SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 22, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — A U.S. District judge on Monday said he won’t decide quite yet whether Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will be forced to provide deposition testimony in a sex abuse lawsuit against the church.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby said several other key issues in the case should be decided before he rules on the subpoena issue, according to a report by Fox 13.
Monson — who turned 89 on Sunday and who has served as the president of the LDS church since 2008 — was 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.
The four alleged victims, two males and two females who filed 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.
LDS church attorney David Jordan filed a motion in July to quash the subpoena, arguing, 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,” the motion continues. “In fact, President Monson has no knowledge of facts bearing on the Tribal Court’s jurisdiction.”
Shelby reportedly said Monday that case jurisdiction is among the issues that need to be decided before he rules on whether Monson will be required to participate in a deposition.