One of the worst cases so far, showing how far blind faith LDS members are willing to go to cover up sexual child abuse happened in Eastern Idaho. Journalist Peter Zuckerman, wrote a multi-part story : Scouts' Honour in the Idaho Falls Post Register newspaper.
The story began when journalist Peter Zuckerman and the Post Register began a legal fight to unseal court documents and obtained copies of the court records for civil and criminal lawsuits,revealing multiple instances of sexual abuse by local Boy Scout leaders, including a man named Brad Stowell. In 1997, Stowell had been convicted on two counts of sexual abuse of a minor. What was unknown to the public - and what the court records revealed - was that Stowell had admitted under oath in a court deposition in 1999 to molesting 24 boys, beginning as far back as 1988. And yet, Zuckerman learned, Stowell remained a Boy Scout leader of an LDS Boy Scout Chapter. "Inspired" LDS ecclesiastical leaders, as you will see in hundreds of cases posted on this blog, knowingly harbored a pedophile, because protecting the image of the LDS Church is always more important for the woolf pack of LDS Apologetics, than preventing children being sexually abused.
We will describe the cases, the perpetrators, some of the victims in posts but in this post we will focus on how the LDS members in the area reacted to this "whistle blower". Devout LDS members will always as a knee jerk reaction defend their faith, even when they are totally wrong. Most often they will use character assassination on those who reveal truth that is inconvenient and attack the victims.
The national Boy Scouts of America and its local affiliate, the Grand Teton Council, had hired powerful lawyers to ensure that the public would never have access to the court files and hear the whole story about Stowell. Moreover, one high-level local official of the LDS Church, which sponsors most of the Grand Teton Councils scout troops, was aware not only of the allegations, but also that Stowell had undergone sex offender counseling.
When The Post Register published Zuckerman's Articles in 2005 the paper was immediately accused by the LDS community of being anti-Mormon, anti-Boy Scout and anti-American. Advertisers canceled ads. The newsroom - staffed by many Mormons and former Scouts or Scout leaders - felt the pressure even when, in an open letter to readers, the paper's Mormon-born, Eagle Scout publisher defended the series.
Meanwhile, there was a story brewing behind the stories. The reporter Peter Zuckerman is gay - a detail he and the newspaper considered irrelevant to his reporting. But even before the "Scouts' Honor" stories were published, the Grand Teton Council issued a denial and provided its leadership with guidelines on how to respond to the articles. A wealthy local LDS Businessman Frank Vandersloot, owner of Melaleuca, The Wellness Company, (which Owns Nicole Miller Skin Care) spent huge amounts on ads in the Post Register decrying and attacking what it called biased reporting, and spotlighting Zuckerman's homosexuality, Zuckerman became part of his own story in a way he had never imagined.
Yet, the Post Register continued to uncover and publish documentation of other local Boy Scout incidents of pedophilia, including that of an individual who was convicted in 1991 of raping boys in Utah.
Eventually, Zuckerman left Idaho Falls, run out of town by those who opposed his reporting. But his work at the Post Register on the "Scouts' Honor" series resulted in the public identification of four local pedophiles and, perhaps more significantly, sparked a successful effort by the victims' families to change Idaho law and eliminate the statute of limitations on prosecuting perpetrators of child sexual abuse.
Peter Zuckerman won many National Journalism awards for exposing the sex abuse scandal and the Coverups by the Boyscouts and the LDS ecclesiastical leaders, including the Scripps Foundation's 2005 National Journalism Awards for distinguished service to the first amendment. Frank Vandersloot leading a woolfpack of LDS apologists and the Grand Teton Counsil, however will always be remembered for their dishonorable heartless actions. To this very day they still attack the victims and their families and the Post Register: (also notice comments from a divided community):
Trust us -these ferocious LDS members will never cease to attack the victims and the whistleblowers that exposed their LDS Church leaders and told the truth about them. As we will document in more posts to come, the LDS Boy Scouts Leaders and the LDS Church did not learn anything from this scandal.
The atrocities and coverups was documented in the PBS show: EXPOSÉ: America's Investigative Reports: In a Small town: Links to videos in 2 parts: After this preview trailer.
In A Small Town part 1
In A Small Town part 2
It is our sincere hope that lawsuits will bring justice and restitution to the victims and their families. We will not forget them and they are on prayer lists.
This sex abuse scandal paved the way for removing the statute of limitation on child abuse cases in Idaho. Similar cases involving the LDS Church and LDS Boy Scouts leaders in Oregon removed the statute of limitations in the state of Oregon. It is our hope that this will happen in Utah too, to bring justice to the staggering number of victims of sexual childhood abuse , that LDS Ecclesiastical leaders have covered up. Laywers have work for decades and settlements is going to cost the LDS Church hundreds of Millions of dollars, in settlement out of courts. The lawsuits may be announced by local media, but will in 95 percent of all cases be settled out of court, to prevent the public to from knowing about the astronomical amounts the LDS Church has to pay for the poor leadership of the LDS lay clergy. We estimate that the LDS Church is going to pay at least 5 billion dollars in punitive damages to victims of sexual child abuse. You will not be able to read that in the Ensign magazine! Or hear that mentioned in general conference speaches.
Truth and justice will finally prevail. Ironically it takes a gay man; Peter Zuckerman; to shows us the truth and to do the right thing. The LDS Church and LDS scout leaders and local LDS members however, show us what they really are: a bunch of bigots, hypocrites and ferocious apologists of Mormon sexual child abusers. Matt 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits.