Mormon Bishops are Generally Business Managers and Possibly Perverts
Lawsuit claims Boy Scouts coverup of sex abuse
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Boy Scouts coverup of sex abuse alleged
Boy Scouts of America has long kept an extensive archive of secret
documents that chronicle the sexual abuse of young boys by Scout
leaders over the years.
The "perversion files," a nickname the Boy Scouts are said to have used for the documents, have rarely been seen by the public, but that could change in the coming weeks in a Portland, Ore., courtroom.
The attorney for a man who was allegedly molested in the 1980s by a Scout leader has obtained about 1,000 Boy Scouts sex files and is expected to release some of them at a trial that began Wednesday. The lawyer says the files show the organization has covered up abuse for decades.
On Friday, testimony from a Mormon bishop responsible for a Scout troop of church members suggested that the Scouts never provided training about spotting abuse or preventing it.
The trial is significant because the files could offer a rare window into how the organization has responded to sex abuse by Scout leaders. The only other time the documents are thought to have been presented at a trial was in the 1980s in Virginia.
Charles Smith, attorney for the Boy Scouts, said in his opening statement that the files helped national scouting leaders weed out sex offenders, especially repeat offenders who may have changed names or moved in order to join another local scouting organization.
Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the organization over sex abuse allegations, but judges for the most part have either denied requests for the files or the lawsuits have been settled before they went to trial.
-- Associated Press
Ex-Mormon bishop Shawn Merriman pleads guilty to mail fraud -- and prepares to say goodbye to his art and classic-car collection
By Michael Roberts in Colorado Crimes
Dec. 3 2009
Back in August, former Mormon bishop Shawn Merriman pleaded not guilty to mail fraud charges against him -- something that we predicted was "a temporary situation" in a blog about alleged swindles dating back to 1994.
Bingo. Yesterday, Merriman pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of asset forfeiture -- and he had plenty of assets to forfeit. The U.S. Attorney's Office accounting of his booty features nearly 400 pieces of art, a classic-car collection that included a 1930 Lincoln and what's referred to generically as "taxidermy."
Bet Merriman feels like he's been stuffed and mounted about now -- but that's nothing compared to the former clients who were fleeced. Get more details below:
U.S. Attorney's Office release:
SHAWN RICHARD MERRIMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO MAIL FRAUD
DENVER -- Shawn Richard Merriman, age 46, of Aurora, Colorado, pleaded guilty this morning [December 2] to one count of mail fraud and one count of asset forfeiture, United States Attorney David Gaouette and U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Shawn Tiller announced. The guilty plea was tendered before U.S. District Court Judge Marcia S. Krieger. Merriman, who appeared at the hearing in custody, was remanded. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Krieger on May 10, 2010 at 8:30 a.m.
On April 8, 2009, U.S. Marshals and U.S. Postal Inspectors seized Merriman's assets as part of an ongoing investigation. Merriman was then charged by Information on August 19, 2009.
According to the Information as well as the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, from about June 1, 1994, through February 24, 2009, Shawn Richard Merriman devised and intended to devise a scheme to defraud investors by obtaining their money by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises. As part of the scheme, Merriman, operating under the names of Mountain Springs Partners, L.P., and the limited liability companies LLC-1, LLC-2, Marque LLC-3, LLC-4, and LLC-5, represented to investors that he would use their money to buy and sell securities and would return profits from such trading to them.
As part of the scheme, Merriman accepted millions of dollars from more than one hundred individuals and entities but failed to use a lot of that money to buy and sell securities, instead converting most of that money to his own use and benefit. Merriman made misrepresentations to the investors, including misrepresentations that he had used their money to buy and sell securities and that his trading resulted in profits for the investors. He included those misrepresentations in fraudulent account statements that he mailed. The defendant also responded to investors' requests for the return of the money that they had invested or the money that they believed they had earned by transferring to those investors money that he had received from others. Investors included members of his family, neighbors, acquaintances and others who were referred to him. In some cases investors used money from family trusts and individual retirement accounts.
Between about 1995 and about 2004, Merriman used some of the investors' money to buy and sell stock, although he did not often do so. He did not inform the investors of this and instead misrepresented to them that he had used their money to trade stocks and that the trading had resulted in profits. Beginning in about 2004, Merriman completely stopped trading. He nevertheless continued until February 24, 2009, to accept funds from investors and continued to misrepresent to the investors that he was buying and selling stocks and that their investments were growing.
