Brock sexual abuse case: Sins of omission rival sins of commission

Moral responsibility given short shrift by church leaders

One of the most disturbing revelations in the sordid sexual abuse case involving the family of Maricopa County Supervisor Fulton Brock, whose 49-year-old-wife Susan and 21-year-old daughter Rachel sexually exploited the same boy from the age of 13, is the collusion of the leadership in their church.

LDS Bishop Matthew Meyers (the bishop of Brock‘s ward), Bishop Troy Hansen (bishop of the victim’s ward) and former stake president Mitchell Jones all are exposed as having been made aware of the full extent of the ongoing molestation.  Yet over an extended period of time and with growing knowledge of the scope of the acts, the police were never contacted. It was only after he was “tired of waiting,” for action, that the victim’s father and his son went to the Chandler police.

These church leaders were all complicit in the attempted cover-up of serious criminal acts against a child.

Yet the Mormon Church has stood its ground, asserting the bishops acted properly. In a carefully worded statement a church spokeswoman said “Arizona law is clear that no priest can disclose any confession even when it concerns child abuse.”

The daily reports that clergy are required to report abuse under state law, but they have more discretion than other mandatory reporters such as teachers or doctors, according to statute. The Arizona statute on reporting crimes says clergy “may withhold” information, even child abuse, learned during a confession.

It was not a confession when the father and the boy told Hansen about the abuse. The church has stated that it urged the boy to tell police, although there is no evidence to support that claim.

Mitchell Jones knew that the victim’s parents suspected child sexual abuse at least a year before the arrest. He had the option to interview the boy, but chose not to.

Susan Brock is serving a 13-year sentence for child molestation. Her sexual predator daughter is in jail awaiting sentencing although a plea is said to be in the works.

The Pinal County Attorney’s Office, in deciding not to file charges against these men, has abrogated its responsibility to Arizona’s children.

AZ Revised Statutes 13-4062 (3) is a law begging to be revisited.

21 Responses to Brock sexual abuse case: Sins of omission rival sins of commission

  1. Overtaxed1 says:

    This is no surprise, but it is a travesty that our children have no protection from the baby rapists Priests and Bishops who cover up the crimes of those among them. If you trust your children to these sicko’s you are a screwed up as they are.

  2. Dennis O'Brien says:

    Circle the wagons, kids be damned. That seems to be the hallmark of too many churches these days. I left the Catholic church because of the pedophilia that runs rampant and has infiltrated it from the hierarchy down. There is NO WAY I would have allowed my son to be raised among priests, who he would be taught to respect and do their bidding. The LDS church has the same mentality. Had it not been for the state exposing the goings on in Short Creek (later renamed Colorado City) years back, the church would have continued to turn a blind eye. And yes, I realize they were an “offshoot” of the traditional church, but the roots are the same.

    • Tyler M says:

      Dennis-

      I realize that Jim Jones was somehow really an “offshoot” to the Roman Catholics or some brand of Protestants, so why don’t we blame the Catholics or Protestants for Jonestown? I mean seriously, do you realize how ridiculous you sound by saying that about Colorado City & the LDS Church?

      If you have a child or a grandchild who commits a crime, it’s really your fault, because they are an “offshoot” of you. Get real!

  3. Sally Forth says:

    I agree that the Pinal County Attorney’s Office shirked its responsibility in this outlandish case of generation family perversion and the church’s suppression of information by not reporting the pedophiles to the authorities. As a parent, this angers me. Where do we place our trust? No longer in the leaders of our faiths nor in the authorities who swear an oath to provide protection to society’s vulnerable. We need a conservative Arizona legislator to craft a change to this foolish reporting statute.

  4. LD 7 PC says:

    Men in positions of trust and with power over young boys should be watched closely, including those within faith-based communities. Other areas are also vulnerable. When there were still neighborhood paperboys delivering the newspapers, the distributing managers had time alone with boys in the early morning hours and away from prying eyes — especially those of parents. These jobs also became havens for pedophiles. Scouting is another trust building experience that has such potential.

  5. Another LD11 PC says:

    Hold on a second here!

    Did I just read that “conservatives” at SeeingRedAZ want to make confessionals subpoenaable?

    As a catholic, I’m sorry, but I object.

