November 22, 2005

Church liable in girls' abuse

The Seattle Times

By Bob Young
Seattle Times staff reporter

In a decision that could reverberate through clergy sexual-abuse cases everywhere, a King County Superior Court jury has awarded $4.2 million to two sisters who were sexually abused for years by their stepfather, a Mormon priest.

The civil jury found The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to as the Mormon church, liable for intentional misconduct and negligence and ordered the church to pay most of the award. The remainder of the award would be paid by the girls' abuser, Peter N. Taylor, who is no longer their stepfather or a priest.

"The size of the verdict is particularly newsworthy. I think the jury is making a statement," said Timothy Kosnoff, a lawyer for the girls who were abused in their Federal Way home during the 1990s.

Kosnoff said the verdict, handed down late Friday afternoon, was the first sexual-abuse decision against a church in Washington state. He said it could affect settlement values in abuse cases against the Catholic Church here and in other states.

Posted by kshaw at November 22, 2005 07:15 AM