SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, July 23, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Thomas S. Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has been subpoenaed by attorneys for four people who say they were sexually abused decades ago by members of their host families while participating in an LDS Church placement program for Navajo children.
An attorney for the LDS Church on Thursday countered the subpoena — which commands Monson to appear Aug. 4 and give a deposition — with a motion to quash the order. If the new motion is granted, it would render the subpoena null and void.
LDS Church attorney David Jordan also requested a protective order to prevent lawyers from refiling the subpoena to depose Monson in the case.
The four alleged victims, two males and two females who field their cases in Arizona’s Navajo Tribal Court, say they were abused in the 1960s and 1970s while participating in the Church’s Indian Student Placement Program (ISPP).
ISPP placed newly baptized Navajo youths with LDS foster families during the school year, returning the children to the reservation during the summer.
Some of the four say they reported the sexual abuse to Church officials, but the abuse did not stop.
The motion to quash the subpoena order argues, among other things, that Monson has no personal knowledge of or connection to the case.
“The only connection President Monson has to this case is that he happened to be a senior leader of the LDS Church during the time period Defendants allege they were abused,” says the motion to quash court documents.
“Defendants do not claim that President Monson, in his role as an LDS Church leader, had responsibility for the administration of the ISPP. Nor do Defendants suggest that President Monson has personal knowledge of their alleged abuse. In fact, President Monson has no knowledge of facts bearing on the Tribal Court’s jurisdiction.”
The Church also has argued that the case should be heard in United States Federal Court rather than Tribal Court since the alleged abuse did not take place on the reservation.
LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins declined Gephardt Daily’s request for a comment on the case.