Seven years of sex abuse: How Mormon officials let it happen

A dirt road leads to what was once the home of Paul Adams and his family on the outskirts of Bisbee, Ariz., Oct. 26, 2021. Adams, a Mormon and U.S. Border Patrol agent living with his wife and six children, admitted he had posted videos on the dark web of him molesting two of his children, a 9-year-old girl and a younger daughter he began raping when she was only 6 months old. Adams committed suicide after his arrest. The revelation that Mormon officials directed an effort to conceal years of abuse in the Adams household sparked a criminal investigation of the church by Cochise County attorney and a civil lawsuit by three of the Adams' children. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

A dirt road leads to what was once the home of Paul Adams and his family on the outskirts of Bisbee, Ariz., Oct. 26, 2021. Adams, a Mormon and U.S. Border Patrol agent living with his wife and six children, admitted he had posted videos on the dark web of him molesting two of his children, a 9-year-old girl and a younger daughter he began raping when she was only 6 months old. Adams committed suicide after his arrest. The revelation that Mormon officials directed an effort to conceal years of abuse in the Adams household sparked a criminal investigation of the church by Cochise County attorney and a civil lawsuit by three of the Adams’ children. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills) 

By MICHAEL REZENDES | The Associated Press

BISBEE, Ariz.  — MJ was a tiny, black-haired girl, just 5 years old, when her father admitted to his bishop that he was sexually abusing her.

The father, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and an admitted pornography addict, was in counseling with his bishop when he revealed the abuse. The bishop, who was also a family physician, followed church policy and called what church officials have dubbed the “help line” for guidance.

But the call offered little help for MJ. Lawyers for the church, widely known as the Mormon church, who staff the help line around the clock told Bishop John Herrod not to call police or child welfare officials. Instead he kept the abuse secret.

“They said, ‘You absolutely can do nothing,’” Herrod said in a recorded interview with law enforcement.

Herrod continued to counsel MJ’s father, Paul Douglas Adams, for another year, and brought in Adams’ wife, Leizza Adams, in hopes she would do something to protect the children. She didn’t. Herrod later told a second bishop, who also kept the matter secret after consulting with church officials who maintain that the bishops were excused from reporting the abuse to police under the state’s so-called clergy-penitent privilege.

  This angle of Mets closer Edwin Díaz's absolutely electric bullpen entrance is so darn awesome

Adams continued raping MJ for as many as seven more years, into her adolescence, and also abused her infant sister, who was born during that time. He frequently recorded the abuse on video and posted the video on the internet.

Adams was finally arrested by Homeland Security agents in 2017 with no help from the church, after law enforcement officials in New Zealand discovered one of the videos. He died by suicide in custody before he could stand trial.

The Associated Press has obtained nearly 12,000 pages of sealed records from an unrelated child sex abuse lawsuit against the Mormon church in West Virginia. The documents offer the most detailed and comprehensive look yet at the so-called help line Herrod called. Families of survivors who filed the lawsuit said they show it’s part of a system that can easily be misused by church leaders to divert abuse accusations away from law enforcement and instead to church attorneys who may bury the problem, leaving victims in harm’s way.

The help line has been criticized by abuse victims and their …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News

(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *