I read a book called :the sins of Brother Curtis. A true story of a pedophile

karin Dec. 2012

A pedophile was able to repeatedly offend because Mormon leaders would not tell the local congregations that he had molested before.

Here is my review for goodreads.com:

A riveting book about how a group of lawyers went up against the Mormon church to make the church accountable for sexual molestations that happened as a result of the church knowingly keeping pedophiles in its ranks without informing the rest of the local congregation and allowing the known pedophile to keep having positions where he is in contact with young children.

Frank Curtis was an elderly gentleman when he joined the church. However unlike the grandfatherly image he portrayed, he was actually a former criminal who had spent years in prison. He became an ‘elder’ in the church (a position attained by most men after a worthiness interview by the stake president -the leader of a group of local congregations). Then he got positions of teaching the young boys even after local leaders know that he molested boys. After he had finally been excommunicated for sexual abuse, he repented, had some counselling and was rebaptized into the church. He then was again given jobs with the young boys in the congregations giving him the ability to continue his molestations.

Tim Kosnoff and his team of lawyers battle the church’s strategy to drag the case out: objecting to each question during depositions, barraging the lawyers with reams of paperwork, objecting to handing over church papers, telling Mormon witnesses to refuse to answer questions during the depositions stating they are against the first Amendment. But instead of backing down, Kosnoff kept working at the case and kept finding more information and witnesses and victims left in Curtis’s wake.

Some quotes I found interesting:

“From the moment of baptism or rebaptism, according to LDS belief, the sins of the past are literally washed away and can no longer be acknowledged. The baptized Mormon starts anew with a ‘clean slate’. …It would be a violation of the Mormon faith to consider his [Frank’s] history of molesting children prior to rebaptism in any decision to call him to a position within the church…

“Its lawyers even seemed to be arguing that Jeremiah [ the plaintiff, who had been molested by Curtis when he was a young boy] had somehow accepted the risk of encountering a pedophile in following the Mormon religion…., [The church’s] lawyers wrote: “Plaintiff, having voluntarily agreed to abide by, and be governed by, church law cannot now challenge the procedure for, and effect of a fellow member’s rebaptism into the church.” (pp 150-1)

“There was no reason anyone in the ward would have known why Frank Curtis had been excommunicated, or that he had been accused of child sexual abuse, unless they’d been told by someone in the church hierarchy. Brother Curtis was assumed to be the same as the people who trusted him. Mormon culture tends to be insulated…., and it was even more so in Grand Rapids…. Ward members turned to each other for help and advice. They acted in service to each other… for the common good of their religious community. They shared a specific belief system and a lifestyle designed to exclude the sins of the outside world. And they accepted on faith that their brothers and sisters had been through the same worthiness tests that they had, believed the same things, had the same standards. Ward members believed that their leaders had been inspired by God when they called people into positions of trust. All of this had made them feel safe….

“…years after, Jack…offered a troubling observation: The very things that made their religion a strong spiritual community may well have made them vulnerable to the likes of this serial pedophile. “Frank Curtis in the Mormon church was like the perfect storm.” (p. 247)

This sure showed how far the mormon church goes to pretend they have no control over the members and that any conversation that happens between mormons and their leaders is protected by the US constitution. AARG.

steve benson
**The LDS Church's defense of Curtis was disingenuous, disgusting and pure evil. I worked with the book's author Lisa Davis, at her request, in providing . . .
. . . her background information on, among other things, Mormon doctrine.

What prompted my cooperation was the fact that Lisa both emailed and phoned me, explaining the book she was in the process of putting together (eventually published as "The Sins of Brother Curtis: A Story of Betrayal, Conviction, and the Mormon Church" [New York, New York: Scribner, a divison of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2011], 354 pp; Lisa acknowledged my assistance under "Acknowledgements," p. 340; for an online version of the book, see: http://www.amazon.com/Sins-Brother-Curtis-Betrayal-Conviction/dp/1416591...).

