Survivors of sexual abuse often face numerous hurdles when seeking justice, including dealing with the trauma of abuse, navigating the legal system, and going up against powerful institutions with deep pockets.
One question survivors of sexual abuse within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) frequently ask is whether they can file a lawsuit anonymously. The answer isn’t simple, as some states allow for anonymous filings or pseudonyms in sex abuse claims while others do not.
The rules vary depending on the type of lawsuit being filed and the case’s specific circumstances. Survivors who are considering filing a lawsuit against the Mormon Church should understand their legal options and the potential risks and benefits of filing anonymously.
The LDS Help Line Fails its Sex Abuse Victims
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), has a structure that leaves sexual abuse survivors defenseless while safeguarding sex offenders, according to an Associated Press investigation.
Leaders in the church are obligated to report any suspected cases of sexual abuse to the internal hotline. Instead of reporting the abuse to law enforcement directly, the information is forwarded to the Church’s legal team.
Instead, the church’s legal team looks for ways to shield the organization from liability, and the allegations of sex abuse are covered up by the Mormon “help line“. This leaves the vulnerable member with the difficult decision of risking exposure by filing a lawsuit.
Your Fight Is Our Fight
Using a Pseudonym to Preserve Anonymity in a Mormon Sex Abuse Lawsuit
One option is to request permission to file your sex abuse claim against the LDS church under a pseudonym. To protect anonymity, cases must meet specific requirements.
Although Rule 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that all parties be identified, the cases of Doe v. Stegall in 1981 and Doe v. Frank in 1992 paved the way for plaintiffs to employ fictitious names.
However, when requesting anonymity, the judge has the final say, and you must identify yourself and provide relevant details before the judge. If it is determined that you may proceed without revealing your identity, then your name will remain confidential.
All of these rules, however, differ from state to state. A clergy sex abuse attorney can help you understand the right to anonymity in detail.
Can I Settle This With the Church on My Own and Avoid Going to Trial?
You might try to settle the matter with the religious leader’s lawyers and representatives outside of court. Such discussions, however, may force victims of clergy sexual abuse to confront their abusers.
A lawyer who specializes in cases of sexual abuse by clergy can, nevertheless, act as your representative in court and throughout negotiations. A lawyer can be there for you every step of the process, fighting for your interests and protecting you from further trauma.
You are within your rights to decline to participate in settlement talks or mediation and proceed to file a lawsuit against the Mormon Church as you see fit. While you may be required to see your abuser in court, we can take steps to prepare you and limit their contact.
We know how to get our clients the results they need in the toughest legal arenas.
Revealing Sexual Abuse Coverups by the Clergy is Possible and Necessary
Being in a position of authority, people seek clergy for guidance on matters of morality and ethics. When church leaders or clergy members abuse their position of trust to commit or cover up sexual assault, they dishonor their congregations and their faith itself.
The failure of many churches and other religious groups to properly investigate allegations of sexual assault and to protect members has been widely condemned. The perpetrators of these heinous crimes must be brought to justice and made to pay for their actions.
Maybe you tried to talk to somebody about what happened but they didn’t believe you. We know how devastating it can be when sexual abuse is ignored. We will pay attention and take action to ensure justice is served and that others are protected from such acts.
You will always work directly with your attorney throughout your case.
A Lawyer Can Help You File a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against the LDS Church
Mormon sex abuse victims often have fears of stigma and reprisal, and religious leaders are often more concerned with the church’s reputation. In one case, the AP reported that a Utah Lawmaker told a bishop to refrain from reporting allegations of child sex abuse to authorities.
We can help you to explore the ways to remain anonymous in a Mormon church sex abuse lawsuit in a free consultation and help you to understand the benefits and risks involved in taking action with a claim.
It’s important to note that anything you tell your lawyer is protected by attorney-client confidentiality privilege. We understand the sensitive nature of these claims. Our goal is to empower survivors to take control of their healing process and seek justice in a way that feels safe and empowering.
We Help Survivors of Church Sexual Abuse Reclaim Dignity and Rebuild Their Lives
Mormon church leaders, including priests, bishops, counselors, and others, have been involved in the sexual abuse of congregants, but these instances were buried for decades. Now more than ever, survivors are willing to share their stories in the pursuit of justice and compensatory damages for their pain and injuries.
If you were sexually assaulted by a member of the church, you can obtain legal representation from the lawyers at White Law PLLC. We can listen to your story, review your case, and advise you on the steps you can take. Our lead attorney represented hundreds of victims in the Boy Scouts of America and Mormon Church case.
We proudly stand up for survivors of clergy sexual abuse and have helped hundreds of survivors get the justice they needed to take back their lives. Please contact us with your questions about how we may be able to file a sexual abuse lawsuit against the Mormon church and the steps we may be able to take to protect your anonymity.
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