Mormon Church to Allow Parents in Youth Bishop Meetings
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Mormon church is changing its guidelines for how local leaders handle sexual abuse reports and one-on-one meetings with youth a week after a former prominent missionary leader was accused of sexually assaulting two women in the 1980s. The changes announced Monday by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints direct lay leaders never to disregard a report of abuse, a more direct instruction than previous guidelines. A key new rule allows children to bring a parent or adult with them during one-one-one interviews with local church leaders known as bishops. Parents were only allowed in a hallway or adjacent room under old rules. Youth can still go in alone if they choose. Critics say the changes still don't go far enough. The guidelines also tell leaders to never encourage a person to stay in a home or situation where abuse is suspected, guidance not in there before. An introduction to the guidelines says most, but not all, "allegations of abuse made by assault victims are true, and should be taken seriously and handled with great care."