Six people named the daughter and son-in-law of the president of the Mormon church in a lawsuit Wednesday on charges of child sexual abuse.
The unnamed plaintiffs alleged that Richard and Brenda Miles, son-in-law and daughter of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints president Russell M. Nelson, hosted “touching parties” in the 1980s where children as young as one-year-old were sexually abused. The lawsuit does not name the defendants, but court records of their file to dismiss the lawsuit identified them as Richard and Brenda. (RELATED: Woman Suing Mormon Church Confront’s Alleged Rapist’s Congregation With Allegations Mid-Service)
The alleged victims claimed that when they first reported the abuse to church officials, Elder Neil A. Maxwell turned them away and told them to “forgive and forget.” Maxwell has since died and is a former member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
The lawsuit also alleged that police would have come to a different conclusion in their initial investigation of the alleged victims’ claims had the church officials been more forthcoming.
“Victims need to be listened and heard and have a voice. I think now there’s a chance some members of the Mormon community will believe us. I’m certain there’s some who will not because of who the defendants are,” said one of the plaintiffs, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
The Miles denied all claims in their motions to dismiss.
“Allegations from the 1980s that we sexually abused neighborhood children by hosting ‘touching’ parties and engaging in other bizarre forms of ritualistic abuse are patently false and deeply, utterly offensive. Now that we have been subjected to a lawsuit attempting to dredge up these long-ago debunked accusations, it’s important for us to speak out,” the Miles’ statement reads, according to KUTV.
“We have never abused these children or anyone else.”
A spokesperson for the LDS church also released a statement denying the allegations.
“These allegations of interference or coverup are baseless and offensive. Law enforcement investigated this matter in the 1980s and took no action against the church or its leaders,” the statement read in part.
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