Lisa requested that, for the purposes of providing readers with a compelling and accurate account, I offer her some input on LDS culture, doctrine, history and terminology. We spent several hours going over her questions and research. She is a fine journalist; a stickler for fact and detail; and a gifted writer, who formerly worked for the Phoenix, AZ, "New Times."

When in the course of our discussions Lisa informed me that the Mormon Church had advanced the defense in behalf of Curtis that it (the Mormon Church) was doctrinally required to re-baptize Curtis once he had repented of his sins (Curtis was a convicted criminal with a history of sexual molestation of minors), I pointed out to her what I viewed as the relevant portions of Mormon doctrine which clearly applied to such an unwarranted defense.

I emphasized that as a response to the LDS legal/theological argument that re-baptism of repeat sexual offender Curtis somehow cleansed him of his past sins and that he had thus started over with a "clean slate," Lisa should review canonized Mormon doctrine on the matter, as found in D&C 82:7.

This particular "holy scripture" of Mormonism emphatically declares that a person--once forgiven of a sin but who then recommits the same sin--is subject to divine punishment for recommitting that sin, as well as becomes re-subjected to divine punishment for the sin in which he had previously engaged; for which he was originally forgiven; but which he then recommitted.

The pertinent D&C passage reads as follows:

“And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any asin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the bformer sins return, saith the Lord your God.”

As one critic has observed of this official Mormon doctrine:

“According to LDS Scripture, true repentance is confessing sin and forsaking it or never returning to it again.  As former [LDS] prophet Spencer Kimball has said, 'The forsaking of sin must be a permanent one.  True repentance does not permit making the same mistake again.'  If you repeat a sin, all of your 'former sins return.'  Therefore, on the LDS view it is not enough to try your best.  Rather, you must stop sinning.  Period."

(Brett Kunkle, "The Impossible Gospel of Mormonism,” at: http://www.str.org/site/PageServer?pagename=PL_article_impossible_gospel... ; see also the LDS tract, published by the LDS Church [1984], entitled "Repentance Brings Forgiveness," where the Kimball statement appears, p. 7)

This pathetic and desperate attempt by the Mormon Church's hired guns to absolve persistent pedophile "Brother" Frank Curtis of legal, moral and religious responsiblity for his sins of sexual predation (since he had been rebaptized and therefore was supposedly immunized from accountablity) is fundamentally undercut by Mormon doctrine itself.

Not that that fact matters one whit to the Mormon Church.

Worse than that, the fact that the Mormon Church would even attempt a defense of this perennial pervert is absolutely despicable.

As one reviewer of Lisa's book observed:

"Mormon Church leaders knew that Frank Curtis had a habitual need to molest young boys, yet they continued to place him in positions where he had access to more victims."

(Don Lattin, book review, "'The Sins of Brother Curtis,' by Lisa Davis," Special to "The Chronicle" [San Francisco], 20 March 2011, at: http://articles.sfgate.com/2011-03-20/books/29144923_1_church-leaders-co...)

It amazes and sickens me the extent to which the Mormon Church ignores its own doctrine in order to protect its bank account (not to mention how it grotesquely ducks its obligation to broader matters of human decency in delivering up for moral and legal accountability those who horrendously victimize young children).

Such an approach is obviously too much to expect of the corrupt Mormon Cult.

Re: I read a book called :the sins of Brother Curtis. A true story of how a pedophile
The SCC has tried very hard recently to distance itself form FLDS and this book undoes all of that. It shows the churchs' total disregard for the law.

Carol Y.
That happened in the Santa Maria, Ca ward we were in in the '80. Michael Shean
was a repeat offender, who was supposedly cured. The Stake Prez, Nolan Phillips, and ward leadership all knew his secret, and let him teach seminary. After almost two decades, the man was finally convicted and sent to prison. He had been our daughter's seminary teacher.
Re: I read a book called :the sins of Brother Curtis. A true story of how a pedophile
I have that book on my Kindle. Will be reading it soon!

