A volunteer at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Lake Forest Dr. has admitted to sexually abusing four children he met through activities at the church. 22-year-old Noel Anderson has been charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child after confessing to abusing children between ages 2 and 6 over the past seven years.
According to investigators, Anderson found his victims during church activities and meetings. He also had responsibilities as a volunteer with the church, including being the primary instructor for children ages 7 and 8 in 2014.
Authorities believe there could be additional victims and have asked anyone who believes that their child may have been abused to contact McKinney Police Detective U. Watson at 972-547-2729.
Attorney Marc Lenahan contributes some thoughts on the legal options available to church sex abuse victims and their families:
In many cases of sexual abuse, the abuser is someone in a position of trust within their community. We often see this in cases involving those who are trusted with the care of children, such as teachers, coaches, religious leaders, and daycare employees. When a church leader or volunteer sexually abuses a child, the traumatic experience has a ripple effect that reaches the entire community. The victims and their families may live with the effects of this trauma for the rest of their lives and the public trust as a whole is damaged.
It's critical for religious organizations to make sure the children in their organization are safe from predators. And when sexual abuse is reported within the church, the leaders of these organizations must contact law enforcement immediately to put an end to the abuse and make sure the perpetrator is prosecuted. But in many cases of sexual abuse in religious organizations, leadership within the organization is negligent in a way which enables abuse to occur.
For example, a religious organization might be considered negligent if they allowed a volunteer with a history of sexual misconduct to work with kids or if they failed to report suspected abuse to law enforcement. In cases that involve negligence, the victims and their families may have the right to file a lawsuit.
If you or a loved one is a survivor of church sexual abuse, we understand your family's struggles during this difficult time. To learn more about how your family can find justice through the legal system, get in touch with one of our experienced sex abuse survivors attorneys for a free consultation.