It’s day five of my Religious Horror Show Week. You hear these stories a lot out of the Catholics and the Jews and even groups like the Southern Baptists, but it’s relatively rare to see a Mormon being sent away for screwing little kids. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of a new front in the war against religious sexual predators.
Todd Michael Edwards, a Mormon bishop from Menifee, CA, has been sentenced to three years in prison for molesting two young girls from his church and will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. The specific charges included sexual battery and sexual penetration with a foreign object. He entered into a plea deal that pushed a witness intimidation charge off the table, which I think is unfortunate. I hate plea deals.
This is even in my own backyard, a good reason to keep my kids away from the religious. You can’t trust any of them. Luckily, I don’t think the Mormon Church stood up for this guy at all and for that, a bit of applause is in order, especially seeing how other religious institutions are only worried about not looking bad, not in actually protecting the innocent. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind,” said George Kramer, a spokesman for the LDS. “Anyone who abuses a child is rightfully subject to both criminal prosecution and formal church discipline.” Wouldn’t it be great if all the other churches said that and meant it?
Now granted, this is hardly the first case like this, in fact there’s another case where two Utah men allege that at a pineapple camp in Hawaii, run by the LDS and Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc., they were molested when they were young by church officials. According to the suit, the Mormon church would recruit young boys from Idaho and Utah to work in Hawaii picking pineapples. “There were hundreds of boys over more than a decade cycled through these camps,” attorney Randall Rosenberg said in the press release. “Hundreds were exposed to the alleged sexual predator in our case. We do not know how many others may have been molested, but our experience is that child sexual predators with access to kids have multiple victims.” Brian Pickett, a camp coordinator, reportedly baptized one of the 15 year old defendants and then molested him.
So maybe the Mormons aren’t as innocent as we thought? Who else gets caught with their hand in the cookie jar? Find out tomorrow.