Since most my titles are flippant, we're going to leave this one blank


First of all, is there anything more horrific than child abuse? I am at a loss to name something. And, if that abuse is sexual, it almost passes the imagination about the pain, damage and scarring caused by the actions of the abuser. Since this is so far removed from my experience, I cannot even begin to understand what a victim must go through. My heart does go out to them and I wish it never had to happen to any child. Sadly, it still does.

Now, I have a question, though. Yesterday, another sexual abuse lawsuit was filed against the LDS Church. (Story here). The victims, six boys who were systematically abused by their Scoutmaster are seeking $25 million dollars plus punitive damages. Here's the question: what is the purpose of this lawsuit? Will the money really make the horrific, evil thing perpetuated by this man less destructive in these men's lives? As I said above, this is something (thank God) that I've never had to deal with personally, so maybe money is a sort of balm. Or perhaps the money is just a signal of regret on the part of the organization (now, whether the LDS Church ought to be held liable is questionable in my mind, but that's another debate for another time).

I could see some value to these large figure abuse cases if the Church was continuing to willfully ignore abuse and place abusers around children. This, I see, is part of the problem with the Catholic Church, as they continue to be a bit shadowy in terms of reforms. I'll admit that the LDS Church in the past probably did much, much less than they should have for victims of child abuse. But hasn't that changed? Haven't they responded? Aren't the new policies working? Granted, I don't have full answers to these questions, but I tend to think that the direction the Church has gone will have the effect of drastically reducing the chances of repeat offenders. Of course, it's a little harder to stop the first time folks, since you generally don't know who is going to do this sort of thing and under what circumstances.

Of course, maybe the new policies aren't working. One of the greatest liabilities that the Church faces, as an organization, the transient nature of its clergy and the surprising free reign local authorities are given. Also, the fact that members are very quickly assimilated into new wards and given positions of trust is another sticking point here, as an abuser could float around from stake to stake for quite a while before getting caught or even detected. But this veers to closely towards the question of whether the Church should pay at all.

I am not a litigious person. So these lawsuits for huge sums sort of baffle me. I'm equally baffled by most lawsuits, to be honest. However, in this case, it seems particularly strange to be able to affix some dollar figure to the irreversible injury that has plagued these men ever since they were molested.

I'd appreciate any ideas you can offer as to the end goal of this lawsuit or others of its ilk.


Samantha said...

I don't know that the church should have to pay, and I don't necessarily believe in bringing lawsuits to right wrongs--however--as a survivor of sexual abuse (extensive enough that I am left dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), I do have to say that therapy, hospital stays, loss of work time, and other setbacks during my quest to keep living have been very costly. So I can understand the price tag, sort of. And while I think the amount asked in exorbitant, I also understand living with the aftermath of abuse and I'd love to have someone else pay the price for my healing at this point. So maybe I understand more than I'd like to, after all.

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