The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that a Mormon bishop has been charged with failing to report child abuse. This, in years past, was a very serious issue and one that had some damaging long-term affects on innocent victims. My book, WIVES AND SISTERS, is based on this premise, and I think, justly shows the damage that can be wrought when untrained clergy attempt to solve problems they are not trained to deal with.
There are few details on the case, so as far as Bishop Moon goes, I think we all have to step back and give our justice system a chance to work. Moon’s case is a serious one, as he is also president of the Duchesne County School Board. The LDS Church has not stated whether or not Moon will continue to perform his duties as a ward bishop while the charges are investigated.
The LDS Church DID say: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind and is extremely proactive in its efforts to protect children and heal victims from this societal plague,” spokesman Scott Trotter said. “Bishops are instructed on how to report abuse and to follow applicable law.”
Now, here comes the issue. The Tribune reports:
The charges against Moon, 43, reportedly stem from a late July meeting with a teenage member of his congregation. During the meeting, the girl allegedly revealed that she had been sexually assaulted by a teenage boy and Moon advised her not to report the assault to law enforcement.
Duchesne County Sheriff Travis Mitchell and Chief Deputy Dave Boren were out of the office Wednesday and unavailable for interviews, a secretary said. Sheriff’s Detective Dan Bruso, who investigated the case, did not immediately return requests for comment.
Bruso was quoted earlier this week in the Uintah Basin Standard as saying that when the girl told her parents of Moon’s counsel, they finally reported the incident to law enforcement.
When confronted by police, Moon said he did not believe the girl’s disclosure needed to be reported and that the matter could be handled within the church, according to Bruso.
Scott Trotter, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Wednesday that he could not confirm reports that Moon’s legal representation in the case was being handled by the church.
If Moon IS being represented by the Church, this is a HUGE conflict of interest. For whatever the details of the sexual assault may be, “No means No.” I don’t care if you tell me the girl slept with ten other guys, or wore a short skirt, or was behaving in a promiscuous manner–all things we girls heard growing up. NO MEANS NO. If I tell you no, I don’t care if I am standing naked in front of you, I SAID NO.
That said, if I say NO while enticing you, I have my own issues to deal with, and forcing me to do something with you is NOT THE ANSWER. It’s not the females responsibility to STOP the male, no matter what men, churches, idiots, might say. You have a brain, and it is not located in your genitals, despite all misconceptions, and YOU CAN STOP.
And if someone tells you no, you damned well better stop.
And turnabout is fair play. If YOU tell someone no, and they falsely report you of a crime, then THEY (the female/male/priest/clergy) should be charged with a crime as well. I am aware that this does happen, but it’s rare. More often than not, the VICTIM is, indeed, a victim, and she/he did, indeed, SAY NO.
In some instances, such as in that of very young children, they don’t even HAVE to say no. YOU the abuser know better. You are the adult. No is not even required.
At any rate, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. There is ENOUGH evidence that the sheriff’s department in Duchesne County IS pressing charges. That tells me there is merit to the claim. And if you tell someone not to report a crime, you might as well have held their hand and stood their while they did it.