LDS Church files new restraining order request in sex abuse cases

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has filed an amended restraining order in a series of lawsuits alleging sex abuse in a church-run program involving Navajo children.

In court documents filed in federal court on Friday, the LDS Church sought a new restraining order to block the Navajo Nation Tribal Courts from hearing lawsuits filed by four people who claim they were sexually abused in the 1960s and 1970s. The church argues that Utah — where the alleged abuse took place — is where the lawsuits should be heard.

Four people are suing the LDS Church, alleging that they were taken from their homes on the Navajo reservation and baptized into the Mormon faith, then placed with host families in Utah under the church’s “Lamanite Placement Program” (also known as the “Indian Student Placement Program”). There, they allege they were sexually abused and that church leaders did not take adequate steps to stop it.

Lawyers for the alleged victims want the lawsuits to be heard in the Navajo Nation and not Salt Lake City. They’re expected to respond to the request by the LDS Church in the coming weeks.

Read the LDS Church’s amended request here: