man. Not for lack of evidence. There was plenty of evidence to put him away. But it had been too long and the statute of limitations had passed. The Courts could do nothing. Soon the media attention faded and so did the horrific acts of an evil man. A man that may still be an active pedophile. Who knows how many more since then.
I was so angry at this ex-bishop. I was even more angry with the secrets and deceit of The Church. They played it all so well. They walked away clean. I’m still angry! But it’s not so much concerning the events of years ago. I’m still angry because I repeatedly hear the same story, over and over again. Another sexual predator in the Church that I hear about on the news or through acquaintances (I know a lot of people that have had this experience,) who slips away quietly after The Church instructs its leaders to say nothing about the sexual predator next door. Silence is their policy. And it happens again and again and again. People tell me I should let this go. Perhaps I can. But it won’t be until The Church of Jesus Christ and it’s sexual predator epidemic is front page news on The Washington Post or The New York times. There must be a reckoning! What the Church is doing is nothing short of evil!