Thanks Steve for your input.
I did see that you were in the acknowledgments!

I remembered that scripture about how if you sin again your former sins return too. It confused me how the church didn't say any of that. I thot that maybe it was a bible scripture that wasn't used in the church, but then i wouldnt have memorized it. Another moment of cog. diss. It is still hard for me to say the church blatently lies to protect itself. It's hard to 'get' that the church who taught me about being honest- especially to their leaders- doesn't follow the same values itself.

Funny how i continuously (until i became an active inactive) always felt like i was not perfect enuf, not good enuf, not valuable enuf, while Curtis obviously didn't have that problem!

Thank God their are exmos with your indepth knowledge, Steve.
You have spoken with the topmost Mormon leaders and you can bring to writers who are researching for such stories.

pasadena beggar
Re: I read a book called :the sins of Brother Curtis. A true story of how a pedophile
I just finished that book. Really well-written. I'm still thinking about it.

I was completely unsurprised by how LDS' recycling of Curtis was so similar to the RCC's recycling of pedophiles, and how both (which is to say ALL churches) use the claim of the confessional to protect the offender from the claims of their victims.

I’ve read the book. If you aren’t already sufficiently disgusted with TSCC…
here’s just one taste of the book, from p. 152 (my capitals added):

“The LDS church's lawyers [argued]: ‘It is not the role of the secular court to pass [judgment] on the wisdom of the ecclesiastical decision to forgive, EVEN IF THAT DECISION ALLEDGEDLY CREATES NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES TO THIRD PARTIES.’

“It was hard to ignore how utterly divorced the words on paper were from the matter at hand, that children had been sexually violated by a trusted member of the religious community… to [the main prosecuting attorney], the Mormon church seemed to be taking the arrogant position that it had a constitutional right to molest children.”

And of course, the LDS church paid enormous amounts of money to top lawyers to defend the PERPETRATOR. (Our tithing money at work, folks...)

Re: **The LDS Church's defense of Curtis was disingenuous, disgusting and pure evil. I worked with the book's author Lisa Davis, at her request, in providing . . .
They are still doing these this! I know this first hand, I was a victom and have been contacted about re-batism of the man that hurt me.

The gift that keeps on giving.
My ex-husband was a victim of one of the above mentioned molesters. The abuse destroyed my ex. He never functioned emotionally or physically. He carried his abuse secret with him until it ultimately took him to a mental place that he will never return from.

I am a second hand victim. My children are,too. The community suffered. The congregation suffered. Molesters shouldn't be allowed to attend church where there are children. PERIOD.

They are not capable of truly repenting. They cannot forsake the sin, which is a big part of repentance.

Re: I read a book called :the sins of Brother Curtis. A true story of how a pedophile
this makes me sick.

When I was in my 20's I had been inactive for about 7 years. I became engaged to a nevermo. We were engaged for about a year. Two weeks before the wedding I moved in with him. I was excommunicated for that.

Fast forward 30 years. I got divorced, and remarried. I've been married for 20 years. We've been recommend holding members for 20 years. We raised our 3 kids in the church. One child is fresh off his mission and just married in the temple. DH and I decide its time to be sealed to each other.

The church decides to treat me like i'm a criminal. They want me to write down every sin i've committed in the last 30 years. I remind them that I was baptized 20 years ago, and have been a recommend holder. Jesus himself would be insulted that they make this demand on me. They persist. This insanity goes on for a year.

Finally i've had enough. I come home from church one sunday, and go to Google. How to stay a member when you've had enough. Up pops John Dehlin. Then I move onto Mormonthink. Within 30 minutes I know i will never be a mormon again. I'm traumatized by how they've lied to me and abused me. I'll do whatever it takes to bring anyone and everyone out of this cult.

