Tags: Law Enforcement | Religion | mormons | confidentiality | child | sex abuse | confession

Wife Sues Mormons for Reporting Husband's Confession of Child Sex Abuse

Architecture of a Church of Latter-day Saints Willamette Valley Oregon
(Gino Rigucci/Dreamstime)

Thursday, 09 January 2020 05:28 PM

An Oregon woman is suing the Mormon church for nearly $10 million, saying clergy violated a promise of confidentiality by reporting her husband's confession of child sex abuse.

The lawsuit by Kristene Johnson seeking $9.54 million from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was filed in Marion County, Oregon, Circuit Court, the Statesman Journal reported.

Timothy Johnson's confession to clergy was confidential, the family lawyer argues, the newspaper reported.

According to The Oregonian, the wife listed herself and four of her children as plaintiffs. Citing criminal case records, the news outlet said the couple's fifth child was molested by her father over four years when she was a pre-teen and teenager.

When Kristene Johnson learned he had "engaged in inappropriate conduct" the couple followed church doctrine by having Johnson confess and repent his sins before church clergy and the official church court, the lawsuit states. 

What the church did not tell Johnson was if he confessed to the abuse, they would report his actions to local law enforcement, according to the lawsuit.

Johnson, 47, was arrested in 2017, pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree sexual abuse and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

"Protecting victims and ensuring proper reporting is a top priority for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," a church spokesman told the Statesman Journal.

"The Church teaches that leaders and members should fulfill all legal obligations to report abuse to civil authorities."

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Claiming clergy violated a promise of confidentiality by reporting her husband's confession of child sex abuse, Kristene Johnson seeking $9.54 million from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Statesman Journal reported.
mormons, confidentiality, child, sex abuse, confession, lawsuit
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2020-28-09
Thursday, 09 January 2020 05:28 PM
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