    If there are other catholic conservatives on here you need to speak up. When I go to confession, I’m speaking to God. That authority is higher than the state’s authority.

    Only Marxists want to subject churches to the state.

    Go jump in a lake seeinredaz, you’ve gone off the deep end with this one.

    Don’t even try to say that the Brock case demonstrates otherwise. In the Brock case, there is already public evidence of what occurred in confession (or whatever LDS call it).

    But to subject any confessional to police scrutiny is Marxist at its core!

    • Seeing Red AZ says:

      Another LD 11 PC:
      You’re a frequent commenter here, so it’s safe to assume you also read the posts. We are indeed political conservatives, which you have undoubtedly noticed. We also believe that withholding information that is criminally, morally, emotionally and physically damaging to children is reprehensible — regardless of who engages in that obscene covert behavior. (Here we are talking about the concealer of the crime, not the criminal.)

      Knowing that your priest suppressed information that your child was being victimized by a pedophile, might meet your level of expectation, but not ours. We won’t tell you to “jump in the lake,” but yes, we do disagree on this issue.

      • Another LD11 PC says:

        No, you CLAIM to be conservative. In this case (as in other cases in the past) you are promoting a Marxist ideology while claiming to be “conservative”. In this case subjecting church and the direct relationship to god to the state and to subpoena.

        Regardless of how you want to spin it, it’s Marxist.

        Sorry.

        Go back and reread the teachings of the founding fathers.

    • Overtaxed1 says:

      I have a big flash for you “Another LD11 PC” when you go to confession you are NOT speaking to God when there is a Priest listening to you. You are talking to a mere man and hopefully not another baby rapist. God does hear you and as Christian I do not think he would condone letting child molesters or those who protect them willingly escape prosecution.

      Those Bishops and Priests are mere mortals and no more then that in God’s eyes. They have no corner anywhere in the Bible to shelter criminals with their knowledge of the crimes their parishioners commit. That is man’s law and it stinks.

      It is certainly not Marxist to bring sin into the light of the law. You are really screwed up if you think these unwise clergy should be protected.

      • Tyler M says:

        Overtaxed-

        I’m glad to see that your disgusting religious bigotry isn’t just confined to hatred toward Mormons. After reading your many bigoted rants against Mormons, your repulsive attack on the sacred Catholic tenet of confession is not surprising. I can’t wait to see what intolerant anti-Semitic slanders you have to say about Jews next.

    • Chuck says:

      God is now in the confessional? I think he’d be surprised. The Bible clearly states that he is wherever you find him in your heart. There is no mention of priests in a confessional in the Bible. That is part of a religion, not commanded by God.

      Try Matthew 6:5-6 on for size:

      “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues, churches and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

      No mention of Marxism, either, you might have noticed, Another LD11PC.

    • telemoonfa says:

      Another LD11 PC,

      I agree with you. Private, secret confessions should be part of our First Amendment right of freedom of religion. Bishops, priests, etc., shouldn’t be dragged into court to testify against their congregants. I actually don’t think the Arizona law needs to be changed. The LDS bishops shouldn’t be prosecuted.

      After reading this blog for a while, I’ve come to think that the writers are politically conservative and socially conservative (they’re against the legalizing of marijuana and gay marriage), and so they mostly agree with my views. But when it comes to religion- organized religion- the writers of Seeing Red AZ are not supportive, to say the least. I would recommend that we all read “In Defense of Faith” by David Brog. In that book, Brog explains how organized Judeo-Christian religions have done so much good for the world.

  6. Blackbeard says:

    The Arizona Republic is now reporting that Chandler police recommended criminal charges against the two bishops from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for failing to report that county supervisor Fulton Brock’s wife had committed sex acts on a minor after the church leaders heard about the abuse from the woman and her victim.

    I wonder what broke down in this recommendation? Clearly the bishops are both implicated in not reporting this serious crime against a child. Their involvement by concealing this horrific crime is too disgusting to contemplate. What’s going on in the LDS Church? Today’s report includes the spokesman (not the previous one) refusing to answer questions. No kidding! This is a church to question, not turn your life and those of your children, over to.

