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How A Girl Pointed a Floodlight at Mormon Child Sex Abuse

By April 2, 2024Sex Abuse

Some dots don’t connect in the Mormon world. The church’s glossed over spread of child sexual abuse is a weight around the patriarchal hierarchy’s neck but you might not know there is even a problem. In the old days (the past 200 years), Mormon women could be better expected to keep secrets at their own expense.

We think that’s changing.

The church claims it prioritizes survivors of sexual abuse, especially when they were abused as children, but how can that be when the church also does everything humanly possible to shield assailants and keep the whole mess under wraps?

“[The] Mormon Church binds its adherents with the strongest bonds known under heaven. It is at once a religion, an empire, a fraternity, a trust, and a partnership in crime.” Atlantic

Today, despite all the confusion, some Mormon assault survivors are ready to talk. One girl’s tragedy led the way and simultaneously blew the church’s elaborate cover up.

The Following Story Was Scooped by the Associated Press.

Chelsea Goodrich is 38 now. Nearly a decade ago (in 2015), she was a grad student studying psychology in southern California when she started having disturbing dreams. Other students were out dating and having fun but not Chelsea; she was terrified at the thought.

She’d grown up in Idaho in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, what the Atlantic calls “The Most American Church,” valued at $500 billion with a capital “B.” The church collective (as a business enterprise) doesn’t want to be held liable for child sexual abuse, so it goes to unimaginable lengths to hide the crisis, including coercing silence from survivors.

Unraveling her nightmares led Chelsea to memories of her father, Dr. John Goodrich (an Idaho dentist), repeatedly sexually abusing her as a child through adolescence.

Twenty years later, she questioned him point blank about the abuse, recording the conversations on her cell phone with her mom and brother present. She recorded her father’s admissions of guilt. Her tapes are proof; 100% airtight.

But the case was thrown out for lack of testimony by a key witness – the bishop who heard John Goodrich’s confession (more in a moment), so the dentist was released from prison and today is practicing in Idaho.

Why Was The Case Thrown Out?

Chelsea’s criminal case was dropped when Michael Miller, the bishop who had heard her father’s confession, was influenced by other church leaders not to testify on Chelsea’s behalf. They reminded Miller that Dr. Goodrich could sue him for breaking clergy-penitent confidentiality.

Without Bishop Miller’s key testimony, the case was tossed out and the abuser was released from prison. Chelsea says she thinks that’s exactly why her father confessed to Miller in the first place. It’s ipso facto if you’re a child predator in the Mormon church: Confess your sins to clergy because clergy are exempted from reporting crimes unloaded in a spiritual context.

Even the law supports clergy exemption from reporting confessional crimes in the name of priest-penitent confidentiality.

But the law may be about to change.

“How many people can know the truth and choose to pretend they don’t and leave others at risk of the same abuse and they know it and they just don’t care?” Lorraine Goodrich said. “I don’t understand that. I’ll never understand that.”

Did we mention there were more damning tapes – against the church’s cover up?

If you were sexually assaulted by a leader in the LDS church, we want to hear your story. Contact us confidentially to talk directly to our team. We want to help.

Stay tuned for Part 2.