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Utah judge quashes subpoena of Mormon President Monson in Navajo abuse case

First Published      Last Updated Feb 25 2017 06:59 pm

Navajo abuse case » LDS Church leader will not be testifying.

A judge has issued an order quashing the subpoena that would have required LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson to testify in a case in which Navajos say they were sexually abused while placed in Mormon homes through a church program. Third District Judge Su Chon, however, appeared to leave open the possibility that Monson, considered a "prophet, seer and revelator" by the Mormon faithful, could give a deposition later. She ordered that "depositions of lower-level corporate representatives or officers should be noticed prior to any deposition of President Monson."

In her Tuesday ruling, she said the LDS leader would not be forced to testify in the case and precluded plaintiffs from deposing Monson "or obtaining the documents sought by way of the subpoena at this time."

Attorneys for Navajos identified only by their initials obtained the subpoena to compel the LDS leader to testify about the church-sponsored Indian Student Placement Program, which operated from 1947 to the mid-90s.

Four Navajos filed lawsuits in Tribal Court in early 2016 against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, alleging they were sexually abused when placed in Mormon homes during the school year.

Attorneys asserted that the 89-year-old Monson, who the church has said is "feeling the effects of advancing age," had "unique information" about the Navajo placement program.

But attorneys for the church argued that Monson had no oversight of the program and that providing a deposition would be "unduly burdensome" for him.


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