Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review - The Sins of Brother Curtis

 The Sins of Brother Curtis: 

A Story of Betrayal, Conviction, and the Mormon Church

Author: Lisa Davis
Format: egalley ;  March 2011, Simon and Schuster hardcover 386 pgs.
Characters: Franklyn Curtis,
Subject: pedophilia coverup in Mormon Church
Setting: Washington State, Oregon
Genre: Non-fiction, investigative reporting
Source: e galley from publisher

This book is at the same time disturbing and affirming as it tells the story of a protracted legal battle between 18 year old Jeremiah Scott and the Mormon Church.  Scott alleged that he had been repeatedly sexually abused by a member of the church when he was 12 years old.  The problem was that Brother Franklyn Curtis was dead, but Scott and his mother claimed that the Church itself was to blame - his mother told the Mormon Bishop about the abuse, but nothing was done.

They had difficulty finding a lawyer who would take his case, but finally Seattle criminal attorney Timothy Kosnoff agreed to team with civil litigation attorney Joel Salmi. For over three years, they worked to uncover the lengthy career of pedophilia of Brother Curtis, the assets of the Mormon church, and the inner workings of church organization and personnel policies.

Lisa Davis has given us not only the story of the protracted legal proceedings but also the background that Kosnoff and Salmi gathered to acquaint themselves with the inner workings of the Mormon church, the painful reminiscences of victims, the anguish of parents, and the obstreperousness of Church leaders who tried month after month, with one legal filing after another to stop the progress of this case.  Through numerous judges, a variety of venues, hours of depositions, the reader accompanies the team as they grind toward a resolution.

This one will probably not be viewed with delight by members of the Mormon church, but the clear presentation of the cover-up by Church leaders will, in the long term, serve the cause of justice and perhaps help others to know what has and can be done on their behalf.

Many thanks to Simon and Schuster for providing the e-galley of this one for review.


  1. Thanks for starting my day with a chuckle (the Casey Stengel quote) and food for thought with your book review. I think this is a book I will read.

  2. As a survivor of eight years of sexual abuse at the hands of two men in a completely unrelated denomination I can fully comprehend the insular nature of the religious environment surrounding the victims in this book....which I've just completed this evening. The LDS church still maintains that they take good care of their children. What is galling is their total lack of empathy for the victims or the ability to convey in any degree their institutional remorse or apology. My prayer is that the book will be a liberating volume for those still within the clutches of LDS communities and unable to reach out for help.
    I would advise victims to call a non-denominational helpline in order to get unbiased help and to break through the walls the victims in this story could not.


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