My brother, M, was sexually molested as a child by somebody in our ward. We found out that my brother had been molested when his abuser wrote us a letter – after having confessed to his bishop, who did not report the abuse. My brother’s abuser served no jail time, despite having confessed to molesting and raping several children. Meanwhile, my brother began to molest one of our siblings. When this came out, he talked to our bishop, who was a social worker and therefore a mandated reporter. The bishop did not report my brother and did not even encourage my mother to seek therapy for my brother or for the sibling he molested.
Years later, I came to this same bishop because I was “struggling” with an attraction to other woman. It was just he and I, in a room, and I was 17. He told me to “do whatever I needed to do” about my attraction to women. Then he leaned in and threatened me with the eternal retribution that was certain to come when I acted upon my sinful desires. He urged me to take his phone number and call him when I was feeling suicidal over my life choices, as I surely would. He told me of the time when I would see Jesus face-to-face, and pay for my sins.
All the behavior by this bishop was wildly inappropriate. He never should have been alone with me discussing sex in the first place, and the process of coming out did indeed drive me to thoughts of suicide – not because of the consequences of being queer, but because of the fear and depression I had to overcome after leaving the Church and un-learning all the twisted doctrine I was taught.
Additionally (and this is hearsay, but reliable hearsay), several of my friends were harassed by their bishops growing up. A good friend of mine confided that she was part of a sexual exchange between the bishopric; she was the bishop’s daughter, and they would pass around their daughters and friends of their daughters to be raped and molested during after-church meetings. This is obvious an extreme example, but when you give people license to be alone and indulge in sexual fantasies with children, predators will take advantage of that.
Older men should NEVER be interviewing underage children about sex, especially alone.