West Virginia Mormon church sued for protecting youth leader accused of abusing toddlers since 2007
An LDS church in Berkeley County, West Virginia has been hit with a massive lawsuit for allowing a pedophile to serve as a youth leader despite accusations of child molestation dating back to 2007.
Now twelve plaintiffs — identified in court documents as “John and Jane Doe” — are suing the church and church officials, including Jensen’s parent, after it was revealed they allowed the man to oversee children despite knowing about complaints.
According to the report, Jensen’s family moved to Martinsburg in 2006, and both of his parents accepted high leadership roles at the Hedgesville Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Jensen’s mother allegedly recommended her son as a babysitter for families within the church in 2007.
The complaint states, “The Church was repeatedly put on notice and/or had knowledge of Michael Jensen’s predatory acts. In 2007, before the abuses of the minor children suing herein, the Stake High Council held a meeting where Michael Jensen’s sexual abuses of his younger sibling and another minor child were discussed. Also in 2007, the mother of a victim (party in this case), who was four years old when abused, told Michael Jensen’s mother, the Church’s local Relief Society President, and Michael Jensen’s father, a Stake High Council member, that she was concerned that Michael had done something to harm their daughter while he babysat her.”
According to the suit, after receiving the information, church elders did not inform the authorities and continued to allow Jensen around children who were also victimized.
The plaintiffs are asking for damages from both the church and LDS leaders.