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Sexually Abused Victims Filing Lawsuit Against Mormon Church

"All of my clients are young children. The perpetrator who was an elder of a Mormon church, was held up by the Mormon church as somebody who was trustworthy, safe, was in fact a sexual predator of children," said Tim Kosnoff, attorney for the victims' families.

BERKELEY COUNTY, W.Va. - A Berkeley county man is behind bars, and now several local families are suing the Mormon Church alleging that church officials could have stopped the sexual abuse of 12 children.

Christopher Jensen is serving a 35 to 75 year prison sentence in West Virginia's prison. Earlier this year, Jensen was convicted of sexually abusing 12 children ages three to 12 between 2006 and 2012 in Berkeley County.

Now the families of his victims have filed a lawsuit against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, saying the church covered up his actions.

"All of my clients are young children. The perpetrator who was an elder of a Mormon church, was held up by the Mormon church as somebody who was trustworthy, safe, was in fact a sexual predator of children," said Tim Kosnoff, attorney for the victims' families.

Jensen's parents who held high positions in the local Mormon Church are also named in the suit, as is the corporation president and presiding bishop of the church based in Utah. The suit accuses all of covering up the abuse and failing to remove Jensen from having access to the youngsters.

"They allowed him to have access to their families and their children, with result that acts of sexual abuse were carried out," said Kosnoff.

Kosnoff says if they're successful in winning their lawsuit, the money will go towards the children's treatment and recovery.

"I think they are just reacting to it right now, trying to process it, trying to get the best care for their children, they can afford," said Kosnoff. "Unfortunately care of that nature, it's very expense." 

Church officials released a statement saying that they deny any allegations of a cover up. They felt they were instrumental in reporting the matter to local law enforcement officials, while imposing church discipline on the perpetrator and helping out the victims families.

Kosnoff expects the civil case to be heard by a jury before the end of next year. 

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