Utah’s Child Sex Abuse Problem

a mormonStatistics show that Utah has the highest rate of child sex abuse in country.  Even these statistics do not tell the whole story because the majority of abuse and sex crimes are never reported.

Statistics revealed during a conference on child abuse and child sexual abuse demonstrated that Utah is one of the leading states in the nation for incidents of child abuse and child sex abuse. Of the 6,900 cases of child abuse reported in 2014 in Utah, 27% involved sexual abuse.

“The abuse is not only terrible while it’s going on, it’s not only horrible in itself, but afterwards, it makes [the children] susceptible to further victimization,” said Utah’s Attorney General Sean Reyes, who addressed the conference.

The problem is exacerbated by Utah’s robust “Priest-Penitent Privilege” law that makes confidential all sorts of communications between church members and church leaders beyond the usual “confessions” to a clergy member. Utah churches hide behind this broad privilege in sex-abuse lawsuits, refusing to provide information that could lead to convictions against perpetrators or accountability for their own clergy, even in cases involving repeat offenses by the same person.

Dumas Law Group has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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