A detailed investigation into a serial pedophile and respected elder in the Mormon Church whose years as a child molester continued even after church leaders were alerted to the abuse.
Davis’ experience as a journalist proves invaluable in this inquiry into Brother Frank Curtis and the flood of destruction his abuse brought to several Mormon communities. In addition to revealing the emotional and psychological damage caused by Curtis’ horrendous sexual violations, the author divulges the gross negligence and, in some cases, intentional cover-up by bishops and other church leaders when the abuse was discovered. The backbone of the narrative is a lawsuit involving the victims, the Church of Latter Day Saints and the lawyers on both sides of the conflict. The main player is Tim Kosnoff, a lawyer for 18-year-old Jeremiah Scott, a childhood victim of Curtis who decided as an adult to sue the Mormon Church for its role. Davis uses the lawsuit to connect different narrative threads, including Curtis’ early life as a supposed small-time Chicago gangster working for Al Capone, the varied stories of many sex-abuse victims and the lives of the attorneys and investigators working on the case. The story is profoundly disturbing, especially when the author reveals the actual abuse followed by the seemingly insidious attempts of the Mormon Church to shield its members and its doctrines through legal loopholes like the clergy-penitent privilege. At times, the narrative becomes bogged down in legal minutiae and legal tit-for-tat. Also, the personal stories of all the people involved are often summarized rather than revealed through narration, characterization and dialogue, which leaves the reader wishing for more vivid scenes and creative storytelling rather than straight, unadorned reportage.
A flawed but fascinating examination of the unsettling intersection of a child molester, the Mormon Church and the American legal system.