Re: I read a book called :the sins of Brother Curtis. A true story of how a pedophile
There was a guy in our singles ward you had been ex'd and sent to prison for molesting boys. He got out and "repented" and was rebaptized. He would always date divorced members who had kids. He took off for Brazil and married some girl. Lo and behold, 8 years later he shows up in our ward. This is in the same stake and building as the ward where he molested boys. Those families have to go to church and see him in the halls. They could of told him to go to another ward/building in the stake, buy no, he repented, so it must be ok. It just makes me sick.

Re: I read a book called :the sins of Brother Curtis. A true story of how a pedophile
I'm enraged that my wife's brother, who abused and raped her when she was a child was forgiven, rebaptised and is living a "normal" life. He should be rotting in a cell.

Exmo Linda Walker advised lawyer Kosnoff on the mormon doctrine & practices.
She spoke at an exmo conference a few years ago. DH and I met her many years ago in SF when she lived near us.

This Curtis case was among the worst in morg recent history. The bish placed this pervert in a mormon home to share a bed with a child this pervert brutilized.

Re: I read a book called :the sins of Brother Curtis. A true story of how a pedophile
The book is powerful. I started it as Hurricane Isaac was hitting and I had to stay up much of the night reading with a flashlight (no power) because I couldn't put it down. Everyone needs to know about this kind of church-protected abuse.

Re: I read a book called :the sins of Brother Curtis. A true story of how a pedophile
I hate pedophiles; hell, I hate sexual predators. There's doing something stupid when you're drunk, usually wiht someone else whose drunk, then there's stuff like this.

If it were up to me, I'd be posting flyers on all TBMs doors with the list of registered pedophiles in the immediate area, not to mention rounding up a posse who wouldn't mind castration, and perhaps indefinite incarceration in a deep dark hole where they could abuse each other for the rest of their lives....

Not realistic, but a pleasant fantasy nonetheless. That, and I'm writing a thriller where a vigilante takes down sexual predators. Its fun! (Demonic Grin)

Re: I read a book called :the sins of Brother Curtis. A true story of how a pedophile
Turns out my grandfather was one of these pervs. He molested my cousins, some neighbors/ward members, and had an affair with one of my aunts who married one of his sons.

We moved next door to him when I was 10, and within a couple years, my mother found out about everything and refused to set foot next door or allow him in our house when she was home.
I was not told any of this until I was 16 or so. Way to protect us kids, ma. I played in the side yard between the houses ALL THE TIME. Sometimes my grandpa would come out to see what I was doing. Sometimes he'd put his arm around me, which seemed a little weird, but nothing more than that.

If my parents thought they were keeping a close enough eye out and that's why they didn't need to tell me anything... well, they weren't. He often took me into the garage/workshop next door to show off his latest craft, or off to the train room, or over in the garden on the far side from both houses. There was plenty of time and opportunity, and knowing what I do now, I know I was lucky.

Then again, I could have posted some of this on the thread "Parents unhappy with apostate successes": my parents kept a much closer eye on my sister, and often told me I deserved little injuries and misfortunes for not listening more closely or being a better child/mormon. Classic golden child / scapegoat set up between us children. Sis could do no wrong and was coddled for the least upset. I was always at fault and deserved whatever punishment god saw fit to mete out.
If there was one of us to throw to the wolves in order to get more attention for mother, it would have been me, and she gave him plenty of opportunity with me, but always called my sister inside.
Also the suffering brought on by being molested would surely have been enough to break my resistance to the church, and humble me back into the fold, where I could learn about the Miracle of Guilt and how I should learn to accept my part in the incident in order to receive true forgiveness/repentance.

Then in high school, by my sophomore year I figured out part of the reason nobody would talk to me. One of the neighbor/ward girls he molested was a year ahead of me and had told all her friends that I was related to the rapist.
I dunno how, but that made me bad by association. Mmm, teens...

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"