"Salt Lake Temple, Utah" by Entheta / CC BY 2.5

Mormon leaders reported a child molester’s confession. Now his wife is suing the church for $9.5 million.

Jan 9, 2020

By Antonia Noori Farzan

In recent years, prominent religious institutions have been dogged with accusations that they persistently covered up sexual abuse and failed to report heinous crimes.

But a new lawsuit makes the opposite argument, claiming the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints violated a child molester’s confidentiality by turning his confession over to the authorities.

The $9.54 million suit was filed Friday by Kristine Johnson, whose husband, Timothy Samuel Johnson, is serving a 15-year prison sentence for sexually abusing a child. As the Salem Statesman Journal first reported, the lawsuit alleges Johnson became aware of her husband’s misdeeds in 2016, but chose not to involve the police. Instead, the couple went to the leaders of their church ward in Stayton, Ore., so the matter could be handled through Mormon doctrine.

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