By TIM KOSNOFF
Two years ago, Simon and Schuster published “The Sins of Brother Curtis,” a book about a case of mine from the 1990s, which stretched for five years, start to finish. It was a transformative time for me. Not only was it my first civil case representing abuse victims, it also launched me in a completely different area of the law, from working as a criminal defense attorney to exclusively representing childhood sexual abuse survivors. That was nearly 20 years ago, and I haven’t looked back. I was among the first of a handful of attorneys in the country to identify themselves as a child sexual-abuse lawyer.
Since the book’s publication, Lisa Davis’s expose about child sexual-abuse in the Mormon Church has garnered well-earned recognition. The book has helped raise awareness about the ability and willingness of leaders of powerful institutions to tolerate and protect pedophiles within their ranks.
The book continues to be discovered, as it should be. This past spring, reviewer Julie Smith reposted a review:
“When Jeremiah [Scott] was young, he had been repeatedly molested by a Mormon Church elder. The church ‘bishop’ had been notified, but nothing was done. In uncovering the truth behind Jeremiah’s molestation by Brother Frank Curtis, [Tim] Kosnoff and his team also uncover a decades-long (1977-1991) string of molestations by Frank, in three different Mormon wards, as well as the now grown-up 20 other victims, one of them having spent time in a juvenile facility, himself accused of molestation. They also uncover what appears to be a pattern of cover-ups and misdirection on the part of the Mormon leadership that allowed this type of molestation to occur with other youth leaders.” Continue reading →
Our attorneys are highly experienced in child sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.
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It could’ve been a heart-breaking tale. Instead it’s eminently heartening, about a man wanting to do more than settle his case with Catholic Church officials who, for more than half a century, were the enablers and protectors of pedophile priests in and around Joliet, Illinois.
In a superb story (URL below) by three Chicago Tribune reporters, it’s recounted how David Rudofski stood up to the power of the Joliet Archdiocese. Rudofski was sexually abused the day of his first confession. In settling his case, Rudofski demanded that church officials make public what proved to be more than 7,000 documents detailing how pedophile priests were protected and child victims were ignored.
A recent pair of links we posted on our Facebook page inadvertently demonstrate something of a range of ways the scourge of child sexual abuse is revealed to the public.
One is a news story about the aunt of an alleged victim discovering references to abuse incidents on her niece’s Facebook page. The allegations indicate that the predator is another member of the extended Indianapolis family.
If so, the case would jibe with several familiar patterns. One is the high likelihood that the pedophile would be well known by the victim — would, in fact, likely be a family member. Another is that the alleged victim waited, in this case about two years, before revealing what she remembers. Yet another is the implicit reluctance of the victim to more overtly come forward and charge the perpetrator.
One certainly can understand the reluctance. Imagine the feeling of powerlessness of, in this instance, a 13-year-old girl. She’s already been forced by circumstances to process what she claims are two cases of molestation. Then she has to summon the emotional wherewithal to come forward in some fashion and, in effect, let the world know what happened.
Our Facebook page is updated weekdays to apprise interested parties about the many aspects pertaining to child sexual abuse. We cull reports from world media and provide links for readers. By its nature, the page can seem unremittingly grim.
Now and then, however, news comes along that at least seems to ameliorate the inevitable feelings of hopelessness about the fight against pedophilia. One such report is emerging from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. What better place, one would think, than a state that has been home relatively recently to a couple of the world’s most high-profile stories of child sexual abuse.
The following is from an article earlier this year in the Uniontown Herald-Standard:
“A group of state lawmakers who said they were frustrated that the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky and the [Philadelphia] Roman Catholic sex abuse scandals were not enough to move legislation out of committee last year, announced plans Wednesday [Jan. 23] to reintroduce a bill that would remove the statute of limitations in cases of child sexual abuse.
The document is the work of a group called Bishop Accountability. The advocacy organization compiles evidence of child sexual abuse relating to crimes and accusations from Catholic dioceses in the 50 states and Washington, D.C. It’s quite a staggering scheme of details.
B.A. made headlines by releasing some 6,000 documents relating to the highly publicized child-sexual-abuse scandals in Philadelphia http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2013/01/24/latest-news-philadelphia-catholic-church-sex-abuse-scandal/
For a macro reckoning of crimes and transgressions throughout the country, go to the map indicated by the url above.
Point and click, for example, to Washington state. Highlighted are the Archdiocese of Seattle and the diocese of Spokane and Yakima.
No one can say that Margaret M. Markey hasn’t tried.
The New York State assemblywoman has been laboring in vain since 2006 to change the way that the Empire State has remained maddeningly negligent in facing a pressing need, articulated last May by the Queens Borough Democrat
Last spring she wrote to constituents:
“I held a series of informational events in Albany earlier this year to bring to the attention of Governor [Andrew] Cuomo and my colleagues in the Legislature to the wide-ranging problem of child sexual abuse in society.
“We looked at the recent revelations in the world of sports and learned about abuse in schools and institutions. We heard one of the state’s leading prosecutors speak about how current statutes of limitations in New York State need to be changed in order to bring justice to victims.
What Are the Implications for Continued Secrecy Amidst Clergy Sexual Abuse Scandals?
Posted on Dec. 10, 2012
By TIM KOSNOFF
Micro-chip tracking for human surveillance in the Vatican?
Is this the contemporary Catholic Church or a new James Bond movie?
Truth be known, observers are never really sure about what to make of the deliberately arcane ways that have made the Catholic Church something of an ongoing mystery for two millennia.
The latest strange behavior by Vatican authorities would seem amusing in perhaps a satirical way were it not juxtaposed with the grim realities of an institution pressed with the necessities of dealing with decades of child sex abuse crimes, details of which are being revealed each week from around the globe.
A great value of contemporary journalism and published commentary is that technology has made it easy for readers to offer instant responses. These modern-day letters to the editor often are as revealing as the writing that prompted them. A Sept. 10 New York Times op-ed piece, for example, by staff columnist Frank Bruni, is interesting not just for its substance but also for the readers’ reactions (there were about 150 at last glance).
Bruni cites a pair of high-profile cases of child sex predators. One, inevitably, is the infamous Jerry Sandusky.