Court documents further state that upon conviction, Merriman shall forfeit to the United States interests in all property constituting and derived from any proceeds that he obtained directly and indirectly as a result of the crime. A money judgment shall then be entered against Merriman in the amount of the proceeds obtained by him from such offense less the amount of funds recovered from assets and property that have already been forfeited, criminally or civilly, and that were directly traceable to proceeds obtained from the criminal conduct.
The government's position is that the victims who invested in Merriman's partnership and limited liability companies lost approximately $21,010,702.73 as a result of the scheme. The defendant reserved the right to challenge this figure.
"With today's guilty plea, the defendant has admitted to defrauding over 100 investors of millions of their hard earned dollars," said U.S. Attorney David Gaouette. "Some investors lost everything. Thanks to the hard work of federal prosecutors and Postal Inspectors working on this case, the defendant has been brought to justice and must now suffer the consequences of his illegal acts. Hopefully, there will be an opportunity for the victims to receive some compensation for their losses."
"Postal Inspectors have worked diligently to piece this investigation together," said U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Shawn Tiller. "Fraud schemes, such as the one carried out by Shawn Merriman, victimize many honest and hard working individuals. Our Inspectors take pride in assisting these victims and making all efforts to see that persons who use the mails for criminal gain are caught and brought to justice. We are pleased with the work the U.S. Attorney's Office has done to bring this offense to a successful prosecution."
The following assets were seized from Merriman during the investigation.
Items seized include:
* 157 pieces of Old Masters Fine Art, located at Merriman's residence in Aurora
* 170 pieces of contemporary art, also located at Merriman's residence
* 43 pieces of framed fine art, 4 bronze busts, and one acrylic sculpture, located at Merriman's residence
* Merriman's residence, located in Aurora, Colorado
* Other real property, located in Island Park, Idaho
* Numerous conveyances, including vehicles, collectible cars, motorcycles, a boat, a motor home, trailers, and a John Deere Bobcat
* 8 E*Trade securities accounts
* Sports memorabilia
* Other personal property, including exercise equipment, arcade games, tools, hunting paraphernalia, safes, and a pitching machine
Merriman possessed an art collection, including works by Rembrandt, and a classic car collection, including a 1930 Lincoln. The seized and forfeited assets will be used to compensate the victims of this crime.
Merriman faces not more than 20 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine, as well as asset forfeiture and/or restitution.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The U.S. Marshals Service has provided substantial assistance in the seizing, cataloging, and storing Merriman's assets.
This case was prosecuted by a number of Assistant U.S. Attorneys, including Tim Neff, with James Russell, and Tonya Andrews handling the asset forfeiture.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also has a case filed against Merriman.
Brothers accuse Mormon Church of abuse, file suit
Attorneys also filed similar lawsuits in Washington and Oregon on Monday, representing other plaintiffs against the Mormon Church and the Boy Scouts.
The men in the San Francisco case moved away from the South Bay many years ago, but filed here because they claim the crimes happened in Northern California.
In the most public of places, outside San Francisco City Hall, three brothers held a press conference revealing the most private and intimate issue of their lives.
"Child sexual abuse is a crime committed in silence, covered up through secrecy and shame," said plaintiff John Doe No.1.
In the civil case filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Monday, they're identified only as John Doe No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3.
All three are suing the Mormon Church and the Boy Scouts of America for allowing Bill Knox to molest them while serving as their church bishop, scoutmaster and later as their stepfather when they lived in Sunnyvale in the 70s and 80s.
They say the Mormon Church is liable because they complained of the abuse and the church covered it up.
"We told our childhood church leaders. They did nothing. They hid it," said John Doe No. 1.
"We are alleging that the Mormon Church and the arm of the Mormon Church, the Boy Scouts of America, and several other individuals are negligent and they also have responsibility under what we call vicarious liability," said attorney Lisa Sapcoe.
The Boy Scouts of America said they could not respond to the charges because they had not seen the complaint.
An attorney for the Mormon Church described the allegations as "serious, but the law does not impose responsibility on the church for the kind of claims that are made on this."
All three men live out of state now, two of them in Georgia. They finally came forward and filed the suit when Mr. Knox moved near them.
"When I realized he was in my community and I saw him in a car when I drove by, I literally shook. I am a 44-year-old man. I literally shook at his presence," said John Doe No. 1.
"We decided together that we can no longer let other children suffer through what we have suffered through," said John Doe No. 2.
The men's mother still lives with Mr. Knox. They said she was aware of the abuse and trusted the church to fix it.
Two of the men filing suit are dentists and the third is an FBI agent.
Mormon church welcomes new bishop to NWI
March 6, 2008
By Jim Masters Post-Tribune correspondent
HEBRON -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is thriving around the world, and the new bishop of its Hebron-based congregation has faith that his congregation will continue to grow -- in numbers and spiritually -- under his leadership.
