Looking for a “Deep Pocket”? The Alleged LDS Indian Student Placement Program Navajo Abuse Case
By Ken K. Gourdin
Attorneys for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are moving to quash a subpoena of President Thomas S. Monson in the case of four Navajos alleging abuse that reportedly occurred while the plaintiffs participated in the Church’s since-discontinued Indian Student Placement Program.
I think it’s a reach (to say the least!) to say that President Monson would have any direct evidence having any bearing on these individual cases, so I would bet (if I were a betting man) that the subpoena will be quashed. And of course, subpoenaing Bishop Jones or President Smith or Brother Anderson, who would have more direct information regarding any alleged abuse, isn’t likely to garner nearly the publicity that subpoenaing President Monson is, which, I suspect, if we were to corner plaintiffs’ attorneys and demand an answer, is rather the point. My comment, as the title to this post indicates, is about the case more generally.
See Salt Lake Tribune coverage here (this and all other links accessed July 23, 2016):
This action will play out in court, obviously, but according to the article, the alleged abuse happened in “the 60s, 70s, and 80s.” Yes, as though it needed to be said, sexual abuse is reprehensible. Yes, accepting, arguendo, that it actually occurred, as though it needed to be said, anyone in a position to stop it should have taken action to do so. The thing is, that includes the natural parents of these children.
Let’s suppose that at least one plaintiff is representative of the alleged abuse from each decade. You’re telling me that if each (or if any) of them had told their parents, “Mommy and Daddy, I don’t want to go live with the Joneses next school year. They … do things to me,” no one was curious enough to ask any questions for the length of their participation in the program? Not only were no parents curious enough, no teachers were, no school counselors were, no local religious leaders were, no foster siblings were, no friends were … nobody was.
Yes, sexual abuse is horrible, and it should be severely dealt with when well-founded accusations come to light, no denying that. But the thing is, proponents of the Gigantic Conspiracy of Silence seem to be wrong at least as often as they are right, and innocent people’s lives have been ruined as a result. (See, e.g., the following address:
“But we don’t care about them, Ken,” you say, “because they’re adults. We care about the children!” Mmm-kay. But if I were an attorney representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this matter, and if it were actually to get to trial (a big “if,” that), I would do my level best during voir dire to see to it that members of the jury hearing the case are impervious to such bare appeals to pity and to emotion as that.
Yes, I just spoke up on favor of the Big, Bad, Mean, Evil [Insert-Pejorative-of-Choice-Here] LD$, Inc. But that’s really a central point, too, isn’t it? Granting, arguendo, that the abuse occurred, no one else who could have stopped it has such deep pockets, so no one else is worth going after (quite literally), even though such parties bear much more direct responsibility for anything that occurred, right?