Fisher Law Office

Church accused of covering up sex crimes

Some victims of childhood sexual abuse have been critical of churches and organizations they say helped hide it and allow the behavior to continue. One woman says that she told church leaders in both California and a nearby state about sex crimes committed by her father, a church employee. She cited their failure to report the abuse to police in a recent civil lawsuit.

The woman alleges that her father sexually abused her as a child. She says she reported this to church authorities multiple times, and although he was kicked out of the church once for one year, he was apparently never reported to police. She says he was allowed back into the church after an appearance in church court.

The church claims that it has a zero tolerance policy for abuse and has updated its guidelines for how church leaders should respond to these incidents. There is also a church hotline available for leaders looking to help victims. Churches that become aware of sex crimes often have a legal obligation to report these incidents, and could face lawsuits of criminal charges if they fail to do so.

The statute of limitations is often a factor in these cases. In this case, the church cannot be named in the woman's lawsuit because of the statute of limitations in Utah, where it was filed. California may have different laws than other states depending on the crime type. Anyone arrested in relation to sex crimes should review the possible charges, limitations on those charges and possible defenses with a lawyer.

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