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Harrisburg, PA - LDS Bishop and Former Boy Scout Leader, Shawn Cory Gooden Facing New Charges After Being Sentenced For Raping Children in VA

Harrisburg, PA - LDS Bishop and Former Boy Scout Leader, Shawn Cory Gooden Facing New Charges After Being Sentenced For Raping Children in VA
Published: February 20, 2024
By: Darla Medina
Last Updated on February 20, 2024

Former LDS Bishop Gooden Facing Additional Charges of Child Abuse

According to Daily Voice, 47-year-old Shawn Cory Gooden, a former Bishop with the Church of Latter-Day Saints and a member of the executive board for the New Birth of Freedom Boy Scouts organization was sentenced to multiple counts of sexual assault in Virginia on Friday, November 17, 2023. However, he is currently facing 19 more charges for the alleged rape of three children under the age of 13 in Berks County, PA.

The Prince William County police department uncovered evidence suggesting that Gooden sexually assaulted a relative between the ages of nine and 13 years old, multiple times, from January 1997 to December 2000. The felony charges to which Gooden pleaded guilty in Virginia include taking indecent liberties with children, aggravated sexual battery, and forcible sodomy (two counts). He was sentenced in Prince William Circuit Court to a minimum of 2.5 years in prison, followed by at least five years of supervised probation upon release. Additionally, Gooden has been registered as a sex offender, as outlined in court documents.

Now Gooden also faces 19 charges related to the rape of three additional children in Pennsylvania. According to county records, these offenses occurred on April 21, 2000. Gooden was arraigned on these charges on September 13, 2023, and his status hearing was scheduled before Judge Thomas G. Parisi in December 2023.

The revelation of Gooden's heinous acts has sent shockwaves through the community, raising concerns about the safety of children and the potential presence of abusers in positions of trust. The legal proceedings in both Virginia and Pennsylvania will play a crucial role in delivering justice for the victims and ensuring the safety of others.

Recent Update: 

LDS stake president Rhett Hintze is facing felony charges for failing to report sexual assault allegations against Bishop Gooden.

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Seeking Justice for Mormon Church Sex Abuse Victims

In the aftermath of the recent case involving Shawn Cory Gooden, a former Bishop facing additional sex abuse charges, the urgent need for justice for church abuse victims has become critical. To gain valuable insights into the legal options available to victims and their families, we have conducted an interview with Guy D'Andrea, Esq., an experienced child abuse lawyer based in Pennsylvania. During this conversation, Attorney Kent provided guidance on pursuing civil cases against liable parties, specifically focusing on instances of sexual abuse by LDS Bishops. Join us in a meaningful discussion with Attorney Kent, shedding light on the path to justice for church abuse victims.

Darla Medina - Editor (DM): Today, we are joined by Attorney Guy D'Andrea, Esq., to discuss the legal recourse available to church abuse victims and their families. Thank you for being here, Mr. Kent.

Guy D'Andrea, Esq. (BK): Thank you for having me, Darla. It's crucial to address this important issue and provide guidance to those in need.

DM: Absolutely. In light of recent events, particularly the case involving Shawn Cory Gooden, we want to explore the options for victims and their families in pursuing civil cases against liable parties, specifically in instances of sexual abuse by LDS Bishops. Firstly, what steps should be taken if a victim suspects they were sexually abused by a church authority figure?

BK: Thank you for raising this critical question, Darla. If a victim or their family suspects they have been sexually abused by a church authority figure, it's essential to prioritize their safety and well-being. They should immediately report the abuse to local law enforcement and child protective services. Seeking medical attention and emotional support is also crucial during this difficult time.

DM: Once the criminal proceedings are underway, what options do victims and their families have from a civil standpoint?

BK: Victims and their families have the option to pursue civil cases against the liable parties. It's important to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in child abuse cases, particularly those involving religious institutions. They can guide the victims and their families through the legal process, investigate the claims, and help identify responsible parties.

DM: What would be the basis for a civil case against liable parties, such as the LDS Church, in these specific situations?

BK: In civil cases, we typically pursue claims based on negligence, breach of duty, and failure to protect. Our goal is to demonstrate that the church authority figure or institution had a duty to protect the child from harm and that they failed in that duty. Victims and their families may be entitled to compensation for the physical, emotional, and psychological damages they have endured.

DM: Are there any unique challenges or considerations when pursuing civil cases against religious institutions?

BK: Yes, there can be several challenges when litigating against religious institutions. They often have legal protections and intricate internal structures. However, with the right legal representation, victims and their families can overcome these obstacles. It's crucial to work with an attorney who has experience in handling cases involving religious organizations.

DM: Finally, what message do you have for victims and their families who may be hesitant or uncertain about pursuing legal action?

BK: I want to convey to victims and their families that they are not alone. By speaking up and seeking justice, they not only stand up for themselves but also protect others from potential harm. It's a challenging journey, but with the right support and legal guidance, they can hold the responsible parties accountable and obtain the justice they deserve.

DM: Thank you, Mr. Kent, for sharing your knowledge and shedding light on this critical matter. Your insights will undoubtedly provide valuable guidance to those seeking justice.

BK: Thank you, Darla. It has been my privilege to discuss this important issue and offer assistance to those in need.


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About the Author
Darla Medina
About Darla Medina
Editor: Darla is a content writer with a focus on the legal field. She covers cases of sexual abuse, drunk driving, and preventable violent crime for the Legal Herald. Contact Darla: This article was fact checked prior to publishing by this author to ensure compliance with our rigorous editorial standards. We will only use authoritative sources. Our values compel us to provide only trustworthy information. If you find an error, please contact us.
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