Attorney Irwin Zalkin of the of Zalkin Law Firm answers the question.
I am Mormon and was abused as a child by an Elder of our local church. As I grew older I felt very un- chaste. I went to see my Bishop. He took my “confession” and told me I should read “the Book of Mormon” and that by doing so G-d would give me comfort. He said he would not be able to do anything more for me that this was a confidential matter. What can I do?
The Mormon Church, as in the case of Jehovah’s witnesses and many other religious denominations prefers to keep matters of child sexual abuse, confessions of child sexual abuse, quiet and under wraps. They want to keep it cloaked with this religious confidentiality or penitential privilege, from exposure to law enforcement. They are not equipped to deal with the consequences of childhood sexual abuse, nor are they motivated to deal with it. They would prefer to keep this information confidential and leave this to Gods will to the child to deal with.
Well that’s not good enough.
The consequences of childhood sexual abuse are lifelong and life lasting and can be severe throughout a person’s adult life. That person needs to get help, professional help and this situation needs to be reported to law enforcement. Do not allow yourself to be dissuaded from going to law enforcement under some threat of some religious consequence. It is the law, it is against the law, it’s a criminal act and it cannot be covered up. For the safety of others, it needs to be reported.
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