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Molestation Suits vs the Mormon Church, Boy Scouts

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on November 18, 2009 12:50 PM

Portland Oregon attorney, Kelly Clark, filed suits in Washington, Oregon and California on Monday, charging the Mormon Church and the Boy Scouts of America with liability for the molestation of his clients when they were children.  The cases, against both organizations in San Francisco and Seattle and against the Church alone in Portland, all concern allegations of molestation that took place in the 1970's and '80's. Clark has a long standing practice specializing in representing victims of abuse.

In the case filed in San Francisco Superior Court, the plaintiffs known as John Does 1-3, are brothers. They contend that the defendant molested them while serving as their bishop, scout master and later their step-father while they were living in the Sunnyvale area. They claim the Church ignored their complaints about the molestation. According to the judge, a jury will be left to determine the specific amount of damages.

In the Seattle case, the plaintiff also claims he and others were abused by an assistant scout master, chosen by the Mormon Church's Shelton Ward. The plaintiff, who was 13 at the time, says the "abuse haunts him still - as does his failure to protect others, some of whom were even younger." 

The plaintiff, in the Portland case claims he was molested by a Mormon youth leader in mid-70's. This suit claims that the abuse was reported to a Church bishop, but not to law enforcement. The plaintiff here is seeking nearly $5 million in damages

Various representatives and lawyers for the Mormon Church said the institution took such complaints very seriously. Chuck Gordon, a Seattle-based lawyer for the Church, said it would investigate the complaint and act accordingly. "While we do sympathize with all victims of abuse, the Church will defend itself against any accusation it deems to be false," Gordon said. 

One of the San Francisco plaintiffs is still a devout member of the Mormon Church.

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