A young Irish woman is suing the Mormon Church for damages after she was abused when still a minor by one of its elders who has since fled to America.
The woman, who can’t be named for legal reasons, has brought High Court proceedings in Dublin against the Church and her alleged abuser.
The Irish Times reports that the woman was still below the legal age for consensual sex when she was repeatedly abused by the Church elder who served as a missionary in Ireland for the Irish Association of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints Ltd.
In court papers, the woman says she has suffered ‘loss and damage as a result of alleged sexual abuse, assault and false imprisonment by the man’.
The victim is suing the Mormon Church for ‘alleged fraudulent concealment and for allegedly allowing the man have unsupervised contact with her, exposing her to risk of injury and allegedly allowing her to be exploited’.
The woman also claims that ‘the church disregarded its own guidelines and advice that female elders were at all times to accompany young female members and had also failed to take any adequate steps to investigate these claims’.
The man alleged to have abused the girl has since left Ireland. The Mormon Church refused to say where he is living due to data protection laws but her lawyers have now tracked him down to an address in America with the help of private investigators.
He will now be served with High Court proceedings at his US address.
The woman states in her claim that she converted to Mormonism in her teens. She alleges the abuse began in about March 2007 when the man took charge of her religious instruction and that the abuse took place at various locations outside Dublin where the man was serving as a missionary.
The victim says that the man began with inappropriate touching before advancing to more serious forms of abuse including oral sex. She also states that the man had forcibly restrained and sexually abused her on one occasion while another church elder acted as sentry and alerted the man that other church members were approaching.
The man told her that while it was a ‘sin for others to act in such a way’, it was not for him as he ‘worthy and had been chosen by God’. She also that he tried to convince her that ‘everything he did manifested through the holy spirit’.
The missionary also told the girl that ‘dreadful things’ would happen to her if she told anyone of the abuse.
The woman says that when she told senior church members what happened, they told her not to reveal it to her non-Mormon parents or police.
Having left the church in 2008, the victim claims the alleged abuse had a terrible effect on her life. She says her health, wellbeing and relationships with others have suffered and she now suffers from self-harm, sleep deprivation and an eating disorder.
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