An Oregon woman is suing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for $9.5 million because she claims a clergy member violated a promise of confidentiality by reporting her husband to authorities after he confessed to child sexual abuse.
The lawsuit alleges that the man, who is currently serving a 15-year sentence for sexually abusing their daughter, wanted to “repent for his sins” and told a local church panel of the molestation in 2016. The woman listed herself and four of their children as plaintiffs in the suit, claiming they all have been deprived of her husband’s “companionship, society, love, affection” and financial support, according to court documents.
The Oregonian reports that the couple’s fifth daughter, who the father allegedly abused over four years, was not listed in the lawsuit. Mormon church spokesman Eric Hawkins said, “The Church teaches that leaders and members should fulfill all legal obligations to report abuse to civil authorities” in a statement to the Oregonian. “In some circumstances, those obligations may be governed by their professional duty and in others by their role as clergy,” he said.