Summarized by Kent Larsen
Police Investigating LDS Bishops for Failing to Report Abuse
Salt Lake Tribune 10Feb00 D1
LOGAN, UTAH -- Police in Logan, Utah are looking into allegations that
three LDS bishops failed to report child sexual abuse they were made
aware of. The claims arise in the case of Jay Toombs, 44, of Benson,
Utah, who is facing three first-degree counts of aggravated sexual abuse
for allegedly fondling a 10-year-old boy in 1993 and 1994.
"There have been a significant number of allegations made," says Cache
County Attorney Scott Wyatt said. "We have filed charged based on one
boy's claims. We are looking at others." And the allegations against the
bishops apparently come from the boy's family, who claim they told the
bishop's about the abuse.
Wyatt notes that failing to report child abuse is a crime, "The tragedy
happens [in this type of case] when someone who has an obligation to
report abuse, doesn't," Wyatt said. "Then they later discover this
person has continued to perpetrate. That's hard to deal with. It's hard
to recognize your inaction could have been the cause of creating other
Clergy, including LDS bishop's are not obligated to report crimes heard
in "a confessional" capacity, according to Wyatt. Since many religions
hear the confessions of their members, legally requiring clergy to
report crimes heard in confessions would keep many members from
confessing their sins to clergy. However, if a member of the clergy
hears about a crime from someone other than the offender, they must
report it, according to Wyatt.
In this case, investigator's believe family members of the victim told
the LDS bishops, and that the bishop's failed to report the abuse.
The case against Toombs is just starting. He is being held in the Cache
County Jail pending a bail hearing.