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Navajo Nation Ruled to Have Jurisdiction in Alleged Abuse Cases Against Mormon Church

Navajo Nation Ruled to Have Jurisdiction in Alleged Abuse Cases Against Mormon Church
November 21
11:43 2016

A federal judge last week in Salt Lake City ruled that the Navajo Nation has jurisdiction in four cases alleging sexual abuse against the Mormon Church.

The quartet of cases were filed earlier this year by tribal members who say they were sexually abused during their time in a foster program operated by the Mormon Church from 1947 to 2000.

The church didn’t’ respond to the complaints at the tribal court level, instead the church counter-sued the Navajo plaintiffs in federal court, asking Judge Robert Shelby to dismiss all four cases for lack of jurisdiction, as well as an injunction to stay the proceedings from moving forward under tribal jurisdiction.

In a dual decision addressing both complaints, Shelby denied both the church’s motion to dismiss and the injunction, writing that the Mormon Church must first exhaust all remedies in tribal court.

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