Settlement reached in church suit

LIHUE — The Mormon Church has settled a lawsuit by a Kauai woman, who accused a missionary of molesting her as a child.

The woman, identified as Jane Roe in court documents, sued the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2014 over an alleged sexual assault that took place about 40 years prior.

Her attorney declined to comment on the conditions or dollar amount of the settlement, citing concerns that he might violate the terms of a non-disclosure agreement included in the contract.

A lawyer for the LDS church did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Roe described the alleged sexual assault during a deposition two years ago, testifying that a Mormon missionary cornered her during a church get-together at a house in Waimea in the early 1970s, when she was around six years old.

According to Roe, she and the other children were shown a movie about Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion, and then sent to bed when it was time for the adult part of the meeting. The alleged incident began after the movie.

“I was trying to sleep, but it was very hard ‘cause it’s not my home,” Roe said during the deposition. “And all of a sudden, I felt someone in the bed.”

The missionary — a man, then in his early 20s, whose name she never learned — started touching her inappropriately, according to Roe’s testimony.

“He moved his hand around my hip, and all through it, he’s telling me that this is what God wants. Now, in all due respect, what kind of God is this? ‘Cause I’m scared now,” she said. “And he told me he loves you and you’re special. It didn’t feel special. Sorry.”

At some point, Roe said her sister came into the room and asked what was going on, but she left when the missionary explained he was only telling the little girl about God to help her sleep. Roe said she didn’t say anything or motion to her sister because the missionary had told her he was only doing God’s will.

“And I’m thinking in my mind, why? If this is what God wants?” she asked herself. “Because they’re going to say that you did something wrong.”

The molestation continued.

“I thought he was going to go. He didn’t. He continued. He told me — kept telling me how special — how much I’m loved, how much God is happy with me. I don’t know, but I wasn’t too happy,” she said, describing the pain. It started to become unbearable, Roe said, and she thought to herself, “Oh, my God. I wished I’d died.”

Later that night, Roe said her parents saw her in pain and asked what happened. When she told them, they called the president of the Kekaha LDS Church, whose home the meeting had been held in that night.

He was also deposed for the lawsuit and testified that after the phone call, he went to the missionaries’ home on church property to ask about the incident. According to court documents, the church president testified that he spoke with two missionaries at home for about five minutes, and a decision was made to contact the mission president in Honolulu.

Several days later, Roe said in her deposition, and she remembers her mom telling me the missionary was going to be sent “far away.”

“How far?” she asked her mother. “She said, ‘Over the ocean.’ And that didn’t make me feel better.”

Roe said her mother told her not to tell anyone about it, and that was the end of the discussion.

“It bugged me throughout my life,” she said. “My whole family is LDS. So there wasn’t a moment I could not forget.”

The Mormon Church’s attorneys have maintained throughout the lawsuit that the church is not legally responsible for the actions of its missionaries and have asked that the case be dismissed due to the length of time that elapsed between the alleged molestation and the filing of the suit.

  1. harry oyama December 16, 2019 2:36 pm Reply

    Joseph Smith the “prophet” founder of the Mormon Church himself was a pedophile and sex predator including a mass murdered who not only participated directly in the massacre of hundreds of men and boys of a wagon train in the early 1800’s. Then took the women and young girls for multiple wives.

    Joseph himself took a 14 year old white girl as one of his wives. Sure when that kind of “leading by example”, his clergy would sure follow in his foot steps of “holyness”. Religions are a scam and evil

    1. manongindashadow0711 December 17, 2019 6:52 pm Reply

      Mr. Oyama, ” who are you to judge?” ” Are you God?”
      Joseph Smith is a man who made mistakes like you, me, and any other man/human. Come judgement day, Joseph Smith will be judge by God for his short comings. As you, me, and any man/human will be judge by God for our short comings.

      The LDS Church is a church of God and named after Jesus Christ.

      1. Tim Harper December 18, 2019 10:29 am Reply

        I find it funny that we all universally condemn Scrooge for hoarding rather than helping the poor; we all rally around the message of the widow’s mite.

        And yet, when we learn of a religious institution stockpiling $100,000,000,000 US dollars, faithful Mormons suddenly turn in to Scrooge apologists.

    2. Debra Kekaualua December 17, 2019 8:06 pm Reply

      Agree, Look what Mormons continue to do as well as all the different flocks, many of which are hypocrits and dismiss or have their priorities upsidedown! mAhalo for your insight, especially as religion has destroyed Hawaii-nei as has military politics and stolen mailbox yet to be EXposed!

  2. Diamond December 21, 2019 4:50 pm Reply

    @manongindas… Fallacious argument. Joseph Smith claimed God spoke to him, and gave him the restored truth, and God told him what he wanted people to do!. Do you see anybody here claiming that? His ‘mistakes’ aren’t at all the same as mine, as I’m not telling people God speaks through me. We aren’t judging his humanity and mistakes!, We’re all capable of mistakes, that’s not a defense when someone destroys others or harms them. You, he and I have to account for those. But what’s really on trial here, is dld he really speak for God? Judging whether he’s telling the truth, is no comparison to mistakes I make. I haven’t made those claims, comparing my mistakes to his claims is ridiculous. The crimes he committed, the harm he caused are evidence of a man who lies to get what he wants. I judge him as not being a guy God spoke to at all. God gave to me, you, and your loved ones, methods of determining truth from cons. If you call the cops on a con, and get told you make mistakes too! How dare you judge! You’ll wonder where Justice went. If his mistakes bring his claim to be a prophet in question, it’s ludicrous and fallacious to tell people ‘Don’t judge him! He makes mistakes just like you!’ We aren’t judging him as a man, we are judging his claims to be prophet. HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST THAT PEOPLE SHOULDN’T JUDGE his CLAIM TO SPEAK FOR GOD, BY HIS Character, Words And Actions! I’m not claiming God told you to follow me. I’m also not defending the atrocious act described here by his followers. Yes! They both should be judged. And if I commit a crime, I guarantee I’ll be judged too. What’s wrong with you?

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