Kirt Dutson, who lives in Lowell with his wife, Roxane, and their four children, was recently named bishop of the 330-member congregation, which draws many of its members from Valparaiso, Crown Point, Kouts and Lowell.
Dutson's church is at 687 W. County Road 650S in Hebron, in one of eight "wards" that he ministers. His congregation is part of a Mormon "stake" in Northwest Indiana that spans Kouts to the Illinois border and Indiana 10 to U.S. 30.
Mormon bishops serve without pay and typically serve for five to seven years.
Dutson, a national Fuel Travel Center manager, will be assisted in his ministry by counselors Jim Church of Crown Point and Daniel DeKock of Valparaiso. Dutson previously served as a counselor.
Dutson said the Mormon church's focus on family values and the family itself is attractive to new members. He hopes to see an average of 20 new families a year join the stake.
"Mormons believe that families stay together even after death," he said.
Dutson said he is looking forward to getting to better know the families in his congregation and is planning to conduct interviews with as many as possible.
"The most rewarding part of being a Mormon bishop is seeing people learn and grow -- becoming more Christ-like," Dutson said. "The biggest challenge is helping people maintain their faith through life's difficulties."
Dutson believes he is up to the task, describing himself as "very merciful and forgiving" as a church leader. He said his first priority will be "strengthening families through Christ and a gospel-centered home."
Like the Hebron congregation, it is a time of change for Mormons worldwide, with the recent death of President Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th Mormon president in the 177-year history of the church, and the ascension of Thomas S. Monson to the leadership.
"Every president has a different flagship," Dutson said. "Gordon Hinckley built many temples and was quite involved with the media, bringing the church into a new age.
"I hope the church will continue to be one of the fastest-growing churches in the world, so I do expect continued media exposure."
MORMON BISHOP CAUGHT STEALING
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
HONOLULU — The state of Hawaii is scheduled to hear arguments this week on whether three Oahu men, including a Mormon church bishop, should each be fined over $3,000 for allegedly stealing rocks from a Maui beach for an underground cooking pit at their church.
The men allegedly tried to haul 943 coconut-sized rocks in pickup trucks on board the Hawaii Superferry from Maui to the Kahaluu Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Charlie Bright, one of the three men, told The Associated Press he has a letter from the landowner giving him permission to take the rocks.
Bright wouldn't say who the landowner was. He said that would be revealed at the Board of Land and Natural Resources' hearing regarding the matter on Friday.
State officials say the men took the rocks last August from a spot called "River Mouth" where the Iao stream meets the sea at Paukukalo beach, a state land-use conservation district. They say it's illegal to mine, dredge, or harvest anything in the area.
An off-duty Department of Land and Natural Resources officer surfing at Waiehu Bay said he saw the men load the rocks into three trucks on Aug. 27, 2007.
State officials separately received a complaint from the Maui Sierra Club about people taking rocks from the beach. The complaint said the trucks involved were parked at the Hawaii Superferry terminal in Kahului.
A state Department of Land and Natural Resources report said Bright initially allegedly told investigators that he bought the rocks but didn't want to name the seller because he feared doing so would get the person in trouble.
The report said Bright later allegedly called state officials to say he and two other men removed the rocks from Paukukalo but they didn't know doing so was illegal.
"We do this for the Mormon church. Our bishop told us to come to Maui to get imu rocks because ours is old already, about 10 to 12 years old," Bright said, according to the report. "We use the rocks to cook kalua pig for the Boy Scouts to support them through our fundraisers. It was for a good cause."
The report said river rocks are valued for imu because they are porous and retain heat.
The two men who allegedly joined Bright are Ralph Chun, who is listed in the Oahu telephone book as the Kahaluu Ward bishop, and Victor Fonoimoana.
Phones rang unanswered at the church's Kahaluu Ward on Tuesday. A phone message left at Chun's home was not immediately returned.
A telephone listing for Fonoimoana could not immediately be found.
The alleged incident came on the Hawaii Superferry's second day of service.
The state's report appeared to underscore what some Superferry critics warned would happen when the interisland ferry service began: Oahu residents would go to the neighbor islands and take their rocks, fish and opihi.
The incident also came just before a Maui judge issued a temporary restraining order suspending service until the state conducted an environmental impact statement for the ferry's use of Kahului Harbor on Maui.
The judge later lifted that order after lawmakers passed a law allowing the ferry to sail while the state carried out environmental assessment. The ferry is currently operating between Honolulu and Kahului.
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