Why Sexual Abuse Continues to Flourish in Polygamist Groups

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Why Sexual Abuse Continues to Flourish in Polygamist Groups

We posted a couple of days ago about the sexual abuse in AUB, how past leader Owen Allred failed for a long time to acknowledge it, and how early accusations of sexual abuse against current leader, Lyn Thompson, were discouraged via threats. (See April 13, “Whistle Blower Threatened.”) One polygamist commenter took issue with our post.

Before we respond to his comments, we would like to say that one thing that is clear to those of us who have been members of groups such as AUB, is that there is a very strong reluctance to believe accusations of sexual abuse when they are leveled against revered religious leaders. So often the victims are not believed and are themselves ostracized for daring to reveal the truth. This leads to cover-ups and women not wanting to come forward. This has happened before in AUB, and we believe, is happening now in the case of Lyn Thompson.

Our commenter, who up till recently was a practicing polygamist (one woman left him) tells us that we were wrong in the “Whistle-Blower” post. Ironically, this person (M.J.) was part of a splinter group created when AUB council member Joseph Thompson was booted because of accusations of sexual abuse. Some AUB members followed Joe down to Arizona and formed their own cult.

M.J. refuses to believe that the accusations against Joe Thompson were credible. The fact is, that several of Joe Thompson’s daughters came forward to tell of how their father had molested them as children. M.J. says that one of the stories of a woman who said she was raped and then healed by an angel shows how ridiculous the accusations were. We have never heard such a story, but if it exists, it shows the lengths women may go to get relief from their trauma and to feel “pure” and acceptable again in an extreme religious community. Whatever stories do, or do not exist, the fact is that the accusations came from multiple women who were verbally torn apart by Thompson family members and supporters. Years later, another daughter, Kathleen Lavery, got up in meeting at Bluffdale and confirmed that she too had been sexually abused by her father. M.J. would rather believe that these women were all lying and that Joe Thompson was blameless. And that is how it goes in many instances.

Another discrepancy that M.J claims is that Rod Williams (Brady Williams’ father) apologized to Joe Thompson for accusing Joe of molesting Rod’s daughter. Who told M.J. this? Why, Joe Thompson himself, according to M.J!!!!! Sorry if we find that less than credible.

Our information about Rod Williams abuse allegations comes from a relative of Rod Williams. This person confirms the sexual abuse allegations, and told us that Owen Allred had to apologize to Rod Williams later, for not believing him.

Countless times we have heard of women in polygamist groups being denigrated and called liars when they tell of sexual abuse. It is no wonder that those who could support Rosemary Williams story of being abused by her father, Lyn Thompson, remain silent and refuse to come forward. Maybe they have learned from the experiences of others.

M.J. What if these were your daughters?

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