Sexual abuse case against Mormon Church begins in West Virginia

Source: The Washington Post

 January 18 at 5:54 AM

The spire of the Salt Lake City Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is seen in Salt Lake City on Oct. 12, 2011. Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg

Michael Jensen preyed on children in the close-knit Mormon community around Martinsburg, W.Va. At least, that’s how law enforcement officials and at least half a dozen families see it now.

But for years, Jensen was a trusted member of the local church community, a young man whom Mormon leaders praised as a role model for youths — and recommended as a babysitter for one child after another, even as reports allegedly came back to some church volunteers that Jensen was sexually abusing boys and girls as young as two.

Five years ago, Jensen went to jail for abusing two children.

But a group of parents say now that it’s not just Jensen who should be held responsible; it’s the much larger Mormon hierarchy in West Virginia that they believe failed to respond appropriately to complaints about Jensen. The six families, who all say their children were abused by Jensen, are suing local Mormon leaders and the global church.

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