    Here’s the latest report:
    http://www.azcentral.com/community/chandler/articles/2011/05/20/20110520susan-brock-molestation-case-lds-charges.html

  7. Chris N says:

    The parents of the victim knew far more than the church Bishops ever did. To assign criminal liability to the Bishops while holding the parents out as innocent victims is dumb. If an Arizona law says parents can tell a clergy member about a crime and if the clergy doesn’t report it they can be imprisoned, but the parents have no responsibility to report the crime makes no sense.

    The policy that requires a teacher, counselor, clergy or other adult to report a crime against a child assumes that the child has reported it only to that adult and the legislature created a law to require that adult to tell authorities. I am sure the legislature did not intend for situations to arise where the child’s parents already know about the abuse, yet they remain silent for years, and then hold a member of the clergy criminally responsible when it was the child’s very parents who told the clergy official.

    Look at all the facts in this case. One of the Bishops did hear about the facts of the case in a confession situation. The AZ laws apparently prohibit that clergy member from reporting. Then the father and the victim told the other Bishop. That was clearly not a confession, so there is not the protection, but to say the father was “tired of waiting” when it had only been a few days since that father told the Bishop is silly. Especially since the parents had known for a year. I bet the child was “tired of waiting” for the parents to do something.

    As a law & order conservative and a big fan of personal responsibility, it is silly for the parents to blame the church for their own inaction. They should have gone to police years earlier when they suspected. That is what I would have done. Why even involve the church? Churches deal with sins not crimes. Police deal with crimes. This was a crime. My advice to all is the next time you see a crime, report it the police not a pastor!!

    It is written above: “These church leaders were all complicit in the attempted cover-up of serious criminal acts against a child.” I have not read anything where the church leaders attempted to “cover-up” the crimes. They didn’t report them, but I don’t think they covered them up.

    The entire Brock story is ugly and disgusting. But putting the facts in proper perspective is in order and while I hold the child victim blameless, I don’t see why conservatives would shield his parents and blame a church Bishop. I would need to hear much more damning evidence against the Bishop before I condemned.

    • Tyler M says:

      Chris N-

      I think you’re right except for I still haven’t seen anywhere where it states that the boy’s parents have held the LDS Church responsible at all for what happened to their son. They asked for Church guidance & received it.

      You’re also right that there is nothing in the record stating that the boy’s Bishop tried to cover up anything. A cover-up would have required a conspiracy to quiet the boy and/or his family. There doesn’t appear to be any of that in this entire story from the LDS Church leaders who were asked for counsel in this sad mess.

      Could the boy’s Bishop have done more? I suppose so. But there’s still no evidence that the boy ever even admitted to his Bishop about what was happening to him. I imagine that a member of the clergy reporting such an accusation to police without any proof of a crime would have been cause for serous legal problems for that Bishop & the LDS Church. This would be especially true if the parents’ suspicions had little evidence of having any basis in fact other than suspicions of the parents, especially if the victim refused to admit that he was even the victim to such a crime. It appears that the monster Mrs. Brock was at least somewhat careful in covering her tracks & the boy seemed to be covering for her as well for any number of reasons that we might never fully understand.

      The boy’s parents didn’t seem to be sure of what was going on, so they should have brought their suspicions to the police at the moment they had any serious concerns about what they thought might be happening to their son. That way, if nothing else, it could be documented with police & they could do an investigation. I don’t know why the victim’s parents decided to go instead to their Mormon leaders first. There is nothing within Mormon culture or official guidance that tells people to go tell their Church leaders first if they think that a crime is being committed. Mormons are free to call 911 just like anybody else. It’s not the Mormon leaders’ fault that they were confronted with these allegations & did the only thing they thought they could do, which is why I’m assuming that they had the meeting with the Brocks & confronted Mrs. Brock flat out about the allegations against her.

      What happened to that boy at the hands of the monster Brock women is an extremely sad situation but shows no endemic problem within the LDS Church. And it does not cast any negative generalities about how LDS Church leaders handle any of the many problems they, like their clergy counterparts of other faiths, face on a daily basis.

      • Kimball says:

        Tyler M:
        You ask, “Could the boy’s Bishop have done more?” and then give this lame response, “I suppose so. But there’s still no evidence that the boy ever even admitted to his Bishop about what was happening to him.”

