The Sins of Brother Curtis: A Story of Betrayal, Conviction, and the Mormon Church

Lisa Davis, Scribner, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4165-9103-0
A protracted legal battle to hold the Mormon Church (LDS) responsible for sexual abuse drives investigative reporter Davis's insightful examination of hard-won justice. In 1997, Seattle attorneys Tim Kosnoff and Joel Salmi took on the case of 18-year-old Jeremiah Scott, who, at age 12, was repeatedly abused by Brother Frank Curtis, an elder in Scott's Portland, Ore., Mormon community. When Scott's mother reported the abuse to her Mormon bishop, she was told the church was aware of Curtis's problem. So though Curtis had since died, the Scotts wanted to sue the church for failing to protect Scott. Kosnoff and Salmi soon discovered Curtis's pattern of molestation stretched back decades and across state lines. The abuse itself almost becomes secondary to the vicious pretrial battles between Kosnoff's team and the lawyers for the LDS, who said the church's records were protected by clergy-penitent privilege and the First Amendment freedom-of-religion clause. The $3 million settlement in 2001 brought an end to the case but not the issue, as Davis makes abundantly clear in her well-researched account of systematic abuse and coverup. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/10/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4516-1285-1
Paperback - 376 pages - 978-1-4165-9104-7
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