        According to the printed reports, the boy and his father discussed the molestation with the bishop — not as a confession, but as a matter of utmost concern. The church did nothing, then backtracked and waffled. The handling of this (and numerous other such incidents) is shameful. As a devout member of the faith, you do no good by making excuses for this inexcusable behavior. They need to get their house in order on this issue.

    • telemoonfa says:

      What a wonderful comment! You put a lot of things into perspective. Yeah, I don’t understand why Seeing Red AZ is trying to portray Mormon bishops as shady criminals trying to hold down the lid on a boiling pot of pedophilia. “Not reporting,” does not equal “cover-up.”

      Here’s the real deal: Mormon bishops are really nice men trying to follow Christ’s teachings and trying to help people attain eternal exhalation. Every once in a while there’s a bad bishop, but that’s rare. The vast majority are great, honorable, spiritual, loving men deserving of our respect. Seeing Red AZ should stick to bashing on liberal Democrats and RINOs and leave religious leaders alone.

      And if you’re wondering, I’m a lifelong, faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

      • Kimball says:

        I imagine you’d like the “really nice men” to act accordingly if the victim of sexual abuse was your child? In no way does it appear the blog has referred to the bishops as “shady criminals.”

        These bishops may be “really nice men,” but they used terrible judgement and should be repremanded. By not doing so, they will feel they have state sanctioned authorization to continue down this creepy path.

  8. East Valley PC says:

    The victim and his family are members of the same church as the Brock’s. The LDS religious indoctrination begins in the home and starts full force in “primary” with the youngest children — up to age 12. Older children go to MIA or “mutual.” Women attend “relief society.” Trusting in the church elders is part of the training. It’s ingrained from childhood. Rarely are questions asked. Adding insult to injury, the boy was also the son of Susan Brock’s closest friend. The bishops should be held accountable, because they are part of the web of silence woven among the brethren. .

    Also many of your “facts” conflict with the reports I’ve read. I’ll trust what the police say before I trust the bishops. I don’t claim to have first hand knowledge of this case, but I have enough personal background to be distrustful of the church officials.

  9. Another LD11 PC says:

    LOL. I just saw the SeeingRedAZ admin’s response to me above. They want to grow government power because it’s “for the children.”

    And the site calls itself “conservative”.

    WHERE HAVE WE HEARD THAT BEFORE? “It’s for the children.”

    Doesn’t it also take a village?

    Either government restraints or it doesn’t.

    SeeingredAZ has devolved so far from core conservatism that it thinks it only has constraints unless government power fits SeeignRedAZ’s personal agenda and then it’s ok to grow the size, scope and power of government.

    In other words, while SeeingRedAZ claims to be conservative, they have turned into Clintonite liberals by philosophy.

    CHECK YOURSELVES.

  10. Seeing Red AZ says:

    According to a news account in today’s newspaper, Chandler police recommended criminal charges against two bishops from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for failing to report that County Supervisor Fulton Brock’s wife Susan had committed sex acts on a minor, after the church leaders heard about the abuse from the woman, the victim and his father — all members of the church.

    The report was issued the day after the Pinal County Attorney’s Office announced no charges would be filed against LDS bishops Matthew Meyers and Troy Hansen. It was released by the Chandler Police Department in response to a public-records request by The Arizona Republic.

    It states the church leaders did not call police after they learned that Susan Brock had been molesting the young son of another church member and the victim was “seriously injured” by the abuse. The bishops made a call, but it was church lawyers instead of law enforcement, the report says.

    Readers identifying themselves as Catholic and Mormon have, in sweeping indictments, accused this site of religious bigotry for calling for charges against the bishops. We proudly stand with the Chandler police and their recommendations. The information gleaned from the victim, his father and the Brocks was not part of a confession, rather a meeting with clergy to simply identify the scope of the abuse. Given that the bishops called church lawyers, but not the police, clearly points to intentions to provide a cover-up, just as Fulton Brock’s call to then County Attorney Rick Romley seeking referrals to lawyers specializing in sex abuse cases was intended to obtain legal assistance for his molester wife and daughter. This was prior to his being “flabbergasted” by the revelations.

    It is not the job of religious leaders to protect felons who sexually abuse children.

    Read the account here:
    http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2011/05/21/20110521ldsbrock0521.html